I WILL WIPE MEN OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH
by María Velasco (Spain), translated by Kelsi Vanada
A girl hides from a family barbecue under the shade of a tree. A teenager scatters her uncle’s ashes. A young woman stares at a screensaver of snowy mountains.
This kaleidoscopic coming-of-age tale asks whether ecological thought can apply to us humans, and to our sexual relationships. What does it mean to ‘pull up by the roots’? What if it happens to you? What links a family barbecue, wildfires in the Amazon and feminist protests erupting across Latin America, the US and Europe?
The girl’s hair becomes stuck to the tree’s resin, and as night falls her father ruthlessly cuts it off to release her from the grip of nature. From this moment we follow her through the rites of passage of a young woman growing up in Generation Y, moving between roles of youngest daughter, doctoral student and sex worker. The branches of this tale, and this woman, are woven together by an exacting exploration of contemporary culture, centuries-old philosophy, and our timeless relationship with a natural world coming under threat from all quarters. Rooted in this accumulated wisdom, she stands in front of an academic committee and decisively rejects the roles society has cast for her.
I Will Wipe Men Off the Face of the Earth puts emotional and sexual violence in conversation with violence enacted towards the natural world, examining the “extractivism of the resources of the unconscious and of subjectivity, language, desire, imagination, affect” (Suely Rolnik).
A story of empowerment, gone green.