By Alas Tensas
HAVANA TIMES – On the eve of March 8th, International Women’s Day, we had some good news: Alas Tensas, a Cuban feminist magazine, has launched its website. You can now find us here!
A large part of what we do or publish ever since we founded the magazine on October 16th 2016 (in print and pdf files), can now be found on our website. These are the same articles that have enabled us to grow to the extent we have today, and have also been (of course!) the reason why we have been misunderstood and suffered harassment.
The publication includes: reports of femicide, interviews, feature articles, opinion pieces, chronicles, literary criticism, as well as film critique, poetry and life stories, research and memories. And, there’s also our multimedia work: videos, graphs. It might not be much, but we are opening a crack in Patriarchy’s wall.
And, here’s the best thing about all of this: it’s just the beginning.
On this March 8th, women of all ages will come together and take to the streets all over the world, without asking for permission, without receiving orders, with fair claims and demands for real equality.
Meanwhile in Havana, the Federation of Cuban Women is celebrating the 10th edition of its Congress. Another Congress, by the only women’s association that has ever existed by decree, which has been trying to sidestep or even explicitly deny the existence of problems that are today the main cause that Feminism and Alas Tensas fight for.
Cuba needs independent journalism. And, it still needs to make headway in terms of how it handles gender.
This website marks another milestone in our journey of growth as an independent media outlet that aspires to become a channel for and by women, without following the agenda of any political movement or party, not only in Cuba.
Those of us who work on Alas Tensas, and our collaborators, believe that the future will be feminist or there won’t be any future at all, and this outlook must be taken into account for every social, political or economic development project.
Attacks on the progress of feminism, which the UN recently alerted us about, also affects independent projects that can’t prosper in Cuba without paying a high social and political price.
Here in Cuba, women still have many chains they need to cut themselves loose from, and laws won’t cut them. Not by machismo’s hand and gift of forgiveness or pity. Not by sporadic campaigns on state-controlled media and some authorized organizations, or with laws alone, even though these are all steps in the right direction.
The tough economic crisis that Cuba is suffering, which has become worse in recent times, harms women particularly. They carry the burden of long working days, with precarious safety and hygiene conditions, in exchange for insignificant incomes.
On top of that, they are the ones responsible for educating, cooking and looking after children, sick relatives and old people, in an aging society that is losing its youth to constant emigration, in search of opportunity.
The patriarchal system’s tentacles even penetrate women’s minds, spreading prejudice, stereotypes and myths that are really hard to break down.
In Cuba, feminism has been and is stigmatized a great deal. For decades, it was isolated and only developed in the academic world. But, imposed “State Feminism” is just as dangerous, which has been the case recently, trying to replace or suffocate civil society.
While there are hidden stories of women in need, abused, raped, killed, victims of inequality and abuse of power, not only in private spaces, but public too, along with enriching stories of survivors and empowered women, then gender-focused journalism will always be necessary, as will research and artistic creation which touch a sore spot.
Alas Tensas hopes to contribute to our understanding and to change reality, without fundamentalism, “with everyONE and for everyONE’s wellbeing.