SANTIAGO – Ten women used their bodies as canvases on Monday, with colorful paintings and slogans for the upcoming feminist strike on March 8, celebrated all over the world as International Women’s Day, when they marched through the streets of Santiago, ending at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights.
“Decent work,” “Non-sexist education” or “When and how I decide” were some of the proclamations that could be read on the bare skins, covered only by paint, of the women who participated in the mobilization initiative.
“Our female bodies are always sexualized and objectified. The idea was to use our bodies as canvasses for the strike on March 8, to say that they are not of public use, but that we use them as we want,” Javiera Salinas, the organizer of the project, told EFE.
This march was one of the activities that were carried out on the “Superlunes Feminista” (Feminist Super Monday), according to members of the Coordinating Committee that organizes the feminist strike in Chile.
The first Monday of March is known as “Super Monday” in the South American country because it marks the end of the summer holidays, schools begins again, work resumes and the Chilean capital returns to having a very crowded traffic.
The organizers of the strike added to this day the adjective “feminist” and called numerous activities throughout Santiago as a “countdown” for the mobilizations on March 8.
In the early morning hours they covered up the names of metro stations that have male names with posters of well-known Chilean artists and also with the names of women who were victims of femicides.
“This day (March 8) is not a celebration but a commemoration, not of women in generic terms, but of working women,” explained Daniela Carvajo, one of the participants in the painted bodies’ initiative.
Carvajo is a history teacher and “activist of the Coordinating Committee for the strike,” and this is the first time she participates in this kind of project.
So far this teacher had not done it “out of shame or embarrassment, because sometimes one does not feel comfortable with one’s own body. But we are on the verge of the 8M feminist strike and this is the first time it has been organized in Chile,” Carvajo explained as her reason for participating in the body painting activity.
The 10 feminist demands of the strike were forged on Dec. 8-9 at a multinational meeting of women in Santiago when more than 1,300 people made this list that includes petitions such as an end to gender violence, decent work, the right to free, legal and safe abortion and a non-sexist educational model, among others.
Many of those who participated in this meeting lent their body on Monday to carry these demands or were painting the skin of their companions.
After hours of preparation, the 10 painted women marched, accompanied by supporters of the movement, through the streets near the Museum of Memory and Human Rights of Santiago, where the march ended with the reading of their claims.