It’s estimated that a femicide occurs every 30 hours on average in this country, a staggering figure that reflects a deep issue in Argentine society. Fortunately, many women have refused to stand still and have become a massive force with which to be reckoned. This, after all, is the birthplace of #NiUnaMenos, that famous collective and social movement that was born, in its own words, “from being fed up with male violence against women, one that has its cruelest manifestation in femicides.”
Activism has taken on many shapes and forms, from the green pañuelo you may have noticed tied to purses and backpacks to all sorts of artistic and cultural expressions. Smack dab in the middle of this is Marina, a girl who’s been rapidly finding a following thanks to Querida Guachita, an Instagram account that has seamlessly blended feminism, humor, and social commentary and might just be one of the most honest takes on feminism in this country so far.
A lot of what you can see in Querida Guachita comes from Marina’s background, first as a visual arts student and now as one of psychology. She started the project in April, after a guy broke up with her. “That’s when I started doodling my little drawings,” she recalls. “I’m not sure if it’s humor but it does allow me to unload what I’m feeling and I saw that it started to click with some people.”
The look and feel of the feed, those hand-drawn images and signs that have grown to characterize it, originated almost accidentally. “I wanted to use the Wacom tablet to do stuff in Photoshop but I never got a handle on it and it was coming out all wrong, so I just sent everything to hell and started doing it by hand. And since I’m kind of lazy so I didn’t put too much effort into it and just doodled on any old notebook and those written signs became my trademark.”
Soon after she began Querida Guachita, Marina realized that she was digging into some sort of collective anxiety that was brewing among her followers which, according to her, are 95 percent women. “The first post that I felt had a lot of impact and made me realize the size of this project was one that said something like ‘if you’ve faked an orgasm, why did you care more about a guy’s ego than your own pleasure?’ That one went viral and that was a bit of a shock, because it isn’t a subject that is talked about too much. But then that starts a conversation and you realize that we shouldn’t normalize those behaviors.”
This kind of brutal, straightforward honesty struck a nerve with a lot of young women and girls, driven by what she began to perceive as a simple principle: “I’m not ashamed about showing my miseries because I realized that miserable things happen to all of us.” Among her most active followers, Marina found a surprising group of teenagers, anxious to be heard: “A lot of 15-year-old girls write to me. I always try to counsel them from my own experience. If they tell me they’re in an abusive relationship I tell them to get out of it, if they need some specialized counseling I have the phone numbers of people that can help. Most of the times all they need is for someone to listen to them, to be honest. “
For Marina, a lot of these issues that are thrown her way have to do with the aforementioned machista culture in Argentina. “This is a very machista country and even though younger girls are now more knowledgeable about the feminist discourse, my generation wasn’t like that. My generation and the ones before that got the worst part of it, and I try to tell these younger girls what I would have liked to be told when I was their age.”
Sex, as you might have noticed by now, is a big part of Querida Guachita. She has a no-nonsense approach to talking about it and her followers seem to find that honesty refreshing. “I wish to empower people, that they feel they don’t owe anything to anybody and that sexuality is a very personal thing, that belongs to them and only them. I hope people can talk about sexuality from a political angle, that they can talk about pleasure freely, that they can speak out if somebody is violent towards them or if they just feel bad.”
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PENSAR A VECES DUELE. CUANDO HICE ESTE DIBUJO LO HICE PENSANDO EN UN RANCIO CON EL QUE SALIA, PERO A MEDIDA QUE LO IBA HACIENDO ME ACORDÉ DE FAMILIARES, EN AMIGXS QUE NO ESTAN, GENTE EN GENERAL Y HASTA EN BOLSONARO. EN FIN. MUCHA GENTE EN LA QUE NO QUIERO PENSAR. LAS IDEAS SON COMO CUCUTCHILLOS Y LAS PERSONAS TAMBIEN. COMO CUIDARSE? NO SE. MISTERIO. A VECES QUIERO PONER MI CABEZA EN MODO AVION Y PUNTO.
The level of trust between Marina and her followers is such that, for example, she holds a weekly space in her Stories in which she receives nudes from her followers and draws corsets on top of them (you can find those in her favorite stories, under the Spanish name for corsets/bras: Corpiños).
Her account has evolved a lot since April, and she has understood how to make the most of Instagram Stories, venturing into even showing her own face on camera and expressing her opinions on all sorts of subjects, from her outrage that time a pro life journalist disguised himself as a doctor to stop an abortion to the recent wave of sexual harassment claims against bands like Onda Vaga. She has made it a point to use her account as a platform for criticizing the machista culture she stands against. She even has a Manifesto against hijos de Tinchos (sons of ‘Tinchos’), Tincho being a popular nickname and stereotype among feminists for men that abuse women and ignore women’s rights.
Querida Guachita, however, hasn’t been without its share of detractors. This is actually Marina’s second account, after her first one, called Querida Guacha, was suspended after receiving various complaints, presumably by men. “The previous one was closed because of a drawing I did in which I joked about posh rugby players from Zona Norteso I had to do this new one, but I lost a bunch of drawings and stuff.” As a result of these constant threats, she made her account private for a while and has the following message in her bio: “THIS IS MY OTHER IG IN CASE THEY SHUT DOWN THIS ONE: @queridaguachaok. FOLLOW ME BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.”
So what’s next for Marina? Her success has lead her to consider exhibitions of her work as well as doing a book and a YouTube channel of her own. But her main priority right now is to graduate. I couldn’t help but ask her if she had considered making Querida Guachita her psychology thesis, after all, she pretty much dishes out therapy sessions through it already. She laughed and said: “I was actually thinking about it the other day since I’m usually consulted about the same issues. Thanks to the account I’ve discovered that human suffering is pretty universal, we all suffer more or less about the same things, only in different degrees.”
For more on Querida Guachita, visit her Instagram account.