Campus News

Activist and writer Soledad Vallejos visits Xavier

Soledad Vallejos discusses the #NiUnaMenos movement in light of #MeToo

By Mo Juenger and David Ludwig | Staff Writers

Photo courtesy of Twitter
Soledad Vallejos, activist and co-founder the #NiUnaMenos movement, presented “Social Media Activism & Gender Violence in South America.

Argentinian journalist and activist Soledad Vallejos visited Xavier’s campus last week to speak on the #NiUnaMenos movement and its connections to the #MeToo movement. 

The spotlight presentation, “Social Media Activism & Gender Violence in South America,” took place last Wednesday in the Conaton Board Room in celebration of 50 Years of Women at Xavier. The presentation was hosted by the Department of Classics and Modern Languages and the Department of Communications. It was moderated by Spanish professor Natalia Jacovkis. 

Vallejos is the editor of the Argentinian daily Página 12 (Page 12) and author of several books, including Trimarco, Olivos: Historia Secreta de la Quinta Presidencial, Vida de ricos and Amalita: La biografía.

Additionally, she is one of the founders and advocates of the #NiUnaMenos movement, translated to Not One (woman) Less. This grassroots feminist movement campaigns against gender-based violence and femicide. The movement gained national and international recognition in 2015 when the first major demonstration took place. Since then, the movement has grown, spreading to other countries in Latin America and regularly organizing large-scale protests.

During her presentation, Vallejos walked students through the history of the #NiUnaMenos movement in Argentina and described the similarities it shares with #MeToo.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Similar to #MeToo, #NiUnaMenos is a movement in Latin America that fights gender based violence through social media

As an activist for Argentinian feminism, Vallejos noted the importance of advocacy in Latin America to combat high rates of human trafficking and gender-based violence. She also expressed satisfaction with the growing level of male participation in the movement in Latin America.

First-year exercise science major Zyon Hall noted how the presentation brought light to the issue of women’s suffrage outside of the United States.

“It made me think about other cultures and women’s suffrage there,” Hall said. “It was eye-opening.”

First-year Philosophy, Politics and the Public and international business major Lauryn McAllister shared similar thoughts about Vallejos’ talk.

“It broadened my mind to see the struggles that affected women of other countries,” she said. “We don’t have to deal with the fear that we could be killed if we don’t become submissive to a man… It was a culture shock.”

Vallejos also spoke of the role social media has played in both movements and the awareness it has brought to each movement’s core issues. She said celebrity involvement was another way to raise awareness.

The event was complemented by classroom presentations throughout the week regarding inclusive language. Vallejos discussed the growing debate about non-binary pronouns in romance languages. Much of these talks were devoted to work that writers and linguists are contributing to as gender transparency becomes increasingly more prevalent in Latin America.

“I think that it’s important that languages adapt in order to accommodate how our society is changing,” senior biology major James Stebbins said. “She’s getting people talking about it, which is the first step toward making the change for good.”

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