“It’s not just about talking to the children. I think they need to see that their mother is doing something to change society.”
SUSANA ON RAISING SONS (9,7) AND DAUGHTER (3)
Feminism in Peru
We have a lot of violence against women. They want feminists to help them live in a society without violence. We also have people that don’t care. I think mostly it’s because people don’t understand what feminism is talking about. They think that feminism means women don’t like families. That we don’t want to have children. That’s not true.
The reality is this. Every day here a guy kills a woman because of gender reasons. Whether it’s a jealous ex-husband of somebody or a woman refusing to have sex with a guy. That’s every day here. Every day, one woman disappears and nobody cares. There’s always news about sexual harassment. This is not an equal society for us. This is why it’s so important to teach my children about it.
We have a very sexist education. When you see books, it’s obvious that the doctor, the fireman, the engineer is always male. The people that work in houses, it’s usually a woman. The girls are always nurses and never doctors. Our children are learning this and growing up thinking that there are specific careers for girl and boys. Boys are learning math and science. The girls are learning social sciences. It’s very divided. However, there’s a movement now that is pushing for public schools to not educate based on gender.
I don’t care about gender stereotype toys in my home. I want them to play with whatever toy they want. If they want to be a princess or barbie or spider man, that’s not the problem for me. However, it’s not the case outside. Stereotypes are very strong here in Peru. If a boy plays with a barbie then he is called gay. It’s the reality here. There’s a lot of social pressure about that.
I’ve taught the boys since they were five years old. I’ve taught my daughter all of her life. I talk to them a lot. It’s not just about talking. I think they need to see that their mother is doing something to change society. They see that I’m working, I’m an activist for human rights, or see the things that I think are goods things. In our home, we have responsibilities. I teach all of them to cook and to clean. I want to raise them without stereotypical gender roles.
Free at the disco
My husband absolutely does not share the same view as I do. He’s tired of it. He’s very conservative and I’m not. It’s very complicated for the education our children. The children can’t say too much about feminism. If so, my husband will say that I’m teaching them that they’re different from the rest of society. The big problem is he and most of the men here, they think we have the same equal rights. Men say to me, "Aw c’mon, you ladies get in free at the disco, no?" Or when some guy says something inappropriate at a woman walking down the street and we’re upset, the reaction is "Aw c’mon, that’s a beautiful word for you." All the time, they think we’re overreacting.