By Dixie Edith
Cuban journalist and professor at the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana.
On Twitter @Dixiedith
January 16, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
From a bad joke to sexism is only one step removed. Evidence abounds; it is enough to review, even as the crow flies, various communication spaces, in any format. But what happens when the dubious attempt of a joke, as if that were not enough, makes a crime acceptable?
The question is neither banal nor exaggerated. A few days ago, a group of students from the Communications Department at the University of Havana, had just finished their semester of studies on gender. They were debating via WhatsApp about the photo that accompanies this text. “But what is this?”, some asked. “Doesn’t anyone realize this nonsense?”, asked others.
The photo captured the pictograms that point to a public bathroom located in the new recreational space of the capital’s coast, at the intersection of 1st and 70th streets, in Playa municipality. The figures show a man sneaking a look at a woman, above what looks like the wall that divides the two stalls. And here, the frustrated attempt at a “joke” came and went.
We are no longer talking about old hats: top hats for them and full of flowers or lace for them; or stereotypical film characters showing the gallant and the maiden, the flamenca and the bullfighter. Not even of those other attempts at “creativity” that appeal to phallic symbols, heels or ties, or any other topic tinged with sexism, by the work and grace of the macho tradition that pursues us.
Now we are also witnessing incitement to an act that is punishable under our laws. And, as if this were not enough, it not only positions women once again as the subject – the “natural” victim – of hegemonic masculinity, but also places all men in the position of violators of the law, of victimizers. This is called symbolic violence.
In the opinion of Yamila González Ferrer, a lawyer and expert on gender and family issues, “when what this image is showing occurs, we are dealing with a crime of harassment, provided for in Article 303 of the Criminal Code, which refers to sexual outrage”. But, for her, the most serious thing in this particular case is that “this type of symbolism is used in a public place”.
The aforementioned Article 303 has three subparagraphs, which propose sanctions of up to “three months’ imprisonment” or a “fine of one hundred to three hundred pesos“ for those who harass other persons “with sexual requirements”; offend “modesty or good manners with obscene exhibitions or acts”, or produces or puts into circulation “publications, recordings, cinematographic or magnetic tapes, recordings, photographs or other objects that are obscene, tending to pervert or degrade customs”.
If I were to make a dynamic or evolving interpretation of the law,” says Yamila, “then subparagraph c of that offense of sexual abuse could be applied perfectly well to that case.
Another lawyer, Dr. Arlín Pérez Duarte, agrees with her, in this case an experienced criminal lawyer. In her opinion, this last section applies in this case from what she calls an “analogical interpretation” of the law, since it “appeals to the effects provoked”. The specialist says that, in this matter, “from the point of view of rights, there is a lot of room for improvement”.
For example, criminal implications could be sought from so-called voyeurism or, or as we say jokingly, peeping, which in the eyes of the law is considered a form of outrage or a crime against honor. Although traditionally this type of infraction in Cuba is not punished as a crime, but more as a contravention,. However, in the opinion of the penalist, in this case “it has a greater scope, since it is in an institution that provides a public service”. In other words, it goes beyond affecting an individual person.
The world of signage to label the doors of public toilets and bathrooms serves as a preview of what we will find inside. But it is an soup where multiple proposals are cooked. There are designs that move, between the thorny waters of good and bad taste, the vulgar and really creative. In this unfortunate case, to put more spice to the broth, the half-assed sign also violates Article 40 of the recently approved Constitution of the Republic, which defends human dignity; Article 43, which condemns gender violence in all its forms and Article 48, which defends the right to privacy. And we could continue looking.
Currently, many public discussions around the world are occupied with how to achieve more inclusive signage and urban spaces that do not reproduce those stereotypes that our patriarchal societies have imposed on women and men. There is talk, for example, of unisex toilets, which serve them equally, which would also help not to humiliate or discriminate against other people who have different sexual orientations and gender identities.
If we still find signs like the one in the above mentioned photo, it is clear that we are still far from those other controversies. The unfortunate thing is that the case is not unique. The same students who questioned and argued about the 1st and 70th signs also claimed to have seen similar pictograms in other establishments, especially in the self-employed sector.
As with advertising, urban design, intentionally or not, helps to perpetuate ideas through graphic codes and creative nods. And because machismo is so naturalized in our lives, we often find it hard to identify that behind those seemingly innocent jokes is a deeply violent, threatening message that, according to García Márquez, could become the advertised chronicle of a crime of harassment.
By Hortensia Hernández
Friday, January 5, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Considered one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, Tina Modotti (Udine, Italy; August 17, 1896 – Mexico City, Mexico January 5, 1942) was a communist militant and worked for the party in Mexico, the Soviet Union, Spain, Germany and Italy. Self-taught, she spoke four languages and learned the photograph trade from the famous photographer Edward Weston.
She was a woman with a short but intense life who surely went much further than she could have imagined when she was going through a childhood full of hardships, in Udine, northern Italy. She had to work from the age of 12 as a textile factory worker to help her mother provide for herself and her siblings while waiting to raise money to catch up with her father and older sister, who had migrated to the United States city of Los Angeles
In North America, Modotti worked as a dressmaker and, in her spare time, performed within an amateur theater group. She got some roles in Hollywood silent films, an activity that could not last after the arrival of the sound cinema, which would reveal her bad English and strong Italian accent.
When she was very young, she married a poet and painter, but she soon became a widow. This brought her closer to the artistic world and it was there that she met the photographer Edward Weston. With him she first worked as a model and then as an assistant, learning how to handle the camera and the developing process and taking her first steps as a photographer.
Modotti and Weston became a couple and moved to Mexico. There, through photography, which portrays a people in the midst of a revolutionary upheaval, they approach what would be their other great passion: politics.
Her love life united her with three successive communist leaders: Mexican Xavier Guerrero, who was Rivera’s assistant. They formed part of the revolutionary movement through the Mexican Union of Artists (UMA), made up of Diego himself, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Charles Chaplin, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Frida Kahlo and others.
In 1928, she met Julio Antonio Mella, a member of the Cuban Communist Party, with whom she worked in the “Hands Off Nicaragua” committee, for the freedom of Antonio Gramsci, the Argentinean leader Rodolfo Ghioldi, and in the collection of signatures for the freedom of Nicolás Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzzeti. Mella was murdered a year later and Modotti was expelled, accused of being an accomplice to the attempted assassination of Mexican President Pascual Ortiz Rubio.
Her third partner was the Italian Eneas Sormenti, with whom she became a member of the first Italian anti-fascist committee. They met in Mexico and met again in Moscow, where both were members of the Communist Party.
The Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska, in her biography of Modotti, entitled “Tinísima”, describes her as “a subject in search of a militant and documentary art, which tries to reconcile the aesthetic and political vanguard. A woman in search of identities through all kinds of instruments: the gaze, the word and the action”.
Tina died on 5 January 1942 of a heart attack while traveling in a taxi, although there is also the suspicion that she may have been murdered. On her tombstone in Mexico City’s cemetery is a verse dedicated to her by Pablo Neruda.
Assunta Adelaide Luigia Modotti, better known as Tina Modotti, at the age of 17 emigrated to the United States to catch up with her father and older sister, who already lived there. In 1921s she met Edward Weston and in 1922 she arrived in Mexico to bury her first husband Roubaix de L’Abrie Richey. In Mexico, she met and became close friends with Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Blanca Luz Brum, Nahui Ollin, Maria Tereza Montoya and Frida Kahlo. she became a member of the Mexican Communist Party in 1927. She actively supported the struggle of Augusto Cesar Sandino and helped found the first Italian anti-fascist committee. In 1928 he met Julio Antonio Mella, a Cuban student leader, when the committee in support of the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti was formed.
She was known for her controversial nude photos and for the particular look she reflected in the photographs she took of Mexico. She would later witness Mella’s murder. In 1930, she was falsely accused of conspiring to assassinate Pascual Ortiz Rubio, then president of Mexico, for which she was arrested. Thanks to Diego Rivera’s help, she was released but expelled from the country.
She arrived in Germany in the mid-1930s, traveled to the Soviet Union and met again with Vittorio Vidali, whom she had met in Mexico. She participated in the International Red Relief. In 1934 she left for Spain. During the Spanish Civil War, she enlisted in the Fifth Regiment and worked in the International Brigades, under the name of Maria until the end of the war. Margarita Nelken, in one of the several praises given to her activity, tells how she cared for the children who arrived in Almeria after the exodus from the town of Malaga which was harassed during the journey on foot by the bombing of the Franco forces.
Figure 1. Tona Modotte at her exhibtion in the National University Library, 1929. Photo taken from Margaret Hooks, Tine Modotti, Photography and Revolutionary, London, Pandora, 1993)
In 1939 she returned as an asylum seeker to Mexico, where she continued her political activity, through the Giuseppe Garibaldi Antifascist Alliance . In 1940, President Lazaro Cardenas canceed her expulsion. She died on January 5, 1942. In the book “Tina”, Pino Cacucci mentions a possible murder of Tina Modotti, which has always been a controversy since there was no autopsy.
Along with Weston, she was a mentor to Mexican photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska wrote a biographical novel entitled “Tinísima”. Victor Hugo Rascon Banda wrote a play called “Tina Modotti”.
Modotti’s interest in her work was a reflection of her ideological commitment to the most vulnerable social groups. She worked as an editor and photographer for the magazine Mexican Folkways and the newspaper El Machete in 1924, and this work would lead her to be considered as a precursor of critical photojournalism in Mexico. Achieving an immediate identification with Mexico and its inhabitants that is reflected in her work.
Her work was captured by artists such as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, who between the years 1927-1930 entrusted her with the task of photographing their works. This work represents]ed a certain historical value, which testifies to the realization of the works of these two Mexican muralists.
According to Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Tina Modotti had two periods: the romantic and the revolutionary. In the first, influenced by Weston, where she photographed flowers, objects and architectural details and the second emerged in Mexico, beginning her relationship with the Mexican muralist movement. She aimed to portray the work of these artists emphasizing details such as workers and indigenous people, in addition to her independent work, capturing images of indigenous and mestizo people and documenting the social struggle of the less privileged with great care in the composition and assembly of the scenes, but without poses or forced attitudes.
There is a period of transition in which she produced some of her most memorable photos, such as the hands of a farmer holding a shovel or the hands of a washerwoman.
By Juventud Rebelde firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Saturday 28 December 2019 | 09:25:37 am
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
WASHINGTON, December 28.- A Sacramento woman was poisoned by a skin cream, leaving her in a coma. Hers was the first reported case of methylmercury poisoning in the United States, reports the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The 47-year-old woman visited a doctor in July of this year for a strange burning sensation and weakness in her arm. When she returned two weeks later with blurred vision and difficulty speaking, doctors admitted her to a University of California, San Francisco, hospital.
Then her condition quickly worsened into a delirious rage, as described by Dr. Paul Blanc of the California Division of Environmental Medicine and Poison Control System, CNN reports.
Her body contained abnormally high levels of methylmercury, he wrote. Methylmercury is highly toxic and can cause permanent damage to the nervous system, Blanc said. The CDC report indicates that her injuries are probably permanent.
The woman is now in a coma after using a mercury-contaminated face cream brought in from a Latin American country through an informal network. She used the toxic cream for years, the source said.
Her family explained to health officials that she used a skin-lightening cream, allegedly called Pond’s Rejuveness, twice a day for the past seven years. The woman acquired the cream through friends. The product is also used to remove blemishes and wrinkles.
Experts tested the cream and found that it contained 12,000 parts per million of methylmercury. The damage methylmercury inflicts on the nervous system often worsens after patients stop using or consuming contaminated products.
The condition of the patient, whose name was not published, continued to deteriorate even after she underwent chelation therapy, a treatment to remove mercury through the urine.
By Zorileidys Pimentel Miranda
November 26, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews..
PINAR DEL RÍO: The Women’s Voluntary Military Service (SMVF) is still a taboo in some Cuban families. Getting used to the boots, the olive green uniform, the backpack, the guards, the hikes, the days in the field, is very hard for women, according to many people.
However, there are families who are grateful that their daughters are living this experience. This was evident during the parliamentary hearing on the SMVF held on Tuesday in Pinar del Río, sponsored by the Committee on Defense and Internal Order of the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP).
The testimony of Odalys Orraca Castillo, mother of a young woman who was a member of the Border Brigade in Guantanamo, reached the audience. “It is always difficult to accept that a son is going to walk away. In our case, we already knew that our daughter was willing to comply with the SMVF and therefore there was an acceptance and we were all convinced that this was the best thing for her.
“The separation was difficult, but we remained calm because we always knew that they were well cared-for in every way. In the first two months after starting military service, my daughter told me: “Mom, don’t cry or worry anymore, because we are very happy; it is true that we have to work and do all the activities, but we also have fun, we have a good time, and above all, we learn a lot”.
Like this one, other stories came to the parliamentary hearing, which was attended by fighters of the Revolution, cadets, family members and representatives of various organizations and institutions from the territory.
Such was the case of Yusleidys Hernández Hernández, a member of the National Committee of the Young Communist League (UJC), who, for six months, learned what life is like in a military unit. “It was a unique experience for me. It contributed a lot to my training. Now I am more disciplined and consistent with the tasks of the Revolution. I feel great pride and satisfaction in being prepared to defend the country in any circumstance,” she said.
Then, she added that from the UJC, together with the Federation of Cuban Women, “We carried out exchanges in the educational centers, we showed videos about women who have lived this experience, we talked with the parents and we had concrete results.
For her part, Yilena Valdés Llano, a 19-year-old who finished her military service last August, said it was a 12-month apprenticeship. “I reached an incredible degree of maturity, it also taught me about military life, everything I need to know to defend the country. In addition, I was able to study and today I am in the first year of my degree in rehabilitation, something I am very passionate about.
Also participating in the hearing was Major General José Antonio Carrillo Gómez, president of the Defense Committee of the ANPP and of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution, who reiterated that at present, along with the economy, defense continues to be the great task of all Cubans to maintain our social system.
By ROCÍO AYUSO
November 24, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Emma Thompson is good at everything she does. She rose to fame as an actress, a passion that earned her an Oscar with Howards End (1992). She also has an Oscar as a writer, adapting Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (1995) to the screen. And as an activist she never shuts up. She fights for equality and transparency in wages in the industry of which she is a part. Moreover, she personally takes on the causes she believes in, as demonstrated by the adoption of Tindyebwa Agaba, formerly a child soldier from Rwanda.
The proximity of the 60’s does not stop this Londoner, a declared atheist and Greenpeace advocate. She went in slippers to her appointment as a lady and whose last job, a Christmas advertisement to which she has given her voice, has been banned from Icelandic television. The spot tells the story of a little orangutan named Rang-tan who walks into a girl’s bedroom after escaping the destruction of the forest by palm oil traders. Thompson, married to fellow actor Greg Wise and mother of a daughter, Gaia, is now releasing The Verdict, a film based on the novel by Ian McEwan in which she plays a British High Court judge who has to make important decisions about her life and that of a child.
QUESTION. As much as you are judged as an actress, are you also judgmental?
ANSWER. Only when you sit in the place of the judges in a courtroom, up there, do you realize how easy it is to judge from that position. How easy it is to feel above everyone.
Q. And as a star, is it also easy to feel above everyone?
A. I guess it’s easy and I make those mistakes too. But my family takes care of taking me down a peg. When you enjoy a position like mine, it’s good to go shopping for milk once in a while. And I do. I’m sure I’m a bit of a brat or a spoiled brat sometimes. But at home I do the cooking, the shopping, and I’ve cleaned a few bathrooms. I try to keep my feet on the ground, but of course I’m very spoiled because I have a personal assistant without whom it would be impossible for me to do what I do.
Q. This year alone you have collaborated in a television series (Upstart Crow), in a television film (King Lear), you have done several voice works and you have two premieres, Johnny English Strikes Again and now The Verdict. What do you do when you have a couple of hours free?
A. I sleep (laughs). I’d say I go to the movies, but there are no movies that last two hours anymore. I’m not much of a TV watcher either even though I saw The Crown in one sitting. If I have two hours, I read. I like historical novels like Philippa Gregory’s or the work of that great feminist writer Rebecca Solnit.
Q Her defense of equality, of feminism, predates the #MeToo movement. Have things improved in any way?
A. They change and don’t change. Above all, I am a feminist who believes in women’s rights and equality. And it is impossible for me to feel sympathy or faith in any institution that systematically oppresses women. That is why I am an atheist. Because religion has a long history of oppressing women.
Q. One of your latest works has been an announcement for Greenpeace that has reignited the controversy. This is not your first collaboration with the environmental organization.
A. I have a very close relationship with Greenpeace. I have travelled with them twice to the Arctic and next year we will work together again. They are a very effective organization partly because of their political stance, because they don’t mind breaking the law and using civil disobedience if it brings attention to the problems that we are facing. We are as hooked on non-renewable energy as we are on tobacco. And the easiest and quickest solution to many of our problems is a boycott.
Q. The UK is going through a difficult time with the implementation of Brexit. How is it going in the final stretch?
A: The world must think we have lost our minds. The results plunged me into grief because I was born 14 years after the end of World War II. I still remember the feeling of loss in London, in a Europe traumatized by both wars. The idea of breaking up the union makes me sad. But you have to realize that many people are disenchanted with the system. Those who feel ignored by our government or by the union of European countries. So what is born now has to be a new union, a better one. I prefer to think that this is a good time for something new to be born. I take comfort in that thought.
By Amelia Duarte de la Rosa
November 25, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The world commemorates this November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, even though one in three women on the planet suffers physical or sexual violence.
However, the term “Violence Against Women” coined by the UN in 1993, encompasses many types of attacks beyond physical, sexual or psychological, and also has to do with any threatening act, whether it occurs in life public as in private.
Many women in the world suffer from labor and political violence as an inalienable part of gender inequality and lack of equal rights for women and girls.
Among the highest rates of gender violence worldwide are found in the Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa, where although physical or sexual rape has a higher incidence, the female population is unprotected in terms of economic empowerment, political leadership and inclusion.
According to the United Nations Annual Report 2017-2018, women remain trapped in a network of inequalities that place them in the worst part of unpaid care, social protection and insecurity.
Gender disparities also intersect with gaps in education, income and access to services, as well as ethnicity, sexual orientation and geographic location.
In addition, women and girls are particularly vulnerable in education, which prevents them from achieving universal schooling and having more employment opportunities.
Harassment, discrimination at work and psychological aggressiveness also affect them as victims, because women are exposed to strenuous work schedules, low earnings, difficult conditions and an increased risk of violence.
UN Women data shows that one in 10 women in the European Union declares that they have suffered cyber-bullying since the age of 15. This includes unwanted, sexually explicit and offensive emails or SMS [text] messages, or inappropriate and offensive attempts in the social networks, which are positioned as the main means through which this psychological violence is exercised.
Meanwhile, a study conducted in 27 universities in the United States revealed that 23 percent of university students are victims of sexual assault or sexual misconduct.
For its part, Africa is one of the most restrictive continents in terms of women’s rights and it is estimated that millions of them have been subjected to female genital mutilation.
In addition, it leads the ranking as the region with the least safe abortions in the world, followed by Oceania and Latin America, which takes thousands of lives each year.
It is believed that only one in four abortions is carried out in safe conditions.
UN Women implements an aid plan in several countries to close these gender gaps and create counseling centers for survivors of violence.
In addition, some governments develop economic empowerment plans to counter violence against women, such as in Japan, which, for example, approved paternity leave to allow the professional development of mothers.
However, all action continues to seem useless when, UN data confirms that 71 percent of victims of trafficking worldwide are women and girls, and one in two women in 2017 was killed by their sentimental partner or a member of their family.
(Taken from PL)
By Juventud Rebelde email@example.com
Published: Wednesday 04 September 2019 | 09:46:25 am
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Iranian authorities have demanded that an Islamic court in Bahmai County, Kohkiluyeh Province and Buyer Ahmad annul the marriage between a 28-year-old man and a 9-year-old girl, journalist Babak Taghvaee reported on his Twitter account.
This decision was taken under public pressure after the wedding images went viral on social networks, RT says.
The wedding video was made public by the journalist and women’s rights defender in Iran, Masih Alinejad.
This is a wedding party for a girl under 13 years old. I cried when I received this video … According to Islamic laws, a girl […] can get married but can’t choose her own dress, the activist said on her Twitter account when she posted the video.
Under Iranian law, a girl can get married after the age of 13, and a boy from the age of 15.
The pedophile #Basij militia member named Milad Cheshani has contacted the journalists who reported his marriage. He has claimed that it is just temporary marriage. He also has threatened the journalists who criticized him for act of pedophilia!!https://t.co/1xqOpEJVZr
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) September 3, 2019
According to 2015 data, every seven seconds a girl under 15 gets married somewhere in the world, according to the NGO Save the Children. Meanwhile, India is the country with the highest rate of underage wives, according to statistics from the same year, more than 24.5 million marry before they turn 18.
By Juventud Rebelde
Sunday 18 August 2019 | 09:42:37 am.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
LIMA, August 18.- This Saturday thousands of people held a demonstration in the Peruvian capital called Ni una menos. Women’s organizations demanded protection in the face of the growing number of cases of femicide in the South American country.
It was the fourth edition of the annual march to demand an end to femicide, which this year stands at 105, while cases of attempted femicide total about 150 more so far in 2019.
We have to promote a culture free of machismo, said Peruvian Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations Gloria Montenegro, who was present at the demonstration organized by the collective Ni Una Menos, reports Telesur.
Alejandra Ballón, a spokeswoman for the group, said she was dismayed by the figure of 105 femicides, which means that in Peru a woman is murdered every day.
But there are about 250 femicide attempts and it must be said that for each attempt of femicide there are children, parents, grandparents, a whole family that is dismayed because it has a direct relative who is a victim, Barrón added.
She mentioned that in 2018 there were more than 12,000 cases of rape and that, of those cases, 60 percent of the aggressors are family members and of the adolescents who become pregnant, 90 percent are incest, she said.
Another participant in the demonstration, which toured the streets of downtown Lima, was attorney Arlette Contreras, who denounced the fact that women are also victims of the state through its operators who deny access to justice.
We are in the streets again to denounce gender violence by the aggressors, as well as to denounce the gender violence of the Peruvian State that affects, harms and hurts women victims and survivors, said the jurist.
Countless myths have historically reinforced stigmas about sexuality after people reach the sixth decade of life and come to consider themselves as adults and older adults.
Author: Lisandra Fariñas Acosta | firstname.lastname@example.org
July 7, 2019 20:07:50
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Countless myths have historically reinforced stigmas about sexuality after people reach the sixth decade of life and come to see themselves as adults and older adults.
These myths, in the case of women, “conceived under the stereotype of mother, woman as a function of the family”, have hindered their enjoyment of sexuality, and which increases in the so-called third age.
This is what Dr. Beatriz Torres Rodríguez, president of the Cuban Society for the Multidisciplinary Study of Sexuality (Socumes), said at the recently held XVII Congress of the Cuban Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, addressing this issue.
“Women are prepared to attend to and satisfy the needs of others. Socially, there is a predominant belief that her sexual capacity and desire are less than those of men, and that female love is romantic and must have an erotic passivity,” the specialist said.
This is accompanied by other myths such as that only in youth you enjoy a good sexuality and that women in old age do not have an active sexual life, and are not interested in engaging in some romantic relationship, said the expert.
When talking about women’s sexuality in old age, many times we only think about the following aspects: fragility and loss of pubic hair; the vaginal mucosa dries up and atrophy, thus diminishing its secretion and facilitating infections; the vulva, labia minora and clitoris decrease in size, there is a shortening and narrowing of the vagina; the ovaries decrease in size, and the cervical mucus is thick, scarce and cellular; the breasts become flaccid as a result of the atrophy of the tissues and the lack of hormonal secretion.
For the psychologist, it is essential to take into account what older women think and what is meant by geriatric sexual health.
The latter is “the psychological expression of emotions and commitments that requires the greatest amount and quality of communication between partners, throughout existence, in a relationship of trust, love, ability to share and pleasure, with or without intercourse,” according to specialized literature.
This concept is fundamentally based on an “optimization of the quality of the relationship” (more than in quantity), said Dr. Torres Rodriguez.
For the interviewee, several elements cannot be lost sight of: self-perception of sexual attractiveness is a very important social factor.
“The climacteric anticipates the “feeling of old age” in many women. A large number of women mistakenly believe that once their reproductive function is over, sexual function is also lost,” she said.
Added to this is the fact that older people find it very difficult to consult medical science professionals, because there is a general lack of training in areas of sexuality and, even more so, in the sexuality of older people. Hence, the role of health professionals in general and family physicians, as well as specialists in Geriatrics, as key health providers at this stage must become essential.
It is essential that the person is cared for from a holistic point of view and that, for example, sexual dysfunctions are taken as seriously as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Studies carried out in our context have shown that, contrary to what many people think, a considerable part of dysfunctions in old age have their origin in ignorance, false expectations, feelings of being handicapped and other phenomena. These, although they play an important role in the appearance of dysfunctions, are relatively easy to combat and prevent by means of adequate information and discussion.
According to epidemiological studies, the fact of losing one’s partner is one of the most important determinants of the cessation of sexual activity.
“Traditionally, there has been a strong social tendency to consider negatively the establishment of new affective relationships, and even new marriages in widows, which further limits their sexual activity,” said the psychologist.
In general, it is essential that the family accept the sexuality of the elderly, consider the possibilities of second and third marriages, and respect the privacy of the parents and grandparents.
Older women’s sexuality as an indicator of quality of life, especially perceived quality of life, requires a better understanding of all factors affecting it. One of the most important is mourning, for the body, for sexual and social losses.
But what does old age really imply or limit? On the subject, the experts William Masters and Virginia
Johnson, who are dedicated to the study of human sexual response, argue that the elderly can have sex at any age.
An international survey of 1126 elderly people, conducted by the University of Michigan, showed that 30% were sexually active and showed that sexual dysfunction is not inherent in aging.
Hence the need to influence the understanding of the sexual changes that occur in old age and the negative influence that myths and beliefs have on the enjoyment of sexuality in women over the age of 60. “Sexuality is not only for young people,” explains Dr. Beatriz Torres Rodríguez.
Promoting knowledge about the rights of the elderly to enjoy their sexuality and promoting public policies that do not only correspond to the health sector is essential. The idea is to encourage spaces for socialization, recreation and growth in these stages of life, without neglecting family education in these areas.
Sunday, June 16 2019 08:29
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The #MeToo movement that exploded worldwide in late 2017 inspires several works on display this year at the Basel Art Fair, the largest in the world.
Visitors discover inflatable mannequins in white airbag dresses created to protect women from harassment in the workplace, and details of alleged sexual crimes of some 170 public figures displayed on four long walls dotted with red.
Women artists are at the center of the scene of this 50th edition, with their works and in-your-face installations expressing the anger and exasperation of persistent gender inequalities and the abuses and harassment condemned by society.
The Spaniard Alicia Framis has filled a room with delicate white mannequins with dresses made of airbag material, which are activated to protect different parts of the female body.
The work entitled “Life Dress” consists of dresses to “protect women in all work situations where there is some kind of abuse,” Framis told AFP.
The 52-year-old artist said she spoke with victims of harassment and abuse and her stories inspired the design, using “fashion to protest against violence.
While Framis turns to humor, Los Angeles-based artist Andrea Bowers opts directly for anger with her large archive project “Open Secrets.
It consists of photographic prints with red backgrounds, each mentioning the name and trade of the public figure accused of sexual harassment or abuse, her public response to the accusations, and details of the case.
Culture of Rape
Hollywood ex-producer Harvey Weinstein, whose alleged crimes launched the #MeToo movement, has two full panels dedicated to his long list of alleged crimes.
U.S. President Donald Trump also appears in the work, as do his predecessors Bill Clinton and George Bush senior, two Supreme Court justices, actors, journalists and musicians, among others.
“I think the #MeToo movement is perhaps one of the most important feminist movements of my life,” Bowers told AFP, referring to his inspiration for the play.
Bowers, 54, who presents herself as a feminist activist artist, said she was shocked to realize “what it was like growing up for me in that culture of rape where young men were allowed to sexually rape me and my friends.
With the #MeToo movement, this kind of behavior is finally “being recognized,” she said. “I hope it’s a historic change.
During the premiere earlier in the week, many men stopped in front of the work that covers two wide walls, on both sides, in the middle of the fair’s large exhibition space.
“You can see a lot of men standing here and a little insecure about how to react,” said Vanja Oberhoff, a young German art investor. “It’s a very powerful work,” he told AFP.
But not all reactions are positive.
Helen Donahue, who in 2017 tweet photographs of her body with marks for alleged abuse by independent columnist Michael Hafford, expressed indignation that Bowers used one of her images.
“It’s great that my damn photos and trauma are headed to the Basel fair. Thank you for exploiting us for the +arte+ ANDREA BOWERS,” he tweet Thursday.
Bowers, who insists on the importance of trusting survivors, quickly issued an apology for not asking Donahue’s permission before using the photo and removed the panel from his exhibit.