I feel brave today, if only for getting to celebrate my birthday for the 33rd time (which is quite something 🙂 ) and this is why I´ll write about the TEDx Barcelona Women – The brave us event.
Admitting that you are a feminist and trying to share your views on this topic are still acts of courage. Unfortunately. Especially in my native country, where “oh, you are some of those feminists, aren´t you?” is still highly regarded as one form of offending or silencing women (and men) and where the domestic violence, sexual abuse, bullying and injustice are still major problems. Baby steps.
Barcelona, Catalunya and Spain are obviously a different world, where I feel more empowered. There is still a lot of work to do, there are still many problems, but for me it is a bit of “hello from the future” type of situation.
Back to my point, I am now 33 and sorry to be so direct, but I am trying to not give so many fucks about what everybody expects from me. I am trying to be true to myself and respect myself first. That´s why I´ll offer myself and my 3 readers 🙂 the present of writing about some exceptional women, whose ideas I fully share and who made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
I am sure you already know the Ted Talks, perhaps there are many you adore or by which you felt inspired. The TEDx series are independently organized TED events and the Barcelona Women conference is one of these, occurring yearly (not really sure from when, I´ve only attended for the last 2 years), meant to share ideas worth spreading and to give voice to women and men who believe in equality.
This year there were many empowering moments for women in this country, including the most inspiring and powerful manifestation I ever attended, when on #8M (08th of March) tens of thousands and women marched in a strike meant to show how important women actually are. However, there were also very horrible moments, as a
very doubtful mind-blowing decision in a rape trial. The answer to that was also the impressive power of women and men together, marching towards a better world. Hence this conference was a perfect way to somewhat close the year, so to speak.
So, I simply had to attend and I bought the ticket as a gift from myself to me :). What happens is that first they show live, on screen, 3 talks from the original Ted Woman event, then there is an artist performing music live on stage, then there are 3 live talks, an improvisation show and, finally, networking. The ticket is not cheap (it was around 55 eur), but it is most surely worth it.
I have to also admit that I thought that the “together” feeling was missing among the participants in the public. I really did not perceive any type of positive vibe from the audience, I did not do any networking because the vast majority of attendees were already there with their network 🙂 and I had the feeling that many attended because it was the cool thing to do. Maybe I am wrong, because I am not exactly a social butterfly, but I had to mention it. On another hand, the volunteers and organizers were amazing and the venue was also nice.
I´ll start with the music. The performer was Gigi McFarlane, who was pure awesomeness and just perfect for the event. You can listen to this song while browsing through the rest of my post:
From the Ted Women original event, where the motto this year was showing up:
- The first speaker was Tarana Burke who is the activist who started the #metoo movement years ago. She thinks that empathy is key for empowering survivors. You can find more about her just by clicking her name above 🙂 Her full speech is here and it impacted me quite a lot. She talked about how she felt numb, but not the powerless numb, but as in an accumulation of feelings. She talked about how difficult it is to think positive about all this with all that happened lately in her country. I have to paste some of the key points, because I just have to:
“And then, there’s the backlash. We’ve all heard it. “The Me Too Movement is a witch hunt.” Right? “Me Too is dismantling due process.” Or, “Me Too has created a gender war.” The media has been consistent with headline after headline that frames this movement in ways that make it difficult to move our work forward, and right-wing pundits and other critics have these talking points that shift the focus away from survivors. So suddenly, a movement that was started to support all survivors of sexual violence is being talked about like it’s a vindictive plot against men. And I’m like, “Huh?”
“But be clear: This is a movement about the one-in-four girls and the one-in-six boys who are sexually assaulted every year and carry those wounds into adulthood. It’s about the 84 percent of trans women who will be sexually assaulted this year and the indigenous women who are three-and-a-half times more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other group. Or people with disabilities, who are seven times more likely to be sexually abused. It’s about the 60 percent of black girls like me who will be experiencing sexual violence before they turn 18, and the thousands and thousands of low-wage workers who are being sexually harassed right now on jobs that they can’t afford to quit.“
I loved how she said that trauma holds possibility, which is activated by this movement. She believes that we can all build a world free of sexual violence (I, for one, am not so sure). She thinks we can do that by a sort of restoration of the power balance, by re-education and by empathy. She said she was propelled by possibility her whole life and to be honest she was so inspiring! We often miss the possibilities in front of us because we are so tangled up in our own problems, so I think her point is even life-changing. Simply inspiring!
- The second speaker was Ai-Jen Poo, who is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She talked about the complex and invisible for many world of domestic workers and how they are, basically, the living, intact definition of empathy. How they always show up. She told the terrible story of a young lady who was promised money and a new life in exchange of working as a nanny, but received 15 years of exploitation. She was helped to escape by one of the family´s children and even then she did not want to press penal charges because she did not want to separate parents from their children, because she loved those children. The message was “Show up as a domestic worker!“ and I was touched by the powerful feeling that this woman talking there really, deeply cared.
- The last speaker was Dr. Katherine Wilkinson, who is essentially as smart as they come in the climate change field (and not only). She manages Drawdown, which reunites smart people as her trying to find solutions for this Earth we are so willing to destroy. She also looked like she cared a lot and it was, again, very inspiring. She described the not very obvious link about empowering women and climate change reversal and she detailed the 3 main points on this:
1. there are a lot of female farmers who do not receive enough funding. Fund them more, the production will be bigger and there will be no need to cut trees in order to obtain more usable land.
2. for multiple reasons, women with higher education have less children and we all know we are already too many for this Earth to bare with us.
3. linked with the above, family planning is important.
Told you she is as smart as they come! 🙂 1 life, 1 Earth, let´s seize it! There is life force in choice (her words, again). Emotion and knowledge, that is how major, important changes are made.
The live talks were just as spectacular:
Krizia Nardi studies during her PhD the ways in which men’s practices can be reconfigured through their involvement into gender justice mobilization and she explained a bit how what is expected of men is to be “real” men and for girls to “act like a lady” and why this is so messed-up. She clarified how actually this ideal real man is a prototype of which we think we know a lot, but there are only masks and fear involved. She commented about the various roles the men have to undertake during their life: don´t cry, always provide, never be weak etc., which lead to adults who are confused about who they really are. We are busy pretending instead of wondering. She noted that feminism is for everybody and that it actually means that we can all, men and women, find or craft our own place and just become ourselves. Loved her vibe, her words and her work!
Dr. Charlotte Webb pretended to be the Internet and in that role acknowledged not to be very friendly with women. She explained how Internet was created by men, but it evolves by receiving all our inputs and that we are in fact all Internet and we should try to make it a more feminist place by reporting hate speech, by maybe unfollowing idealizing accounts which promote impossible standards and by supporting women in tech. I loved how she explained that she realized that feminism was for everybody and that it means that we should be free, men or women and that she could be feminist even though she like painting her nails. Perspective is everything.
Finally, Iria Marañon talked about feminist education. She told us that we are actually not free to choose who we are, what we wear etc., which is of course true, even though it seems shocking at first and she considers appropriate education being the one when each of us understands that there are no “right” ways to be woman or man and we should just be. She suggested education based on feeling, saying and doing. Imagine what a world that would be! 🙂
I highly doubt that someone read all the way through here. Nevertheless, it was such an stimulating event that I just felt the need to share it.
We should all be feminists. We should all be equal. We should all be free.
I am allowed to dream, right?