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Debats UB: Feminisme(s): from the social demands of the seventies to the protection against chauvinism in social networks

The debate was introduced by rector Joan Elias and vice-rector for Equal Opportunities and Social Action Maite Vilalta.

The debate was introduced by rector Joan Elias and vice-rector for Equal Opportunities and Social Action Maite Vilalta.

From left to right, bottom to top: Montse Virgili, Marina Subirats, Marina Amores and  Bel Olid.

From left to right, bottom to top: Montse Virgili, Marina Subirats, Marina Amores and Bel Olid.

07/10/2020

Institucional

The session “What it means to be a feminist. Inheritance from the past and future challenges” from the cycle Debats UB: Feminisme(s). reflected on the demands of feminist movements over history, from the 20th century seventies until current protections against harassment in social media, and questioned the objectives we have to reach. The debate, which took place yesterday, October 6, was introduced by rector Joan Elias and vice-rector for Equal Opportunities and Social Action Maite Vilalta. It was chaired by the journalist Montse Virgili and among the participants were the sociologist Marina Subirats and the writer Bel Olid and journalist Marina Amores.

Marina Subirats talked about the First Catalan Sessions of Women, which took place at the Paranimph of the UB in 1976 and highlighted the feminist movement of the seventies and eighties. “Women were very oppressed, we were just coming out of the Franco regime, which had been really misogynist, and the demand was to have the same access men had. We wanted access to knowledge, jobs, political offices”. She also noted there have been hard years “when ‘feminism’ was seen as a disqualification”, but now “this powerful and worldwide movement has remained like this for two or three years now”.

Marina Subirats defined feminism as an “affirmation of life in equality and freedom” and defended that “we need feminism to balance the world”. She also noted the importance of the cultural dimension and claimed that “current male culture is so competitive that sometimes it spoils the results we want to reach”.

Bel Olid said that “current laws to fight for equality are not fully unfolded; the law says we have rights which are not always fulfilled”, she said. In this sense, she claimed that sometimes laws are ambiguous and do not predict sanctions. She also highlighted that we must not banalize feminist messages and that we should be careful with ultra-chauvinist movement messages. Bel Olid said we “should stop being oppressed without becoming oppressors” and noted that women who reached power positions are upper-class white women. In this sense, she highlighted that the feminist movement should listen to other voices and should take as its own the demands from people who join feminism and who suffer from racism and transphobia.

The writer reflected on the current situation of gender in education: “Most of violent crimes in Europe are committed by men. We are teaching women better at being a good person, with values such as listening or taking care of the others. The problem is when you teach the other half of the population to take benefit from this”.

Marina Amores started her speech by remembering the feminist fight from past times. “Rights have always been achieved by fighting”, she said. “Being a feminist is going against the flow, having a critical spirit”. She said that her professional field, videogames, is very “male and misogynist”.

Amores reflected on the world of Internet. As a positive aspect, she said that “the Internet allowed us to have access to knowledge and many people are feminists and activists thanks to what they have seen on the internet”, but there is a negative side of it, and that is online harassment. The journalist noted that “We should raise awareness on what happens behind the screen. It is very important. Being told someone wants to rape you is the same in person than on the internet”, she said. In this sense, she noted we should be more protected on the internet with a more active role by security forces, legal power and online platforms.

Debats UB: Feminisme(s), responds to the will to reflect and celebrate plurality and diversity of women and feminist movements. Like in Debats UB: Catalunya i Espanya, this new cycle at the University aims to become a meeting point for different existing sensitivities in our society to promote the use of words in order to favour mutual understanding and conflict resolution. At the same time, the UB wants to provide an academic perspective of social worries, by giving analytical tools and promoting collective thinking. Debats UB: Feminisme(s) includes themes such as gender and human brain, history and current feminist movements, the role of women in economics and its development, women and power, and violence against women.

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