GLOBAL NEWS | spring 2005
|Photo / Lucero Gonzalez
Feminist journal turns 15
This year, Debate Feminista, the Mexican journal committed to “the theory and practice of feminism” (www.debatefeminista.com), celebrates its 15th birthday.
Edited by Marta Lamas since 1990, the twice-a-year publication receives no institutional support; Lamas has bankrolled it with her own funds.
Lamas and the other founders have succeeded in creating a periodical that connects academic feminist scholarship with the activist women’s movement. One goal of Debate has been to create venues where feminist theories can be aired and political practice analyzed. Another has been to offer translations of work by international feminists, which have earned Debate a key role in women’s studies throughout Latin America.
Each “themed” issue — “love and democracy,” “the right and rights” — includes cultural criticism, fiction, photography, feminist theory and queer studies.
Although it doesn’t aim at a wide audience, its pages do reflect activists’ concerns, and Lamas insists it remains “a tool for struggle and a space for reflection.”
Mexican feminism, she feels, has difficulties with intellectual debate, because constant activism leaves little space for such reflection; there’s almost no discussion in print, no reports or personal accounts. The journal’s main success has been in offering the kind of writing that helps generate serious thought.
“Since we began,” explains Lamas, “we’ve tried to represent two main movement currents: a ‘cultural feminism,’ giving priority to the transformation of daily life, and a ‘political feminism,’ connected to realpolitik. Since in Mexico geopolitical considerations are significant, much of the translated texts and research comes from the United States and Great Britain. … The work of Chicanas has been interesting and useful.”
Debate Feminista has changed surprisingly little over the years, she adds, “because our issues remain the same: reproductive rights, racism, homophobia… Only through public debate can we change stereotypes and introduce a new paradigm allowing us to rethink life and widen the margins of power. It’s necessary to debate within the movement as a step to sparking public debate. We believe strongly that ‘the personal is political’ is still true.”