A women wearing a traditional Mexican pattern dress . Source:Aliexpress
By Valeria Ramirez
The new and latest trend of 2017 is taking and profiting on culture’s traditional clothing that many companies and fashion designers are being praised for as their “new” and “innovative” ideas. Many of these ideas are taken from Mexico’s indigenous tribes and Native Americans just for the sake of fashion. In what world is it okay to use one’s culture and profiting it from it for a high amount of money? Recently I saw Toms was selling a pair of huaraches for the low price of $129. You can get the exact pair in Mexico, which are handmade by the person selling them, for around 80 pesos, in dollars that are roughly $4.
So, Toms is making 30 times the amount for the original. My problem with this is that when buying the original your helping the family and appreciating the work that the seller is putting out. While Toms is mass producing a product that can be easily made for a profit. This type of style of sandal is a traditional staple in Mexican culture that has ties with the indigenous culture of Mexico. Toms is not the only company that is guilty of this capitalistic fraud, other stores such as Urban Outfitters and Victoria’s Secret have been using Native American culture to make a profit. These corporations tailor to an audience where they prefer a more “indie” type of style.
My first year of college has been the best and the worst time that I’ve experienced in my life. The first time I came to the University of Idaho, I was amazed of how easily I connected with people. No matter what type of differences that a person had, I always find a way to connect with them. Aside from that I knew I was in for an experience; it was the first time that I was on my own. I had to deal with problems head on without the help of my parents and deal with my own self in many social situations.
The first few months were the hardest to deal with on my own. I’ve dealt with the multiple responsibilities of balancing my bank account and dealing with homesickness that lasted for over a month. My family is my top priority and my greatest motivator, without them I felt lost. That homesickness crept on me by surprise and kept me from growing as a person. The only way to cure my homesickness is by spending all of my time studying and finishing my assignments that lasted into the late-night hour. I suffered the consequences automatically, and I started to fall asleep in most of my classes. I was sleep-deprived and couldn’t focus on any of my classes. It became a real problem for the majority of the time I was here. I knew that the only way to fix this problem was by changing my work schedule and have time for myself and time to sleep. I saw a huge change in my behavior and the way I acted and how much improved in myself.
I started to go out more and joined various of clubs that kept me busy in a socially. I’ve made countless of friends that I would never have met if it wasn’t for me joining those clubs. These organizations showed me more about my culture and gave me an understanding about myself. I soon became more proud of where I come from and more vocal about the social issues that are happening around me. Being aware of the many situations that my own culture is going through was an awakening experience. I realized that I wanted to do more for my community, I wanted to give a voice for those who are voiceless. I always had that dream of protecting immigrants from those who are trying to keep them from staying here. Now I want to expand that by helping farmworkers battle the unfair treatment they go through. Joining these organizations made me aware of myself and the struggles of others. Even joining this team of wonderful writers exposed the many struggles that women undergo through. I have finally realized new things about myself and the many ways that I can speak up.
College is and always will be the greatest thing that has happened to me so far, even though I might be spending hours on an assignment and dealing with sleep deprivation that follows. The one thing that college has given me is a clear identity of who I am. I met people from different backgrounds and heard their stories. I’ve realized what type of privileges that I have and what I don’t. Understanding people is what gave me the inspiration to do whatever it takes to help that person reach social equity. I am grateful for the journey that I had so far and the years that I have to come.
Farmworkers Awareness Week is this week and is currently taking place in our UI campus and other campuses around the United States. This week is to inform other about the dangers and sacrifices that farmworkers have endured. Especially informing the public about the Bandana Project. The main issue that the Bandana Project is handling today is about women who work in the fields and spending hours in the blistering sun picking whatever is in season. As a woman working in the fields, there are many dangers that can occur from dealing with harsh temperatures, underpaid dangerous work, and sadly, they encounter many forms of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse amongst the farmworker industry is surprisingly common and it’s heartbreaking to hear that many women undergo this treatment. They work day in and day out, doing whatever it takes to feed their families, pay their bills, and support themselves. The working conditions are horrendous and many work for 8 hours non-stop, no breaks or time to rest. Many abusers prey on these women knowing that they can’t do anything to stop them. Some of these abusers work in the fields with them or are supervisors themselves. The supervisors believe that they have some entitlement over these women, which makes them certain that they can get away with whatever they want. Sadly, they hold their power over these women because they know that some migrated illegally or they will be automatically fired if they don’t do whatever they say. This prohibits women from speaking out and taking action because their afraid to lose their job and income. No one should be treated in this manner or should be blackmailed for sexual favors.
The question of “What type of feminist am I?” has stumped me for over the past week. I spent countless hours figuring out a way to answer this question and nothing has come to mind. Only recently have I noticed how naïve I am when it comes to feminism. I was introduced to feminism last year by reading a series of articles in The Washington Post. From there on, I started doing my research on what feminism is. For the longest time, I believed that feminism is based on equality of the sexes, but that was only the half of it and I’m starting to grow and learn the different perspectives of feminism. If I had to categorize myself as to what type of feminist I am, I would say that I am Open-Minded Beginner Chicana Feminist.
I would call myself as a beginner because I’m understanding the ideals of feminism one step at a time. I learn as I go and apply my new found knowledge to my everyday life to explain and expand knowledge of feminism to others. I love learning the different perspective of others and go off on their ideas to create a conversation. Yesterday, this happened when I was heading back to Moscow from a conference in Corvallis. My CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) advisor, Christina, was talking to the other CAMPers about feminism and issues revolving around the Latino community. I was very captivated and in awe how the other CAMPers were very interested and engaged in the conversation. Even when the guys were speaking their different viewpoints and talking about values that they were raised with, everyone was accepting and providing a female perspective on how they felt about what they said. That’s something that I love about feminism, how it can bring two perspectives together and have them find a way to co-exist with one and another.
Grimes is an underappreciated synth pop rocker who uses a bizarre but unique style to push the music scene forward into neon enlightenment. I came across Grimes when I was looking for new music to add to my playlist, and during that time I’ve been seeing her album Art Angels almost everywhere. Upon first listening to her album, I absolutely disliked her music. I just found it a little too different for my taste, since I mostly listen to the Rock and Indie genres. So I left it in my playlist, never to return again. Until last year, I was playing whatever was on my Spotify and one of Grimes’ song caught my attention. Kill v. Maim was addictive and refreshing to hear. The upbeat electro sound and the clashing of the snare drum is mixed with a pop fairy-like voice that leaves her audience in a fighting, dreamlike mood. Ever since then, I’ve been a huge fan of her music.
Grimes, also known by her family as Clair Elise Boucher, is a Canadian self-taught musician who produced music before becoming an artist. Grimes has always worked in the underground music scene where she built her following. Being a self-taught musician and producer allowed her to create everything that she sings. Even the album artwork is all her own—she is an inspired producer and artist who takes her craft and skill to its limits.
Colorism in Mexico today, can be attributed to the ways in which the Latin American media, until recently, featured predominantly light-skinned people in everything. From advertisements on television, billboards, to the cast of their favorite shows, and movies on television—these young brown-skinned children grew up seeing everything their parents are watching. This type of pressure can lead young women to many insecurities about their skin.
In the Mexican media, there is a prevalence of favoritism for light-skinned Hispanics and less representation for dark-skinned natives. It is concerning and yet heartbreaking when a country is prideful of their indigenous roots, but are critical of the skin color they have. The perfect beauty ideology is ingrained into the thousands of young women who believe that the whiter they are the more accepted they are in society. I have not personally experienced this, but I have seen many of my friends who go through this process. Many of their families criticized them for being dark-skinned or even praise them for being a lighter tone. I’ve seen the pressure and emotional distressed that some of my friends go through just to chase an unrealistic beauty standard. Continue reading “Beauty is Only Skin Deep”→