Why The Campaign Against Brazil's First Female President Is An Attack Against All Women

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff gets the presidential sash adjusted by her daughter Paula  after being sworn in for a secon
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff gets the presidential sash adjusted by her daughter Paula after being sworn in for a second four-year term in Brasilia January 1, 2015. Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff began her second term Thursday vowing to rein in government spending to curb inflation and pull Latin America's largest economy out of a four-year slump. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino (BRAZIL - Tags: POLITICS)

"Democracy, a feminine noun, is subject to femicide because she dared to wear skirts for the first time." -- Maria Gabriela Saldanha.

Now a feeling of death hangs over Brazilian women.

It is an overwhelming feeling of impotence, of silencing, of regression. I do not speak in terms of politics or the economy. A larger group of actors and circumstances is responsible for these deadened feelings of impotence and censorship.

I speak of representation.

I speak of a woman who entered a snake pit, a very sexist, dirty and vulgar universe, and she still managed to play the game to the end; a game imposed by white men for white men.

She, contrary to everything that some people expect of a woman, did not cry, did not lose her temper, did not throw a fit. She worked firmly and seriously. She did not act "like a little girl."

And that is scary. We the saw the arguments and attacks waged against her grow ever more offensive.

With a history of political persecution and torture, she not only survived, but became the leader of those who once tortured her. At the time, Dilma was beaten so brutally that she has dental problems to this day. Her torture sessions had to be suspended because she experienced a hemorrhaging of her uterus. Her alleged torturer, a man accused of forcing rats into women's vaginas, was publicly celebrated on live national television during the Lower House's impeachment vote. In spite of all this, she remained calm and kept an upright posture during the circus that took place on April 17, 2016.

In the face of this despairing situation, the only thing that comes to mind as a sign of hope is that the revolution will be feminist or it won't happen at all.

She played this game so well that all people could say about Dilma was that she rode a bicycle in her spare time. Her clothes, her gestures and even her diction were flawless. In fact, she lost weight. Who, in her place, wouldn't lose weight? Pictures of her in awkward positions, which would be so for any human being, were always on display in media. So were disrespectful photo montages involving her face.

There was no man by her side. She endured these continued assaults on her own, thanks to her image, which remained strong enough.

The prevailing feeling is that Temer's Cabinet will continue this ugly game played by these dirty white men, so experienced in the art of war; a war that was created by them. This time, after a gap of 37 years, the Cabinet is again composed only of men in a country where 51 percent of the population is women. The Ministry of Women will cease to exist, according to Temer, who shows his beautiful wife by his side, just like women should behave, apparently: Silent and occupying a secondary position in an official presidential picture. A "housewife" who is not involved in politics and never in public affairs.

It is easy for critics to say that feminism or other minority movements steal the spotlight from Brazil's main political agenda. It is curious to think that the country's actual minority consists of men: 49 percent of the population; and white people, approximately 45 percent of Brazilians declare themselves Caucasian. These people oppressed white, black and native women for centuries in order to obtain everything in their interest. Feminism steals the spotlight from Brazil's structural agenda only if you have been involved in such matters for the last 500 years. Otherwise, feminism demands only what is due to us: representation. With 51.6 percent of the votes, the issue of representation seems, in fact, inverted. The white, misogynistic minority despairs at the prospect of losing its power.

We don't see suits, ties or white hair. We see a mother and a daughter who don't need a masculine figure to be where they are.

No, I will not say "Good-bye, honey," which is the most disgusting expression of recent times. And don't come with explanations either. I know that I am not the only one to sense the irony of this affection, the unauthorized intimacy of this expression, the delegitimization of the public figure of a woman by using an intimate and personal adjective.

dilma daughter sexism

I leave you with the image of Dilma and her daughter because it shocks and disturbs expectations. It is simply a picture of Dilma's daughter Paula Rousseff and her mother during her presidential inauguration ceremony.

We don't see suits, ties or white hair. Instead, we just see a mother and a daughter who don't need a masculine figure to be where they are. With this image and facing such a despairing situation, the only thing that comes to mind as a sign of hope is that the revolution will be feminist or it won't happen at all.

This post first appeared on HuffPost Brazil. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.