In this Behind the Zine, the wives attended the small protest on Dam Square on International Women’s Day, went to the Stedelijk x Guerilla Girls event to see the open mic hosted by Mama Cash and Tessel volunteered for Women’s March NL in Studio/K for their festival. A small part of this video contains a scene that PISSWIFE would like to address in a little more detail.
We showed up to the manifestation on Dam Square on International Women’s Day. There were only a few people present, it was a relatively small protest. Some of the attendees I recognized from earlier protests or political events: So Roustayar (BIJ1) who was also present at the PISSWIFE launch party was there, I saw some people waving the SP flag and spoke to a few familiar faces. The speakers on Dam Square mentioned a number of important issues in relation to international women’s day. They started listing women that were affected by misogyny and patriarchal rule across the globe: “Filipino women, Turkish women, middle-class women…” However, they missed a group of women.
Kaye Candaza, activist with Trans Amsterdam, spoke up to tell the speaker that she shouldn’t forget the struggle of transwomen over the entire world. “Don’t leave us behind! Transwomen are women!” This scene is illustrative for the way mainstream feminism excludes transwomen in movements like the one organized by 8 Maartviering Amsterdam and Platform Wereldvrouwen. The ‘traditional’ (in other words: conservative) category of ‘women’ is becoming more and more transgressed, subverted and disposed of on all sides. Transwomen are women, but many of their struggles are different from those of cis women. Transwomen face different issues in healthcare, are often subjected to different harassment, different violence, and in general simply have different experiences as women in the world than cis women do. These struggles need to be recognized and fought for as well.
Apart from the lack of representation and acknowledgement of transwomen and their struggles, there is another group of people that is being left out. What about those people who don’t fit in the category of ‘woman’, or in that of ‘man’, but are considered ‘women’ in the eyes of the law and/or in the eyes of society? People that do not identify as women but were assigned female at birth, or people that posess (some) physical features that others read as female but that do not identify as such, still face a lot of ‘women’s struggles’. This also needs to be recognized on manifestations such as the one on the 8th of March.
The structural neglect in the recognition of all people that feminism ought to fight for on days such as International Women’s Day is resulting in a growing division within activism. We know people that didn’t come to the manifestation because they didn’t feel that it would be worth it, for their struggles wouldn’t be addressed anyway, there would be no space for them in this feminist gathering. The fact that people like Kaye Candaza have the guts to speak up in an environment that negates them is both a sign of power and a sign of the necessity of being heard. Kaye’s words were registered in the ears of the speaker at the Dam Square manifestation, but when will they actually be heard?
Written by Helen Weeres and Tessel ten Zweege