The Gender Equality Network of South Tenerife municipalities has recently published a good practice guide for fiestas to prevent what many now see as outdated machismo. The guide is aimed particularly at those who are in receipt of funding and grants from local public councils, or in the process of making applications for them. Speaking to Clio O’Flynn earlier, communications officer for Adeje Ayuntamiento, which is a member of the Network, we both agreed that although all these will hopefully help further the steps Spain is clearly making towards gender equality, we particularly liked number 4, with its emphasis on avoiding the sexualiztion of children … and as mothers of daughters, we were perhaps thinking especially of girls.
Hopefully the advice to organizers will also help the public just to contextualise fiesta preparations and behaviours too. Little steps …
1. When organisers are scheduling events for the fiestas, remember that the public is made up of women, men and children, and some activities might not respect that fact.
2. Pay special attention to times of events, taking into account the age of participants and audiences – so children’s events might be better scheduled for early evening rather than late into the night.
3. Make sure that events are open to everyone, particularly contests, and move away from the more traditional ‘beauty contest’ rules, bringing more diversity into the mix, For instance ask yourself if a transsexual person can take part in any of these contests?
4. Avoid inappropriate public exposure of children and adolescents, or behaviour that is not suitable for their age (hyper sexualisation). For example, what clothes are you asking them to wear, what poses are you suggesting for photographs in the programmes, are they too adults? What is the message you are sending. What are the values you are promoting in your contests – or are you only looking at physical attributes?
5. Make sure that the content of the programme doesn’t discriminate against women, against people of different creeds or ethnic background, sexual diversity, etc. This would apply to songs, comedy content, monologues, etc.
6. Promote the fact that the festival should be free of any sexist aggression
7. Make sure that the ‘comisiones de fiestas’ – the volunteer group organising the local events – must be balanced (women/men)
8. Include activities that promote respect, equality, etc
9. In promoting the fiestas look carefully at the images and language being used in posters, flyers, on social media, etc
10. Do ask for the local council to assist in promoting this side of your fiesta