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, ūüĎÜ) 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 “√© uma personalidade brit√Ęnica” where the a on the end of brit√Ęnica 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 é 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 Lu√≠sa Vilela, F√°bio Maria da Silva and Maria L√ļcia Dal Farra. Why is The Feminine Masculine? Weird historical reasons, that’s why!

Equally surprising is the word “gr√°vida” (pregnant) which, if you look it up, is defined as the feminine version of gr√°vido, 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 √āngelo, sufragista e feminista
Carolina Beatriz √āngelo, The first woman to vote in Portugal, in 1911

H√° umas semanas, fiz parte dum curso lan√ßado pela livraria Bertrand, apresentado por Marco Neves, um autor portugu√™s que escreveu livros tal como “Doze Segredos da L√≠ngua 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 s√©rie sobre feminismo e que fala sobre a hist√≥ria do movimento sufragista. Boa. Chegou a noite do curso. Abri o Zoom e vi a professora. Mas ela pediu aos* participantes para ligarem as c√Ęmaras e os microfones.
Meu Deus, tinha pensado em ficar s√≥ a ouvir mas se tiv√©ssemos de falar, n√£o estava preparado para** ser o √ļnico homem e o √ļnico estrangeiro a discutir a minha opini√£o das hero√≠nas 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 P√ļblico (“Feminismo negro em Portugal: falta contar-nos”) sobre o desenvolvimento de feminismo negro em Portugal.¬†Como muitos pa√≠ses europeus, Portugal tem uma hist√≥ria de colonialismo e escravatura, e isso trouxe muitos novos habitantes que, mais tarde, tornaram-se cidad√£os e o artigo descreve as mudan√ßas da popula√ß√£o e destaca o papel de mulheres negras.

A hist√≥ria come√ßa no s√©culo XVI, muito antes da palavra “feminismo” ser usada, mas era poss√≠vel encontrar negras a participar politicamente na sociedade portuguesa. No inicio do s√©culo XVIII foi apresentado por mulheres uma peti√ß√£o de reclama√ß√£o contra as persegui√ß√Ķes quotidianas da comunidade negra.

Mais tarde, no fim do século XIX, tendo a escravatura sido já abolida, vê-se uma nova oportunidade de participação. Claro que isso não 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 Virg√≠nia Quaresma, que nasceu em 1882, e viveu uma vida cheia de ac√ß√£o politica at√© 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 pa√≠s) e redactora duma revista feminista. Foi um membro activo de v√°rias ligas feministas, pacifistas e republicanas durante os anos antes da primeira guerra mundial, e viveu abertamente como l√©sbica apesar do clima moral daquela √©poca. Foi seleccionada pelo servi√ßo diplom√°tico, e viajou para o Brasil muitas vezes com a namorada dela onde arranjou eventos culturais para cultivar liga√ß√Ķes entre os dois pa√≠ses.


Quero agradecer Alisson pela ajuda.

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