In November 2017, various member organizations of the Anawanti network presented in Barcelona the video called “sowing/ planting feminisms”, developed by Metromuster and Gemma Serrahima. The act included a round table with different presentations that allowed us to reflect on the role the media play on the eradication of sexist violence.
Isavel Muntané talked about the diversity of causes of sexist violence and about the need of creating a new symbolic universe within the media to end the violence and to transmit other realities far away from the heteropatriarchal and sexist ones. She claimed the urgency of going further and informing not just about explicit violence, i.e. feminicides. Behind feminicides there are multiple symbolic forms of violence or everyday violence. We have them so interiorized and naturalized, that we do not even realize they exist. Muntané also talked about the collective ‘On són les dones’ (Where women are), offering devastating data, such as that the 80% of the opinion articles in Catalan newspapers are signed by men.
Joana G. Grenzner, member of Observatori ORIGEN, explained ORIGEN’s approach to subtly use a persuasion and transformative strategy on those professionals who are not familiar with the concepts used in the video “SembremFeminismes”. She talked about the #Apuntes (Notes) that ORIGEN sends on a weekly basis. They are constructive, pedagogical and strategic, addressing every form of sexist violence. In general, Grenzner explained that mass media frequently turn to re-victimization formulas when covering feminicides, such as showing the victim’s house. The give scabrous details, which is strongly advised against by every protocol and recommendation made by experts. She also highlighted some positive practices identified in media coverage: talk in terms of women who survived, instead of picturing them as victims; or expose forms of violence frequently hidden. As a proposal, she stated that to adopt a feminist approach, media should take into account witnesses who survived these types of violence, as well as, the specialized organizations, that are the ones who inspired every law or integral protocol against violence.
Lidia Infante, codirector of Locas del Coño, talked about the effect and perpetuation of sexism in social media and its high level of organization in certain specialized media; about the strategies they use, like creating fake accounts on Twitter to spread lies and harass women; and also about how anonymity allows these people to express thoughts and ideas they would never share in their usual environment. To face all of this, Infante proposed feminist self-defense: if they touch one of us, they touch us all. We need to put sisterhood in practice, and to organize ourselves to fight against digital sexism. Another proposal was to use feminist memes, since humor is a very powerful tool. Finally, she reclaimed the importance of taking care of ourselves first, and to enjoy ourselves.
Marta Selva, from Drac Màgic, explained that we are often stuck in punctual definitions when talking about sexist violence, and that we see it as the result of many small factors, when it definitely is structural and framing (it is part of the way our society is organized). This element is not taken into account by the media, who constantly talk about the different influencing factors, but forget about its defining relevance. Selva reclaimed the exercise of feminine freedom, to break with the invisibility linked to its experience. She talked about the fabric of consent and how the contemporary world has been organized around control and building this consent which systematically invalidates women’s experiences and their understanding of them as such. Finally, she talked about how the media create a show around violence and visual pornography, equating action with violence. 90% of the news use this construction of the violence as a show. Finally, Selva encourages a radical questioning of the global structures, hand to hand with the different transformative feminisms.