Feminism is a sticky subject, perhaps due to man-hating in its ranks. In 2016 the Washington Post noted how feminist rhetoric crosses the line "a lot" from attacking sexism to attacking men. Male-bashing, then, became "a misogynist caricature" of the movement, the Post said.

What's the beef?

The caricature lives. According to a current report in The Guardian, Madrid's feminist mural was nearly destroyed when Vox, Spain's far-right political party in the Parliament, introduced a motion to remove the artwork. City councilors stepped in to save the work, but it's hard to see why that was necessary.

The mural, painted in 2018 on a local sports center wall, doesn't attack anyone.

Peaceful coexistence

What you see are likenesses of 15 women described by El Pais as those "who have overcome challenges, broken barriers and become reference points in defense of women and equality." Among the women are Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, and Billie Jean King. Notably absent from the mural is any sign of America's brand of feminist art like, say, the image of Ruth Bader Ginsburg pictured as Rosie the Riveter in the one-word poster "RESIST."

Words to the wise

Added to the faces of these high-achieving women are the words, "Your ability doesn't depend on your gender." Hardly a rallying cry. More like an encouraging word. So, what was Vox's objection about? The Guardian report notes the answer: the mural carries a "political message", seen as inappropriate for a sports facility.

As it turns out, though, it's Vox's objection that carries a political message.

Gender violence

El Pais unwittingly clues us into the Vox ethos by recounting how the group's representatives refused to observe a minute of silence in memory of a victim of gender violence during a meeting with the mayor. This far-right group has also sought to replace the term "gender violence" with "family violence" – you know so as not to cast abusers in a bad light.

And by the look of Madrid's murder stats, abuse can lead to death. A report in El Mundo, Spain's second-largest daily newspaper, shows that since 1999, more than 1,000 women were murdered in Spain by their partners or ex-partners – and most in the last ten years!

Evening the score

Despite such crimes against women, Madrid's mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida, dislikes the mural for its focus on women, preferring instead to see men added to the picture.

Why? "Because feminism is equality between men and women." By that reasoning, given the mayoral zeal for equality time in the paint, there shouldn't be any depictions of women without men.

Touting Thatcher

Madrid's deputy mayor, Begona Villacis, likewise contends that the mural of only women promotes what she called "exclusive feminism." The BBC shows her further questioning why only women from the political left are pictured in the mural. Where's the late UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, she asks. Clearly, overlooked in her thinking is the Vox credo that politics don't belong at a sports center.

Contributing to society

Jorge Nuño, who painted the mural, told The Guardian that there's nothing political about his work and that the women he pictured are in his mural "because of their social contribution to equality, and because each and every one of them fought for proper equality and a fairer society."

Ah, so that's why the far-right politicos want the mural gone.

Civil rights make them nervous.

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