Monday, January 23, 2012

Cuentas de Nicaragua I: Hombres y Mujeres

Today I want to talk about men and women in Managua.

In the U.S. there was the feminist revolution of the 70s. We fought for equal pay, equal rights, and equal opportunities. Still through today feminism has a negative connotation because of the normal stereotype in society that feminists=feminist extremists.

There is the same negative feeling with the word feminist here in Managua. At the same time, in the streets (as there are in any streets) there are men calling out to women, making kiss noises and ...

I try to ignore it. And usually it works. But it makes me wonder about those who can't ignore it. It makes me wonder if it gives the men that do it power, and if they crave that power. It makes me wonder about the woman who's heard it every day, day in and day out since she was a preteen.

It makes me wonder if it is making a woman second guess what she's really worth. It also makes me wonder if men do it while their sisters, mothers, or wives are in the car with them.

Or if the men care that people do it to their sisters, mothers, and wives when they walk in the street.

Or if those women tell them how it might make them feel. I wouldn't be saying this if there weren't feminists born and raised in Nicaragua and if I hadn't had talked to any of them. An anonymous feminist told me a story.

One time she was volunteering to build a house for this man through a volunteer organization in Nicaragua. As her and the other girls were working to build a house the man started blowing kisses and whistling to other women on the street. So she turned to him and said, "Why did you do that?" He stopped and looked afraid and confused, and he said that nobody had ever asked him that before.

Another time she was driving and whistled at a man and yelled things to him that men would normally yell to women. She said he was taken aback and didn't know what to say or do.

This is one of the best stories and most empowering stories I've heard in Nicaragua.

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