Mexican women are kicking patriarchy’s ass in several ways. Fed up with the toxic masculinity and the high rates of violence they face, Mexican women are taking the streets and the stage to voice their outrage. Earlier this year women took to the streets and literally kicked down doors to demand justice and answers to questions about the violence policing practices perpetuate in their country. Another way women are fighting patriarchy is through the use of art, particularly Punk Rock. Mexican Punk Rock is the cultural rallying and unifying anthem for the righteous anger of women in Mexico right now.
Using Art to Fight Male Violence
The truth of the matter is that all women have a lot to be angry about. Women in Mexico are continuing creatively fight for their rights and safety under governments that seem less than motivated. In 2016 Hijas de Violencia, an anti-stress harassment and performance art group went viral for the creative ways in which they chose to fight street harassment. Armed with a microphone, speaker, and confetti-filled guns these young women respond to the violence men directed towards them on the street.
Their single Sexista Punk is a punk rock song that they sing after blasting men with their confetti guns. The group’s members Ana Karen and Ana Beatriz feel they must respond when street harassed because they are tired of it. They want to inspire women to take their power back and to not feel completely violated by street harassment. Both members agree that they feel more empowered since speaking up and out when men harass them on the street. “What you just did is called harassment and this is my way of responding,” their lyrics declare in Spanish. “Under muffed breaths, you direct obscenities towards me and I’m over it!”
It is important to remember that while responding directly to street harassment leaves some women feeling empowered this is not the case for everyone. Sometimes responding can end in murder.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is an artist-activist that went to Mexico City, Mexico to share her anti-street harassment print art project, Stop Telling Women to Smile. During her trip, she worked with local women combating street-based violence, pasted her art around the city, and spoke with women who live in Mexico about them experiencing street based harassment and violence. Before leaving she left hundreds of posters to be posted around the city by the women of Mexico.
Mexican Women Protest Male Violence
Street harassment is not the only way that women in Mexico experience violence. Two notable incidents involving allegations against Mexican police officers raping young women have received global attention this year. In August 2019, accompanied by her parents, a 17-year old teenage girl reported that she was raped by police officers to local authorities. Shortly after this incident, another teenage girl alleged she was raped by a police officer at her internship. What ensued in both cases was gross mismanagement of an investigation – that many are alleged is intentional – and intimidation by the local police forces. Many Mexican women feel angry and unprotected by police officers. As a result, hundreds of women in Mexico and allies took to the streets to demand justice, answers, and change.
On social media the hashtag, #NoMeCuidanMeViolan (they don’t protect me, they rape me) allowed people to follow along as Mexican women shared their experiences of violence at the hands of men. Mexican politicians have responded to both the protesters and the allegations. They say there will be consequences for everyone involved but many feel this is not an adequate response from the government.
Las Riñas’ songs shout about patriarchal machismo and violence used to suppress and hurt women. Cansada and Dejen vivir a lxs marginadxs is a declaration that the years of pain, hurt, and domination over marginalized populations is coming to an end. The days of protest by Mexican women signifies this.
Data On Violence Against Women in Mexico
In an effort to combat the violence women face in Mexico, the Mexican government created the Alerta de Violencia de Género contra las Mujeres (AVGM) in 2015. This public declaration is to, “ensure the safety of women and girls. To bring an end to violence against them and or eliminate inequalities caused by legislation or public policy that aggravates their human rights.” However, this is an opt-in alert and as of October 2018 only 13 of the 32 states of Mexico have opted-in, seven have decided not to opt-in, and are 12 unspoken. Advocates say this alert is not enough and have taken matters into their own hands.
María Salguero is a Mexican human rights activist and geophysical engineer who dedicates her time to capturing the rates, prevalence, and locations of the murders of women in Mexico. Through using her professional training, research skills, Google alerts, and “opaque” government data she has developed a map that tracks the rates of murder of women and girls simply because they are girls, also known as femicide. Most chilling is that of the over 6000 cases˜ she has tracked More than 4,000 perpetrators were listed as fugitives.
Punk artist Luisa Almaguer’s latest song “Exiliades” sums up Salguero’s work perfectly. The song is about the quest – and perhaps cost – of visibility in a violent culture, Ojalá te vean |Y aunque no nos vean | Ojalá nos vean | Ojalá nos quieran (I hope they see you and even if they don’t see us I hope you see us I wish they love us).
Award-winning Mexican Journalist Anabel Hernandez believes that the Femicide in Mexico is on the rise and growing more brutal. She is calling for cultural, political, and global change for these trends to stop. It seems that for every act of resisting and disrupting the violence against women in Mexico Mexican women Punk Rock artist are providing the Punk Rock soundtrack that embodies the courage, pain, joy, and determination these women have to create a better country for everyone.