Ni Una Menos

The Latin American protest that anticipated MeToo

Under the banner of “Ni Una Menos”, on 3 June 2015, the streets of Argentina overflowed / elDiario Argentina

Read the paper of Celeste del Bianco on elDiario’s (Argentina) website

Published the 8th march 2023

Beck sees a huge contrast with the Me Too movement. “With Me Too, the idea was that violence is absolutely transversal with regard to socioeconomic origins, education or where you live. It happens to all of us, everywhere, no matter if we are privileged or not. Me Too became huge in the rest of the world, but it especially condemned the sexual abuse committed by powerful people who used their position against women. Me Too abusers are Harvey Weinstein or managers of multinational corporations—not an anonymous husband who is systematically violent at home. His wife has neither the money nor the networks that actresses have to be able to call out the violence.” 

By focusing on the powerful abusers, she says, we leave out the structural matrix of violence. “Me Too doesn’t associate sexist violence with the lack of economic autonomy of women. There is no link there. Ni Una Menos introduces the idea that in order to get out of the cycle of violence, you need to have networks and economic autonomy.” 

As regards chronology, Ni Una Menos was born and conquered the streets earlier. The Me Too movement had global visibility because it started in the center of the entertainment industry. But both are products of their time. “The times are different, but they have waves that have the same frequency,” says Pomeraniec. “Ni Una Menos was an influence, even if people don’t know about it in the United States. This is the spirit of the times, a climate of an era. Everything that came after that is not accidental.” 

Today, almost eight years after that initial mobilization, there is a strong conservative reaction against the rights of women and LGBTQIA+ people. Conservative leaders openly express their disdain for their achievements and promote their suppression. The sociologist and feminist communicator Danila Saiegh considers that this is related to the fact that the movement stopped being marginal, increased its demands and, in several countries, even reached the State level. In Argentina, for example, the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity of the Nation was created in 2020.

“In the beginning, we were simply talking about not being killed, and it was very difficult for public figures to object to demands to repair that injustice, because it was so basic,” says Saiegh. “Later, they began to see that feminism is much more and that it concerns many issues, such as the abortion debate. That goes deeper and bothers a lot of people. Many powerful individuals and institutions began to get very annoyed, and ideologies that seemed dormant started to awaken. More Catholics, conservatives and extreme-right people became popular in certain sectors of  society.”

Some of the best-known examples are former President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, former President Donald Trump in the United States and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Italy. “For many, feminism now belongs to the State, and there is nothing to discuss or to fight for. This is a phenomenon to think about, too. Undoubtedly, we are going through a moment of conservative reaction and openly anti-feminist speeches. If the scope of feminism were not questioned, there wouldn’t be such a strong and specific conservative reaction. There wouldn’t be such anti-feminism,” she adds.