“On Our Toes” by Cristina Rivera Garza
In the past couple years, it has been difficult not to notice the hashtags #MeToo or #TimesUp filling up timelines across the internet. But while so heavily focused on what’s going on in the United States, and despite the connection of social media, many of us have been able to overlook what’s happening in other countries, including one bordering our own. Cristina Rivera Garza in “On Our Toes: Women against the Femicide Machine In Mexico” in the Winter 2020 issue of World Literature Today sheds light on #RopaSucia, which was used “to showcase incidences of misogyny in academic institutions and cultural circles”; #MiPrimerAcoso, stories of “my first harassment”; and #MeToo as tools used by feminists throughout Mexico as they fight to make changes for women in their country.
Rivera Garza gives a crash course in these movements as they boil over from the internet into real life protests, the use of pink glitter bombing “a vivid reminder that women’s patience had been tested to the limits and that direct action was the next step in a mounting struggle that will define the heart of the nation.” These women drag their stories of murders, sexual assault, and physical abuse out from the shadows to reveal “’normal’ men allowed to threaten and kill women because they could.” This is only a jumping off point, though. Spanning just five pages in the physical copy of the journal, Rivera Garza gives the main points, allowing readers to find out more about these issues on their own after they finish this essay.
This good starting point also provides photographs of the protests. We see a masked woman running with a purple smoke bomb streaming behind her, an art installation demonstrating the far reach of violence against women, and a monument stained in pink graffiti, all powerful images that help supplement the powerful text.
Take some time to educate yourself on the women’s rights movements happening in Mexico by visiting the World Literature Today website, and by digging into further research once you’re done there to give support to the women around us.