WOMEN

HuffPost Her Stories: Mexico’s ‘Hypocritical’ Love Of Indigenous ‘Roma’ Star Yalitza Aparicio

Plus: A nun in India fights church sex abuse.
Yalitza Aparicio, the star of “Roma,” at an event in Mexico City on Jan. 29.
Yalitza Aparicio, the star of “Roma,” at an event in Mexico City on Jan. 29.

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Dear reader,

One of the most-read stories on HuffPost Mexico this month was an essay by Editor-in-Chief Laura Raquel Manzo about “Roma” star Yalitza Aparicio. The Mexican actress is the first indigenous woman to be nominated for an Oscar and the new darling of Mexican media.

Laura shares in the national excitement over the young actress’ unlikely ascent, but is uneasy with the hypocrisy she sees in her country’s obsession with the new star. “We’re talking about Yalitza but not about all the indigenous people in Mexico, who represent 10 percent of the population, 70 percent of whom live in poverty,” she said.

Her uneasiness motivated her to write the essay calling out the disconnect between fans who might mob the actress for selfies but also deny their indigenous housekeeper Social Security. “In Mexico we discriminate against brown people even if we’re brown,” she said.

The essay challenges fans of the actress to really think about how they treat and view non-celebrities who look like Aparicio. Laura celebrates the significance of the actress’ sudden stardom, but cautions that little will change without a wider reckoning. “Yalitza is on the cover of Vogue Mexico [this month] but that doesn’t mean that the magazine will feature another indigenous woman in February or March,” she said. “Tall, thin, blond girls still have priority in all kinds of castings for advertising and acting.”

Laura said the piece generated strong reactions on social media and in the comments section — a sign that it motivated the sort of conversations, and perhaps reflection, Laura argues are urgently needed.

Until next time,

Emily

For more on Yalitza Aparicio and the Oscars, follow HuffPost U.S. movie writer @tarantallegra. Readers of Spanish can also follow HuffPost Mexico’s @LauraManzo. The Oscars are Sunday, Feb. 24. “Roma” is nominated for 10 awards, including best performance by an actress in a leading role.

A bombshell police report released last summer revealed that a 44-year-old nun in India had accused a bishop of raping her 13 times over two years. A follow-up Associated Press investigation uncovered widespread sex abuse within India’s Catholic church and a culture of silence that has protected abusers. The nun’s accusation, though, forced the issue into the open and divided the Catholic community. Many defended the bishop, who was jailed for three weeks and released on bail in October. Nuns who have rallied around his unnamed accuser have faced isolation and threats. This week, HuffPost India spoke with one of the survivor’s most vocal supporters, sister Lucy Kalapura, about the risks she continues to take to bring the problem to light. Despite notices from her convent accusing her of not following the “principles of religious life” and violating rules, she has continued protesting and speaking out about abuse of power within the church. “These men preach abstinence but can’t follow it, then use their power to fulfill their needs,” Kalapura said. “How many women must he have oppressed?”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), as well as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), as well as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), are running for president in 2020. 

Four women are already running to replace Donald Trump as president of the United States. HuffPost U.S. senior reporter Emma Gray notes that the candidates span the ideological spectrum of the Democratic Party and wonders if “the sheer number of them out on the campaign trail and on the debate stage, expressing a variety of political views, even arguing with each other while displaying a variety of demeanors, will force voters to look at women politicians as individual candidates, rather than as avatars for 52 percent of the population.” Emma contrasts this scenario with the 2016 election, in which Hillary Clinton was the lone serious female candidate and target of what people on her campaign described as obvious sexism. “Now that there’s not just one,” she writes, “will the female candidates be free to just be … candidates?

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