Posted in English

Neuter Kids on the Block

I mentioned a few weeks back that I had backed out of a seminar on suffragettes in Portugal. Well, the tutor, seminar leader, whatever, sent out an email with some course materials. I was interested in the opening lines (In the image up there, 👆) Can you spot it?

As you probably know, portuguese has two genders, masculine and feminine, and all nouns have one or the other, even though physical objects and abstract concepts have no biological sex, they are all sorted into two categories too. And if referring to a group of – say – two women and two men, or even a thousand women and one male cat, the fact that there’s a mix of genders means you use the masculine as default so it would be “eles” not “elas”. Obviously this seems a bit silly on its face. I’m not going to get on my soapbox here because it’s not my language, but it seems like it would be fairer if you went with the majority or something. Anyway, what you have in the screenshot is the use of “querides” with an – es ending instead of either – as or – os.

It’s easy to see why this makes sense from a feminist point of view since mixed groups shouldn’t default to the masculine ending. It’s not just a typo either. At the end she says “beijinhos para todes”, which I keep pronouncing as “toads” and imagining a princess/frog situation.

I’ve had someone explain to me that e can be used as an ending for people describing themselves as “non-binary”. I haven’t seen any examples of this in the wild. For example, if you read the Wikipedia entry for Sam Smith you’ll find it carefully written to avoid any pronouns or gender-specific endings that refer to him directly. Where they do exist they are made to refer to other nouns. For example in the first paragraph it says “Ă© uma personalidade britĂąnica” where the a on the end of britĂąnica refers to “personalidade” not to Smith himself. I think it would be kind of silly to squeeze gender-specific endings out of words referring to people, since a language that has gender for everything except people would be even sillier than a language that has gender for everything including people. IMHO one of the best things about English is that you don’t have the faff of remembering random genders for every single object and every single idea that has ever existed. If they don’t have a sex then they are all just “it”, and that’s beautifully simple.

O Feminino Ă© o Moderno

And one final thought on gender: I always find it odd that for example the idea of feminity itself is masculine. What do I mean? Well, there’s a book called “O Feminino e o Moderno” by Ana LuĂ­sa Vilela, FĂĄbio Maria da Silva and Maria LĂșcia Dal Farra. Why is The Feminine Masculine? Weird historical reasons, that’s why!

Equally surprising is the word “grĂĄvida” (pregnant) which, if you look it up, is defined as the feminine version of grĂĄvido, as if men could get pregnant and in fact pregnant men were the default. It’s all a bit Judith Butler if you ask me.

Posted in Portuguese

A Formação

Portuguese Version of yesterday’s post about bottling out of the lesson about Portuguese suffragettes. Notes at the bottom. Thanks to “Butt Roidholds” for the corrections!

Carolina Beatriz Ângelo, sufragista e feminista
Carolina Beatriz Ângelo, The first woman to vote in Portugal, in 1911

HĂĄ umas semanas, fiz parte dum curso lançado pela livraria Bertrand, apresentado por Marco Neves, um autor portuguĂȘs que escreveu livros tal como “Doze Segredos da LĂ­ngua Portuguesa”.
Gostei tanto, tanto! Fiz um resumo do curso no meu blog e inscrevi-me em mais um evento. Desta vez, escolhi um curso que faz parte duma série sobre feminismo e que fala sobre a história do movimento sufragista. Boa. Chegou a noite do curso. Abri o Zoom e vi a professora. Mas ela pediu aos* participantes para ligarem as cùmaras e os microfones.
Meu Deus, tinha pensado em ficar sĂł a ouvir mas se tivĂ©ssemos de falar, nĂŁo estava preparado para** ser o Ășnico homem e o Ășnico estrangeiro a discutir a minha opiniĂŁo das heroĂ­nas da democracia portuguesa.

Fechei o zoom e fui-me embora!

*=pedir a… para… if you’re asking someone to do something.

**=preparar needs para after it if saying “prepare(d) to”

Posted in English

Bottling Out

I joined in one of the Bertrand training courses I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It’s part of a series on feminism, looking at the subject of the portuguese suffragette movement. I thought I’d try and listen in on the lecture and learn something about history. However, the person running it asked people to put on their cameras and mics so they could participate and I thought well, I don’t really want to be the only foreigner and in all likelihood the only bloke if it’s going to be a round-table discussion, so I scarpered. Oh well, that’s fifteen euros down the drain!

Posted in Portuguese

Feminismo Negro em Portugal

Um gajo que sigo no Twitter mencionou uma historia do Jornal PĂșblico (“Feminismo negro em Portugal: falta contar-nos”) sobre o desenvolvimento de feminismo negro em Portugal. Como muitos paĂ­ses europeus, Portugal tem uma histĂłria de colonialismo e escravatura, e isso trouxe muitos novos habitantes que, mais tarde, tornaram-se cidadĂŁos e o artigo descreve as mudanças da população e destaca o papel de mulheres negras.

A histĂłria começa no sĂ©culo XVI, muito antes da palavra “feminismo” ser usada, mas era possĂ­vel encontrar negras a participar politicamente na sociedade portuguesa. No inicio do sĂ©culo XVIII foi apresentado por mulheres uma petição de reclamação contra as perseguiçÔes quotidianas da comunidade negra.

Mais tarde, no fim do sĂ©culo XIX, tendo a escravatura sido jĂĄ abolida, vĂȘ-se uma nova oportunidade de participação. Claro que isso nĂŁo continuou durante o novo estado, enquanto todas as forcas liberais foram subjugadas pelo governo Salazarista.

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A mulher mais interessante do meu ponto de vista, foi a Virgínia Quaresma, que nasceu em 1882, e viveu uma vida cheia de acção politica até a sua morte com 90 anos. Ela foi uma das primeiras mulheres a licenciar no Curso Superior de Letras na Escola Normal de Lisboa. Tornou-se jornalista (a primeira no país) e redactora duma revista feminista. Foi um membro activo de vårias ligas feministas, pacifistas e republicanas durante os anos antes da primeira guerra mundial, e viveu abertamente como lésbica apesar do clima moral daquela época. Foi seleccionada pelo serviço diplomåtico, e viajou para o Brasil muitas vezes com a namorada dela onde arranjou eventos culturais para cultivar ligaçÔes entre os dois países.


Quero agradecer Alisson pela ajuda.

By the way, can we talk about that outfit VQ is wearing? Dapper AF!