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Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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188 men, 3 women

The alleged “erasure of women” is a concept that some currents of contemporary feminism have launched as a wake-up call and referenced by someone like Macarena Olona, ​​who not only denies the very need for any feminism, be it the wave that it is, but it marks it as guilty in the most fashionable terms imaginable. “Because of feminism,” Vox’s far-right candidate for the presidency of the Andalusian Junta said a few days ago, “there are women who see men as enemies. And now, at 40, 50 or 60 years old, they find themselves alone at the gates of old age, in which they will feel more alone than ever, because they will not have a family. Taking advantage of the turbulent rivers of various currents, the far right added that Irene Montero “only serves the transgender movement, even if it means the destruction of women.” This overlap between feminists and anti-feminists is striking and causes, yes, all the alarms.

The truth is that women were systematically erased from history long before any wave, and certainly before the Equality Minister herself was born. Remember the truism. The blame for the erasure of women is not some kind of feminism, but machismo, misogyny, patriarchy. The case mentioned in the title of this column is only an example of this, although a very revealing one. It corresponds to the eminent personalities of Spain who are part of the portrait gallery of the mythical Ateneo de Madrid, a cultural institution in modern Spanish history, although it went through stages of great hardship, especially political ones during the Primo de dictatorship. Rivera and General Franco. Among the prominent personalities who have been associated with the Ateneo de Madrid throughout its history, there are 188 portraits of men and 3 portraits of women. In other words, only 1.57% of recognized outstanding personalities are women. And this is in an institution with a deeply liberal character (from a time when liberalism was something else).

The Madrid Athenaeum has launched the “Women in Their Place” campaign to have the illustrious defaced Ateneums take their place in the Portrait Gallery, and is asking for help to do so. If Emilia Pardo Bazan, Carmen Laforet and Clara Campoamor still make up the one and a half percent that represent the huge injustice of discrimination, in the coming months this injustice will become a little less, making it visible through the portraits of 14 prominent members. the vindictive veneer that other important crossed-out women deserve: writer Rosa Chacel (who also belonged to Generation 27, despite being struck off the payroll so many times); journalist and feminist activist Carmen de Burgos; the writer Blanca de los Ríos y Nostench (who was never included in the “Generation of 98”, although she belonged to her, and was not accepted into the Royal Spanish Academy, although she was an expert on the Golden Age); writer of children’s and youth literature Elena Fortun; writer Almudena Grandes; lawyer and MP during the Second Republic Victoria Kent; writer and feminist activist Maria Lejarraga; historian, writer and politician Kamen Llorca (whose conservatism has not yet brought her a portrait, because machismo does not forgive); the painter Madame Anselma (for whom being the first woman admitted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid and the Academy of Fine Arts of Cadiz did little to help her in the face of misogyny); actress, producer and director Ana Mariscal; writer Carmen Martin Gaite; writer, art critic and deputy Margarita Nelken; lawyer, philosopher and physician Hildegart Rodriguez; and the philosopher and essayist Maria Zambrano (who was not only exiled, but also machismo until the very end of her life, erased the recognition that her dazzling intellectual abilities deserved).

This list may seem very long here. However, these relationships are worth building. Not only because to restore memory means to mention and name it, but also because even such a fair initiative as the inclusion of each of these women in the portrait gallery of the Madrid Ateneum will mean when they are in their place next to 188 men and 3 women that exist today make up only 8.17% of the prominent individuals recognized by the institution. Ateneo is on the path to recognizing the importance of women in culture and politics, which history has erased everywhere. This is just an illustrative example. One of the endless examples of historical discrimination against women. Since no feminist wave erases women, women are systematically erased and continue to be erased by patriarchy. Any statistic explains the true “erasure of women”.


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