What definition would you attribute to your “home”? To answer this question, it is necessary to appeal to the difference between denotation and connotation, where the first refers to a definition that tends to exhaust a concept since its extension’s point of view, while connotation designates one of the concept’s attribute considered since its comprehension’s point of view, remitting at the concept in its totality (Greimas, 1965).

In line with the text, the word “home”, can be defined as:

Denotation: Covered construction destined to be inhabited

Connotation: Private or family life

A home is more than a “covered construction destined to be inhabited”, since according to its connotative meaning, it is “private”. This is important because when defining it thus, much of what happens in this “private” space, will be private too. The documentary “She is beautiful when she is angry” (Dore, M. 2014) highlights one of the main reasons that encouraged women from the 60s feminist movement to go out and protest, realize that violence against women, more than a private problem, is a social problem. According to the World Health Organization (2017) “around one in three women in the world (35%) has suffered physical and / or sexual violence from a partner or sexual violence by third parties at some point in her life”.

“Organizing space always means creating separations, separations that also constitute foundations, principles” (Collin, F. 1994)

If this conception of space is considered under the theory of tension semiotics of Claude Zilberberg (1994) -where the categorization refers to the governing intensity of the tension space and thus allows variations in the extensity, that is, there is a correlation between the state of things and their field of presences, the two variables being intensity and extent – it can be concluded that the more separations created, the greater the degree of privacy, for example, being within the separation of the four walls of a house implies a greater degree of privacy than being outdoors on the boardwalk and it is even increased if you talk about a room in a house or a bathroom within a room. Another example could be the grouping of a shopping center, inside this a restaurant and inside, a women’s bathroom. The more extensive the groups, the more privacy, the more intensity.

It is important to clarify that I am talking about privacy refering to the family as a whole, in front of society and not to the privacy of each member of the family, since it is true, as Francoise Collin (1994) mentions, that the domestic space is not totally private and responds, in effect, to power relations, as in Ancient Greece, where the “private” life, that is, the sexual life of the Greeks, who was homosexual and pedophile, was located outside the oikos, the home , of domestic life.

Likewise, Collin (1994) criticizes the correlation between the spatial element and the difference between the sexes, which determines that the private space, according to traditional ideology, belongs to women, “women in the house”, and men to the street or the public.

If we look at the image of an ancient Greek city (…) women traditionally belong to the house, surrounded by walls (…). If they go out, they remain somehow enclosed between walls, it because of their dress, veil, or behavior, lowering their eyes. As for the men, they are in the streets, the bars, in the public square, fixing their gaze on anyone or anything, devouring those who pass by with their eyes. They meet outside, live outside, occupy the street.

Despite the different context and growth of the feminine empowerment movement, the male chauvinism ideology prevails and has become visible to such an extent that the image of the ancient Greek city and that of a woman living in 2020 are similar, since the woman is again trapped “inside the house”, where “the private” occurs. I take the words of Anne Firth Murray, from her book From Outrage to Courage (2008) where she clearly mentions that “this reality may not be true for many of you, but for the majority of women who live in poorer countries around the world is ”. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused  dangerous and precarious conditions in which women lived to be exacerbated, despite having created difficulties for all sectors of society, they are women who already lived in situations of vulnerability and exclusion, who have been most affected. (Quintero, B., Cotes, M., and Solís, N., 2020)

Despite the different context and growth of the feminine empowerment movement, the macho ideology prevails and has become visible to such an extent that the image of the ancient Greek city and that of a woman living in 2020 are similar, since the woman is again trapped “inside the house”, where “the private” occurs. I take the words of Anne Firth Murray, from her book From Outrage to Courage (2008) where she clearly mentions that “this reality may not be true for many of you, but for the majority of women who live in poorer countries around the world is ”. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the dangerous and precarious conditions in which women lived to be exacerbated, despite having created difficulties for all sectors of society, they are women who already lived in situations of vulnerability and exclusion, who have been most affected. (Quintero, B., Cotes, M., and Solís, N., 2020)

Monetary poverty in female-headed households increased four percent points during the pandemic. In addition, the loss of formal and informal jobs is occurring in feminized sectors: hotels, restaurants, beauty salons, cleaning, paid domestic work and care services, nurseries, schools and retail trade. (…) For the quarter from July to September 2020, the unemployment rate for women was 22.8 percent and for men 13.9 percent, and unemployment among young women was 36.2 percent. Women make up 61.3 percent of those who were unemployed and 71.4 percent of those who were inactive. (Quintero, B., Cotes, M., and Solís, N., 2020)

Likewise, unpaid domestic and care work increased, that is, those who are in charge of household chores and caring for their children, since they are not attending school in person, are women:

Women spend around 7.1 hours a day on unpaid work, while men spend 3.2 hours. 77.1 percent of unpaid work time is dedicated to children under the age of five, 17.1 percent to children between five (…) and fourteen years old, and 3.6 percent to people between fifteen and 64 year old. (…) During the pandemic, women have become more responsible for household chores such as feeding, disinfecting the market and caring for children, among other new tasks that have been a result of the pandemic. (Quintero, B., Cotes, M., and Solís, N., 2020)

In addition to these catastrophic figures, in April 2020, 90 countries were in a situation of confinement, 4 billion people were sheltering at home from the global contagion of COVID-19, however, is it a protection or exposure measure to mortal danger?

These conditions of economic vulnerability, added to the tension and stress generated by concerns related to safety, health and money, have increased the levels of domestic violence in all parts of the world, being even worse than less than 40% of the women who suffer violence seek help of some kind or report the crime and less than 10% of these women who seek help turn to the police. (Mlambo-Ngcuka, P., 2020)

Why is it not reported? The main conclusion of the study on the inhibition to report of victims of gender violence, prepared by Susana Camarero, the Secretary of State for Equality and Social Services (2015) concludes that the reason that leads a woman to endure abuse year after year and not going to the police or court, is especially related to social and economic vulnerability.

With regard to the economic aspect, we can take measures from the citizenry, if we are part of the business community, offering job opportunities to women in vulnerable conditions, training them by teaching them skills that are useful for economic independence, promoting fair trade or through initiatives of shared value focused on community development.

In relation to the social, physical spaces, specifically our homes, have attributed “the private” to aspects that do not, in effect, belong to the public sphere, as in the case of domestic violence.

The individual (the sociological I) models society, and society in turn re-models the individual, and in an analogous way, the I perceive reality as a result of the differences established in daily practice, and this practice will adapt how we behave in the city ”. (Elias, 1990)

In this case, the individual models the spaces and the spaces in turn re-model the individual, sometimes without being aware of it and causing negative repercussions. The way to contribute is simpler and only one thing is needed: your voice, to give society the following message:

“Not everything that happens in my house is private,

violence against women is not a private problem,

It is a social problem. “

 

Summary: 

What definition would you attribute to your “home”? It can be defined as “covered construction destined to be inhabited” (denotation) but also “private or family life” (connotation). 

 

This is important because when defining it thus, much of what happens in this “private” space, will be private too. The documentary “She is beautiful when she is angry” (Dore, M. 2014) highlights one of the main reasons that encouraged women from the 60s feminist movement to go out and protest, realize that violence against women, more than a private problem, is a social problem. According to WHO (2017) around one in three women in the world (35%) has suffered physical and / or sexual violence from a partner or sexual violence by third parties at some point in her life.

 

Organizing space always means creating separations, separations that also constitute foundations, principles (Collin, F. 1994). If this conception of space is considered under the theory of tension semiotics of Claude Zilberberg (1994) -where the categorization refers to the governing intensity of the tension space and thus allows variations in the extensity- it can be concluded that the more separations created, the greater the degree of privacy. 

 

The individual models the spaces and the spaces in turn re-model the individual, sometimes without being aware of it and causing negative repercussions. The way to contribute is simpler and only one thing is needed: your voice, to give society the following message: “Not everything that happens in my house is private, violence against women is not a private problem, It is a social problem. “