When the voice of women does not break


“What I hated most in life is my voice”, is a phrase that is not expected to be heard from a radio host, but it was the first phrase that Gabriela Warkentin, director of the morning radio program, said. So things from W Radio, at the table organized by El PAÍS on gender discrimination in public debates. “Because my voice is very masculine by traditional standards,” added the academic and journalist, who recalled when she began doing radio at the Universidad Iberoamericana years ago. “People were very angry and they wondered ‘what does that say, what is it? Is he a man or what is he? That, that voice, is today one of the most listened to every morning in Mexico City.

Warkentin spoke in the talk Women’s Struggle Against Discrimination organized at the Guadalajara Book Fair, together with Marion Reimers —sports journalist and founder of an NGO that fights gender discrimination—, Alma Delia Murillo, novelist and author of Tales of Evil, The Child We Were, Ladies of the Hunt and Inhabited Nights, and Sonia Corona, editor-in-chief of EL PAÍS in Mexico, who moderated the table. “The voice must be accompanied by emotional networks,” Warkentin added in his first speech, “sisterhood is not a matter of militancy, it is an emotional issue.” Three women who have managed in recent years to make their voices resonate without breaking in the public debate of politics, sports and literature.

“The fact that women dabble in public discourse is in itself an irreverent act; something that in the last century and in this century, is a revolutionary act ”, said Reimers, who recalled an iconic silence against the strong voice of women in Greek mythology, that moment“ when Telemachus talks to Penelope, his mother, and He says’ go to your rooms, woman, we men must write songs ”. Times have changed, but it is others other than Telémaco who ask to silence in other ways. In the case of sports journalism, many centuries later, the famous soccer journalist explained that in newsrooms and in the public it is understood that women “are there to inform, but not to give an opinion, much less to analyze a soccer match. soccer”.

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The speakers during the event, within the framework of FIL Guadalajara.
The speakers during the event, within the framework of FIL Guadalajara.Hector Guerrero

“There you didn’t have to break a glass ceiling, but rather shit,” said Alma Delia Murillo, who recognized the privileged place that the three of them have managed to achieve but that it was not easy for her when she was a poor girl in Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, in the state of Mexico, which currently has one of the highest rates of femicides in the country. “I am the daughter of a domestic worker,” she added, where the silence is not only because of her gender but because of her class and race. “They locked me in the closet because I was too dark for the visits of the lady of the house to see me, and this is something that continues to happen in this country (…) we are in the national media now, but there it is. even that other Mexico, that which is not a minority, is perhaps half of the country ”.

But there is another ceiling, more of the 21st century, where silence is now found and with which the three have found themselves face to face. “All the digital shit,” said Warketin, who recounted how her male colleagues receive various insults on social media for their work, but never receive them with references to their gender as she does. “There are days when he hits you,” added Warkentin, who now prefers to reduce his voice on Twitter and leave it only for the radio. “The first time I received a threat of rape [por redes], I had a hard time leaving my house, “added Reimers, who then began to identify male colleagues who have supported him in private, but did not do so in public. “It is important to start being more courageous, and less performatic,” he added.

When Alma Delia Murillo protested online earlier this year against the former candidate for governor of Guerrero, accused of rape, the author not only received comments on Twitter (of support or rejection) but also a more threatening one: a text message to his cell phone, with threats. “When it reaches my phone line, you are scared, and fear is not an algorithm, fear is a very hard emotion,” he says. Although there is no longer Telémaco managing to silence, and there are radio stations or editorials wanting to hear what these three women have to say, it is still exhausting to listen to Telémaco asking for silence.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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