In the “Essay on Blindness”, mandatory reading these days, there is a passage where Saramago carries out a gender debate that offers a disturbing reflection. In the book, all the people who were blinded, believed to be an epidemic, were confined in a disabled asylum and handed to their own luck. The government provided food in daily portions and prevented anyone from leaving to avoid contagion, however, a group of men stood out from the others and started to control the food demanding that women lay with them in exchange for food. Avoiding the conflict, the other men began to pressure women to be pragmatic and to submit for the good of all.
– And what would you do if they, instead of asking for women, had asked for men? Questioned a woman.
– There’s no sissy here! Dared a man to protest!
– And nobody here is a slut, and even if there is, they may not be willing and be for you.. He retored the woman who made the disconcerting question.