A wolf-whistle here, an inappropriate pickup lines over there, or even worse: street harassment. Do these situations seem familiar to you?
Unfortunately, every single day women have to deal with many types of harassment or abuse, and this is just one of the reasons that made the feminist movement gets relevance and become more popular last year. An example of this is the "Chega de Fiu Fiu" Project ("No more wolf whistle"), designed by Juliana de Faria, journalist, and creator of the website Think Olga, the project maps out the areas of sexual harassment and violence in Brazil. To develop the idea, Juliana created an online survey with the collaboration of almost 8,000 women.
"Last year was special because of the emphasis that had been drawn earlier and also because it made us deconstruct the taboo around the movement. Perhaps the greatest media symbol for the feminism was Beyoncé," analyses Luíse Bello, the advertising and communication director of the project. During a presentation at the VMA (MTV Video Music Awards), the singer highlighted speeches of the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about gender equality and performed in front of a screen emblazoned with 'FEMINIST' in giant wording.
The celebrity-branding gives more visibility to the cause so much that the English actress Emma Watson was named as a goodwill ambassador by the United Nations organization UN Women.
Her speech caused big repercussion in the launching of the campaign "HeForShe," which encourage the end of gender inequality, so men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
The actress was also the cover of the December 2014 issue of the ELLE UK magazine dedicated to the subject. “Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice. If you want to run for President, you can. If you don’t, that’s wonderful, too", Emma insisted.
Another example that still causes discomfort is the wage gap between men and women. Women earn about 30% less than men, according to a study by IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics).
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Feminism is a movement that was originated in the Women's Rights Convention of 1848, in New York (U.S.). The cause had three important pillars, first is the right to vote and to work without the husband's permission; second by the right to freedom, and third was addressed to the needs of each ethnic group.
"It is good to emphasize that although the story was conducted in this way, in 1970, black women already denounced their invisibility in the feminist guideline," says Djamila Ribeiro, feminist, Master in Philosophy and blogger at the Feminist Office.
The fashion industry has also created affections with the feminist movement. In 2014, the trend bureau WGSN released the macro trends expected for 2016/2017, and among them, the "Soft Pop" trend was a mix of creative senses that is not restricted to gender, sexuality or ethnicity. "The new wave of feminism enters this story with men leaving aside their fear/prejudice of being gentle and sensitive, and women understanding that they don't have to be aggressive to stand out," explains Beatriz Modolin from the WGSN.
In the summer season of 2015 Chanel took its catwalk models holding banners of protest in favor of the movement. "Fashion trends suffer the influence of behavior, and it is they who have the power to spread out these messages to a larger audience," Beatriz concludes.
Nowadays, we live surrounded by beauty standards, so the movement also acts for the women's empowerment. "Feminism gives back to the women control over their bodies and their appearance," says Luíse Bello. "The current standards are cruel because they don't respect the diversity of our bodies and are directly associated to consumption," Djamila said.
Bárbara Gondar, creator of the fanzine "Xereca" (Pussy) and member of the collective "Xereca de Hipátia," teaches the final lesson: "When we understand that we don't have an obligation to adapt to the models imposed on our behavior and body, like the necessity to be sweet or skinny, our self-esteem will be self-directed." Be yourself and love yourself, girl!
*Article originally published in Portuguese for DafitiMag, to see it follow the link below: