“#NotHim”: Latin American Feminisms and their Contributions to Twenty-First Century Utopianism

Lucia Helena Ribas

Abstract


The activism of Latin American women has been instrumental in combating societal taboos, introducing new mores, fighting for social justice, advocating for more inclusivity, the expansion of democracy, and changing the hearts and minds of populations deeply associated with macho culture. The region experienced a three-decade, mid-twentieth century period, which saw civilian governments in eleven nations fall to coups d’état, which installed dictatorial military regimes. In the midst of their neutering, if not dismantling democratic institutions and their use of state terrorism and extrajudicial killings to maintain control, it was women’s movements that gave hope to and often mobilized large numbers of individuals to fight against authoritarianism. Women’s struggles contributed to transitions back to democratic rule and progressive legislation, which were significantly influenced by the unique feminisms that blossomed to establish a new praxis for the 21st century. A highly notable example of this was seen, in 2018, in Brazil. A small Facebook group sparked a mass movement that was quickly identified by its Twitter name, #EleNão (#NotHim), which opposed the far-right candidacy of the man who is now Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro. The discontents and alarm of millions on the internet poured into the streets of every major city in the nation on September 29, 2018. Although this movement was primarily born out of feminist perspectives and women’s concerns, it rapidly became much more than the focal point for those standing against a political figure. Rather, #EleNão – quite apart from generating the largest women’s demonstrations ever seen in Latin America – planted a figurative flag on societal territory hard fought for and secured. Participants wanted to make clear that they were not prepared to accept retrograde policies, nor to see democratic advancements rolled back. The protests were more about championing now cherished principles and rights, than decrying policies and practices they wanted overturned. Women’s efforts unquestionably paved the road to this astonishing contemporary moment. A look at several meaningful initiatives and underlying philosophies is instructive in better understanding the utopian feminism of Latin America and how it has brought us to this current pivot point in the region’s history.

Keywords


#NotHim; Feminism; Latin America; Anti-dystopianism; Authoritarianism



DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18193/sah.v5i1.160

ISSN 2009-8278 (Online)
ISSN 2009-826X (Print)
OCLC Number: 965391142

Publisher: SAHkartell

Creative Commons License