Eva and I talk about feminism a lot, about creating, about moving forward making an impact. We are very different in a lot of things but we challenge and learn from each other. We disagree and live our feminism differently in some parts and very similarly in others. Our differences and how we still recognise each other as part of the same movement makes this limited collection very special for me. That was exactly what The Feminist Shop was always about.
I am no spiritual or mystical at all and I couldn't think of anyone better to give all the creative space to design what a feminist halloween would mean to her.
Who is Eva Träum? (the woman behind this collection?
I am a visual artist, focused on illustration and watercolour painting.
My background is in Marketing, and Graphic and Web design, but I have always been painting and drawing. So after having my children, I decided to yield to my true passion and spending more time doing art, to spread seeds of change. I'm becoming an agent of change. Through my art, I want to help to change the global culture in social and ecological subjects that matter, such as Feminism, sustainability or veganism.
What does this illustration mean for you? What did you want to show?
In the past, most societies were matriarchies. And the Goddess had a major role in the culture at that time. With the rise of patriarchal societies, women were pushed back and even, as it happened during the Inquisition, systematically eliminated to get their ancestral knowledge, their wealth and traditional ways of living, and birth control rights.
I want to spread the idea that witches were not old ugly women with warts, cats, flying in brooms. They were women like you or me. They were wise women, midwives, healers, or rebels standing up against injustices.
For this illustration, I did not want to reproduce traditional cliches. I wanted to show a normal woman, an expert on herbs, synchronised with her environment and who follows the moon cycles. Defiant to a society that wants to burn her. But she still stands up strong with pride, as she knows that the truth will perdure, that the future generations will know the truth of what happened, and eventually, recognise who “witches” really were. A lot of these women went through inquisition processes without bending or betray their own beliefs, showing magnificent strength.
How do you envision a Feminist Halloween?
Of course, without those sexist representations such as the sexy nurse. Witch fancy dresses are welcome, but I hope that with a conversation behind. Cliches are also fun, but I believe that we should know where they come from and how can we positively use them.
It would be nice to see Samhain tradition back, so we can be more connected with the Earth again. Samhain is a time to celebrate the midpoint between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. At this time of year, back in time, fires were left to burn inside the houses, while the harvest was gathered. After the harvest, communities joined a night around a fire to celebrate the end of this and the beginning of a darkest and coldest season. Also, during Samhain, it was believed that the barriers between the spiritual world and the world of the living, were weaker and interaction between the two worlds would be easier. During this night it is nice to start a bonfire, to sing and dance around it, tell stories about your ancestors, and celebrate life opposite to death.
And now our feminist questionnaire
What is Feminism for you?
For me, Feminism is a call to action. A battle cry. But don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe in violence, as this can be approached with a peaceful perspective, as a contrast to the violence patriarchy normally displays.
We need to acknowledge that the current capitalist patriarchal social structure wants us, women, silent and with our heads down. I this way we can be tools for the current neoliberal and colonialist era. We can be cheap wage workers and our reproductive rights, controlled and exploited.
Feminism is therefore the idea that unites us in sorority, in a peaceful fight where our main tools are education and information. Because you cannot stand up for what you don’t know.
Which “everyday sexism” really bothers you?
I am going to go for mansplaining, because that is an awful way for men to underestimate us and what is more, making us feel that we are not important, that we do not master a subject, that our voice is not important (for example in working environments). This is dangerous as it goes deep down to our self-esteem. An assertive approach is our way to face mansplaining so we can reclaim our spaces.
Do you remember when you start identifying as a Feminist and why?
I have always been engaged with the community and with social matters. I even joined a political party. However, nothing resonated 100% with me.
Then, my first pregnancy was a decisive point in my life and beliefs. Feminism was a major issue when I realised how this was a question so important in the education of my children, no matter if they are boys or girls.
With time, and after a lot of learning, I position myself closer to ecofeminism, as ecofeminism emphasizes how both nature and women are mistreated by a patriarchal society and it looks back to the relationship between people and the Earth, not ignoring the impact of colonialism that sometimes is overlooked.Who is your biggest feminist role model?
She was my first contact with ecofeminism, activism and modern witchcraft, when I was still a teenager. She opened my mind as showed me an alternative way to see the world that surrounded me.
What is your favourite Feminist quote?
We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn.
We are here to get our rights back, empowered, acknowledging our past, and being aware of how powerful we can be.
What is your proud feminist victory?
Once I painted myself naked. I was both my own muse, and the artist.
I did it to get back in love with my body after two babies. My body changed massively as it can be imagined and I could not recognise myself in it as it was so different, and had so many changes in only a few years.
So I decided to get some charcoals, a piece of cardboard. I took a photo of myself, naked, with a pose I was happy with, and I started tracing every inch of my body, keeping a mantra in my head reminding me that body changes and whilst drawing my body from love, the magic and the transformation happened.
I did it for myself and with no prejudices. In the beginning, I was afraid to show it to the world, but now the painting is hung in my house and I proudly speak about why I decided to paint it.
Now, it opens conversations when friends come to visit and this action gave me the opportunity to start a free workshop to help other women to accept and love their bodies as they are.
What is your feminist recommendation?
- Book: Caliban And The Witch: Women, The Body, and Primitive Accumulation. By Silvia Federici. It is a history of the body in the transition to capitalism, stressing the Inquisition era.
- tv show: Sabrina. A TV series where witches are not anymore the servants of the Devil, but they defy him and.. oh, spoiler! They win.
- Film: Coven of Sisters. Spanish film, starring Amaia Aberasturi. A film about witchcraft and the Inquisition processes in the north of Spain from a real perspective and full of historic facts.
What is your feminist call of action to whoever is reading?
Break the silence through creativity.
Write, draw, paint, sing.
Spread the world.
Virginia Méndez (She/Her)