A few days ago, Maduro was having a down in the dumps day, he needed a quick pick me up, something empowering, something to assert his manhood. So, he did what any self respecting male would do, he made a rape joke, gorillas included.
Yes, a rape joke on Cadena Nacional.
In our little machista piece of heaven, the Government has frequently and recurrently used homophobic slurs in trying to define its opponents. The Man, not gay, definitely not gay.
This isn’t just a throwback to an earlier era, it’s a throwback to antiquity. Literally. Ancient Rome was obsessed with the aggressive, virile male. In roman politics and law, opponents were accused of being soft and effeminate as an insult (sounds familiar, huh?) The ideal of the perfect politician was the Impenetrable Penetrator, the manliest of men.
The penetrator was the powerful, the penetrated the weak. Women had little to no say in this societies; they couldn’t penetrate anybody (although, Sappho would disagree). One of the worst things to do in Roman society, was to service a woman by cunnilingus – this was much worse than fellating another man. It put you at the bottom of the food chain.
So sexual aggression, more specifically, rape was used as a threat and a tool (interestingly, studies show that the most commonly cited motives for rape are power, anger and sex). The poet Catullus threatened with rape two friends who called his verses soft. The God Priapus acted as a scarecrow protecting crops, his statue with an erect penis threatened intruders with rape. Even the penis was sometimes called the weapon.
But you know, that was over 2000 years ago. Right? Homophobic insults couldn’t still be used recurrently in our political environment? Right?
Here is Maduro as Canciller in 2012 exuding testosterone , here we can see AN legislator (and Vuitton lover) Pedro Carreño not only calling Capriles “Maricón” but even stating that members of Primera Justica are eunuchs (doesn’t he look strapping emasculation his opponents), Iris Varela also showed a dutiful amount of “balls” calling Capriles a drug addict and (once again) Marico.
Ok, but at the very least, rape as a threat is not being used. Right?
I laugh at your naiveness. Mérida, Margarita1, Margarita2, Caracas 1, Caracas 2. Mind you, this is just a few things of the ongoing protests. The fact is, that rape is use as a threat and as a punishment by Security Officers very frequently (but that pertains another post).
All this talk of the the “All inclusive socialism” and we cannot move past doing politics like it’s 54 B.C. Now, this seems to be a purely Chavista phenomenon at leader level (I have not seen or heard Opposition leaders use type of insults). But, the civil society that identifies with the opposition is still very much in love with the testes, the power and the patriarchy.
I mean, really, a woman parading around with a sign that denigrates her own sexual organs. She is stating that , Maria Corina is capable of handling power because she’s got balls, she has a masculine trait, but Capriles is soft, effeminate and therefore has been dealt with the pussy, he is incapable of penetrating, therefore, no power to him.
Or how about the protestors in Altamira chanting that the National Guard wears panties. Or this photo, that is just… words elude me.
For Tamara Adrián, a lawyer, member of Partido Voluntad Popular, LGBT rights activist and transexual, the Goverment is extremely homophobic. But, the problem isn’t only the goverment, Venezuela is deeply homophobic because it is deeply machista. In order to work on the recognition of sexual diversity and walk towards gender equality we need to strip the phallus of power, so, something like, political impotence?Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.