March 10, 2020; Guardian, “Opinion”
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (sometimes called by the acronym “Amlo”), believes that the massive feminist demonstrations and strike in Mexico this past weekend are part of a political plot against him instead of an expression of outrage against the rising levels of violence visited upon and countenanced against women in that country. According to an editorial in the Guardian, Obrador “has shown at best indifference to the problem and at worst indignation that women are protesting against it.”
He has blamed femicides on the “neoliberal” policies of his predecessors, and portrayed feminist activism as part of a rightwing plot against him, suggesting that some of the campaigners want his administration to fail. Last month, when a reporter asked about femicides, he grumbled that he didn’t want the issue to overshadow his plans to raffle off the presidential plane.
This scene of men, succumbing to fits of clueless narcissism, protesting as their plans are disrupted by women who object to being treated as disposable chattel is all too familiar, bringing to mind the Kavanaugh hearings, and countless other situations in which men express real outrage of their own at being called to account. Kavanaugh now sits in our highest court, and 10 women a day are being killed in Mexico, but…well, as they say, what do women actually want?
Maybe a state that does not support their degradation? The Guardian editorial points out that one Chilean song, “A Rapist in your Path,” states the case very plainly; women around Latin and South America are performing it publicly, dancing and chanting admonition, “Let the machistas tremble.”
The Guardian points out that “the wave of rightwing populism and authoritarianism around the world is harming women’s rights (and Amlo’s record suggests that left-leaning administrations do not always serve their interests better). In Russia, a 2017 law decriminalized domestic abuse if the incidents happened no more than once a year and caused no lasting physical damage. Women’s rights activists said the change was followed by a sharp rise in domestic violence—often involving repeated assaults and police inaction.”
As the song goes, “It’s the police, the judges, the state, the president—the oppressive state is a macho rapist.”—Ruth McCambridge