I was going to write something else.
Yesterday marked 6 months of La La Lista, and I had already started writing about the unwitting folly of opening an entirely independent (read: unfunded) arts and culture magazine in the middle of an economic crisis, a crisis that became a whole lot worse just two months later. About the struggles of being a new magazine editor, tasked with assigning and arbitrating deadlines for writers who often leave me feeling unworthy in the wake of their talent. About our future goals for La La Lista, which after a half year of existence has reviewed 25 restaurants, interviewed 24 artists, musicians, chefs and creators; and has covered hundreds of live music and culinary events.
But then yesterday, I received a message from one of our writers, the type of message that we are all used to by now, that perhaps I should have seen coming. One of those 24 artists, musicians, chefs, and creators had been publicly named as a sexual abuser by his female cousin, who was 19 years old at the time of the incident (he was 30).
He is (was?) the director and founder of Club Cultural Matienzo, an extremely prominent cultural center, which we have promoted countless times in our live music agenda, included in our list of best venues, and celebrated in an extensive feature timed for its 10th birthday. For that feature, we interviewed this man at length. At the time we were excited by his eagerness to share, the enthusiasm with which he discussed the promotion of culture and community, the necessity to fight for it against the various bureaucratic and economic obstacles one faces in Buenos Aires today.
How disheartening it is, to feel betrayed by someone who claims to espouse many of the ideals we hold so dear. How normal it has become. Right after reading the victim’s vulnerable and heartbreaking account, I felt the usual waves of fury and disgust. Thirty minutes later I felt almost nothing at all. There is only so much shock and horror any person can sustain for so long. In the past two weeks alone we have been inundated with it – the revolting verdict of the Lucia Perez case, the retold trauma of Thelma Fardin (and the week of public gaslighting that ensued and is still ongoing), the infinitely punchable face of Rodrigo Eguillor as he personified misogyny via his Instagram stories.
And yet, I am not disheartened. Because I’ve seen women in Argentina rise up in a wave of green, flooding the streets, flooding our newsfeeds, making themselves seen and heard over and over again. I’ve heard the language change from the passivity of simply surviving (#niunamenos) to being vocally on the offensive #nonoscallamosmas #almachoescracho #miracomonosponemos. I’ve felt the energy in offices, venues, and parties shift as my male friends and colleagues turned to women, turned to each other, and then turned inwards.
I started La La Lista as an experiment of sorts. I wanted to create a space in which male and female artists and creators were given equal time and attention, a love letter to Buenos Aires that was corrected for our internalized bow towards a patriarchal past. A past where far too many women weren’t given their due – their art dismissed, their music unheard, their truths denied and disregarded. We have a long way to go. Even now, I regularly gut-check myself every few articles: are we covering enough women? Are we supporting the right organizations? Are we amplifying the right voices?
But I promise we’re trying to get it right.
We see you. We are listening.