The Elina Guimarães Documentation Centre and Feminist Archive belongs to UMAR – Women’s Union, Alternative and Answer – because of its historical responsibility , being an association with 30 years of activities, always concerned in preserving the historical memory of feminisms in Portugal.1
This association establish protocols with other units, such as those who, at a University level, have developed degrees or studies in this field and the Commission for Equality of Gender.
The responsibility in the development of the project falls on a technical team from the group of volunteers working at the centre of documentation in liaison with the direction of UMAR.
ELINA GUIMARÃES DOCUMENTATION CENTRE AND FEMINIST ARCHIVE
(Reason for this name)
Because the language makes the difference from the primate to the human, and it’s the foundation in societies, in cultures and in the identities; because it’s words that make things exist, we would like to explain the meaning and intention behind the words that we chose to name this documentation and archive centre.
The name Elina Guimarães appears to pay homage a Portuguese woman of great culture, who always saw herself as a feminist, even during hard situations.
The use of the word Feminist appears with a double sense, referring to the woman hereby honoured and to the general theme of the documentation gathered.
It is therefore easy for a person who has never heard of Elina Guimarães, to learn about the subject of this documentation centre.
The word “feminist” appearing on the name and in its context , can also give the chance to explain and spread the true meaning of the word, contributing for the disappearance of the negative sense associated with it, deconstructing false ideas that are still haunting our society
Although “Feminism” means,” in its deepest sense the political challenge to the hierarchic masculine authority , it’s not a doctrine or theory that denies the inter-human and intra-human relationships between genders” (Braidotti,1994)2 ; it is rather the attempt to abolish the universal idea built from the masculine way of being, thinking and doing. The man cannot continue to consider himself as the sole, universal model, and to treat women as the remains, the sub-product of the Universe.
The Feminism, or rather Feminisms, that nowadays study the feminist theories , deny the universal schemes, the unchanged values, the closed structures, imposed by the occidental culture dominated by the masculine culture , based on the idea of gender or sexual-social difference between women and men. It doesn’t want, either, to impose a feminist sexual-social preponderance, nor a gender exchange in power; it is not the “macho attitude upside down”; what the feminism proposes is “the balance between men and women, socially, politically and economically, on behalf of both, considering their differences”(Offen, 1992).
Sharing the decisions about the destiny of Humanity is a right that women have not yet achieved. Can we speak about a balanced and fair society, when gender, social status, ethnical background, country or region are conditions for making obstacles to personal fulfilment of women all around the world?
Furthermore, Feminism, that in the present is considered plural, because it defends for women the right to decide on their own lives by participating in every cultural, social, religious, political and economic areas , doesn’t want to build a unique definition of woman. The reality of women is multiple, it contains all the differences, ambiguities and musts without that corresponding to an inferiority or default, like a biological determinism, as the dominant culture has been making us believe through the ages.
We can therefore say that feminism condemns all forms of subjugation and dominion that men do against women; expresses a theory that endangers constantly the sexual and gender ideology lying under all symbolic and material systems that explore the creative, productive and reproductive force all around the world; and announces a very old hope- women from all times have rebelled against the injustice of being subordinate and have paid with their lives that boldness – and that hope results from the wish to occupy their legitimate place socially, religiously politically and economically.