I first came across Lucía Canjura’s work over a year ago when her article for the online magazine Nomada, popped up into my Facebook feed: Cinco razones por las que las feministas tenemos mejor sexo (5 reasons why feminists have better sex). As a sucker for listicles, I clicked the link and subsequently discovered the confident, intelligent and unapologetic feminist voice that Lucía was putting out into the world. If you’ve read Lucía’s work, you know that she does not shy away from controversial topics and seems to actually seek them out. Lucky for us, we LOVE EVERYTHING she has to say and are here to listen! We got the chance to catch up with Lucía recently and talk about her life in Guatemala, being a writer and activist fighting the good fight for gender equality.
1. Full name/hometown?
My name is Lucía, my parents went minimal and gave me just the one, but it means light in Latin, and I love it because, even though it took me some time to feel identified with it, I really do feel light in me, and I love minimalism, so I think it’s perfect. 2. Astrological Sign?
I am the worst Capricorn ever. My lunar sign is Aries tho, so you can imagine that I have a strong personality haha.
3. Describe your style in 3 words.
Minimal Witch Chic.
4. Did you grow up in Guatemala? Have you lived here all of your life?
I was born and raised in Guatemala and although I’ve been lucky to travel around a bit, and live abroad, I still feel like the nomad in me is getting a little bit restless. I have my eyes set on México City for work next, but first I wanna do the whole South Asia trip thing.
5. What was living abroad like? How do you think that experience shape your view of the world?
I first traveled to Germany by myself when I was eleven, and I was never afraid to go alone. I was excited to have some freedom and I was really impressed how all the kids there took themselves to school, and walked around the streets without fear of being victims of crimes or violence. Guatemala is one of the most violent countries in the world, specially for women and girls, so you can’t imagine how free and empowered I felt to be able to handle my own money, and route and time, even though I didn’t really speak German ha. I realized how much I was living in a tiny bubble, and how big and different the world was. I wanted more. 6. Is being a writer something you always knew you wanted to do for a living?
I didn’t think that I could do it for a living. When I was in sixth grade, I got to write for the school newspaper, even though you could only write if you were a seventh grader or higher. And I remember my mom encouraged me a lot to pursue that passion.
Later on, I got involved in a youth magazine, published in a local newspaper called Switch. I was part of the first generation and published articles on depression, drugs, relationships. I liked to talk about the hard topics.
7. How did you take your passion for writing and launch a career out of it?
It was really a fortuitous event, I had been working for a Digital Agency, learning about Social Media and Digital Communications, and got called for an interview at the coolest digital media in town; Nómada. What got me that interview was this really creative email I sent the director, he was obviously swarmed with emails from people trying to get in touch with him, but I sent him a short story I had wrote, and he said he HAD to call me afterwards. I was so excited when I got hired to become their Community Developer, and they gave me a column to expand on my views on feminism and reproductive rights.
8. I really enjoy reading your perspectives on feminism, especially relating to being a woman in Guatemala. Where did your desire to write about feminist topics come from?
Well, I have a vagina, and I’m really tired of other people making decisions on its behalf. Like Maya Angelou said, I’ve been a female for a while now, and it would be stupid for me not to be on my own side. The first column I published in Nómada was about a local reporter getting her nudes leaked, and the way the public reacted. I was livid. I wrote a piece full of anger and emotion. I got a lot of backlash because of it. I didn’t care, I had reasons to be upset, and that got a strong reaction from the audience. That piece was one of the most read in Nómada that year.
9. How do you think being a woman and living in Guatemala has influenced your feminism and the issues that are important to you?
As an intersectional feminist, being light skinned, having a lot of privileges most women in Guatemala don’t have (like access to birth control, sexual education, information and having more resources in general) I came to realize that I cannot only stand by while women and girls are raped, impregnated, beaten. And that the least I can do is take every space I have in society and make it feminist. Guatemala is a really sexist place to live. Machismo is really endemic and ingrained in culture, language, traditions, so women tend to be sexist as well, and that can be frustrating to say the least. Sometimes it feels like its personal, like its a betrayal. And in the end, sexism kills. It kills
10. You’ve covered a lot of the heavier topics including abortion and gender violence in your writing. Both are
somewhat difficult topics to discuss here in Guatemala, and really, anywhere in the world – what reaction have you received from readers?
Haha, I love hate mail. I love it when people get angry at what I write because it means I’ve hit a nerve. I have made them stop, read, get angry, think about why they’re angry, and then other people read that and take a stand, either in support of what I say or what the detractors say. But most people can be very violent, you can feel the violence through the computer screen.
11. How do you hope your writing will influence others?
Once a friend told me he had shown one of my columns to his younger brother and he had completely changed his mind on how consent looks like, is given and it has to be the most important thing during intercourse. And this consent cannot be given if the person is drugged, drunk, asleep, or coerced in any way. I hope that what I write, makes you think about how you perceive women, sexuality, sexual education, equality, gay rights, and injustice in general. I hope it at least makes you aware, empathetic of the struggle of millions of women, trans people, gay people, disabled people, to be treated fairly. Which for some, is a given, because they, as did I, come from a place of privilege.
12. What upcoming or current projects are you excited about right now?
I’m heading the relaunch of a business magazine called EDN (Escuela de Negocios) and I have creative control as to how to get to where we want to go, and I am able to include gender topics related to business. I’m also planning for a big trip at the end of the year, I’m going to visit my genius cousin who’s getting her doctorate degree in Australia, and then I want to go to a Vipassana meditation retreat in Burma. 13. Where did your Insta handle @badassbitchfromhell come from?
It’s actually a quote from Kate Nash who said: Remind yourself you are a badass bitch from hell and no one can fuck with you. And don’t let anybody fuck with you.
I was going through a tough time in my life, struggling with depression, a broken heart and feeling really worthless. And I just decided to power through it, count on my fmily and my friends and just be a badass bitch from hell. It stuck, and now a lot of people refer to me like that, I love it, I feel really empowered and strong through that handle.
14. Favorite place in Guatemala?
Lake Atitlán. My family used to go there every year, I spent my first 10 birthdays there, it’s where I was really happy as a kid. But I really like large bodies of water, and have fond memories of Semuc Champey. I want to travel more through Guatemala, people come here from around the world, and marvel, and I’m already here haha. I want to plan a motorcycle trip around Guate. Maybe with my dad, maybe this year. I just need to get a bike first haha.
15. Last question, how do you plan to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th?
There has been a call for a strike on March 8th, 35 Countries have joined this call, including Guatemala (Germany, Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Spain, England, Honduras, México, Niaragua and many more). I believe in English it’s called #DayWithoutWomen and in spanish it’s #NosotrasParamos. I will be in the street, and I think I’m going to write a post about it to be published that same day. 🙂 OH, and you can read about it here and here.
Thanks for the inspiration Lucia and for being such an outspoken advocate for all women. We look forward to seeing where you go from here!