Likewise, Micheal Costello relates a similar story, speaking of unsupportive parents, how him being gay and working in the fashion industry has alienated his parents but in spite of that, he’s very proud of what he has achieved and how far he has come. Both their stories have a common thread of fear and lack of acceptance which stem from a variety of reasons- being gay, working in the fashion industry, HIV- but ultimately celebrate the very basic and universal idea of overcoming obstacles and loving oneself. The insecurities and fears both men revealed were abated and even celebrated when they were able to challenge normalcy and embody greatness.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Recently on desperate housewives, Mexican american family Gabby and Carlos Solis discovered that their child Juanita was actually mistakenly switched at birth and their true biological child had been placed with another Mexican family. This story line has been one of the most interesting to me, not simply because of the sheer emotion and drama the situation has induced but also how it brings to light some interesting sides to the Solis family. The contrast between Gabby and Carlos Solis and Hector and his wife are striking; the new couple highlights the Mexican culture for the Solis family and the extent of its importance. In once scene, Gabby brings home groceries for a ‘Mexican’ oriented Thanksgiving dinner for Hector’s family and hers. The exchange between Gabby and her husband is worth noting.
Gabby: (rummaging through her grocieries) : tamales, frijoles, chorizo stuffing, jalepeno cornbread,...
Carlos asks : where are the cranberries sauce and yams?
Gabby: I wanted to make some of their favorite foods and since they’re used to their mexican dishes..
Carlos: That was very nice of you!
Gabby: I know...Now get to cooking!
Gabby: You’re the one who knows about mexican stuff! You roll your r’s, you call soccer “futbol”
Carlos: your mocking me because im proud of culture
Gabby: no im celebrating it..theres two bags of your culture right there! get cooking!
and later in the episode:
gabby: i made margaritas!
Carlos: she is very proud of her culture
This episode, among others, highlights Gabby’s disconnect with her Mexican heritage. This is contrasted with another Mexican couple, who appear to be very in tune with their Mexican background. I wonder, does culture become distilled with wealth? As people move into the higher, upper echelons of 'white' encrusted society, do the roots of culture become less visible and important? I don’t think so- the wealth and luxury of living clearly hasn’t effected Carlos’s attachment to his heritage. I believe that Gabby’s distance from her Mexican heritage has a lot to do with her heritage itself; in past seasons, we’ve learned that she came from a poorer family and that shes always dreamed of ‘making it big’ and escaping her situation; she wanted to very much be a part of that society where jewels, fame,wealth and grandeur were commonplace and jimmy choos were the token of exchange, not tamales. The distance with her culture that is visible on screen, i think, is rooted in personal and emotional conflict and it is that very turmoil she sees manifested in her biological child- a beautiful young girl, stuck in a poorer family, who longs for finer things. Gabby’s detachment from her culture is not necessarily a distaste for her Mexican upbringing but rather, a separation from her past and all things associated with it. It is for this reason that I don’t find her aloof superficiality or nonchalant generalizations about Mexican Culture offensive or demoralizing; rather, I find it a product of her own personal journey. When she very poignantly gives Grace an expensive necklace, it’s not materialism or a disregard for hollow and meaningless she is promoting; rather, it is a tangible part of her that she is giving without words. I just hope that through the course of the season, she can come more to terms with her heritage and past in ways that extend beyond Chanel and Prada.
Check out the story http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130833741
Also, check out the article http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130833741&sc=emaf
RuPaul's Drag Race, which airs on LOGO and logoonline.com is a combination of America's Next Top Model and Project Runway with contestants who are drag queens and female illusionists. I love this show. (As problematic as any beauty contest may be) So far there have been 2 seasons of this show and I could not help but notice something extremely disturbing about it. The ways in which the Puerto Rican Latinas have been treated because of their so-called "language skills."
For the finale of season 1, Nina Flowers and Bebe Zahara Benet were the two finalists. Both Bebe and Nina had accents but on was a French accent and the other was a Puerto Rican accent. Not once on the show was Bebe looked down upon because of her accent, yet that seemed to be the central focus when it came to Nina Flowers' air time and it is almost the main reason as to why she did not win the contest. According to Rupaul, "She would not be able to communicate well enough with her fan base." Her prediction was so weak and so wrong.
When the public was given the opportunity to use for their favorite Drag Queen, Nina Flowers won. Obviously, Nina's "language problem" was not really seen as an issue for the audience of the show. Nina Flowers lost the title becauuse she was not fluent in English. Spanish was her primary language. To keep this short, Jessica Wild in season 2 was also eliminated during episode 7 due to her "language skills." When Jessica Wild proposed her new book to be titled, "Dreams of a Golden Child" the cast members and judges laughed and asked if she was saying "golden shower" because they could not understand what she was saying. WTF. That is so not cool. That moment really upset me. Could they not see that they were humiliating one of the sweetest contestants on the show when she was not laughing at their comment. Poor Jessica Wild didn't even know what a Golden Shower was.
My point is this, as progressive and transgressive as Rupaul may claim to be, she is still perpetuating the notion of America being and "English Only" nation. She is the one in charge of picking the cast and season 3 (which will air this January 2011) has a contestant by the name of Yara Sofia. Yara Sofia is from Puerto Rico and has been part of the same dance club (club krash) where Jessica Wild and Nina Flowers came from. Given what has happened with both Jessica Wild and Nina Flowers it is very disappointing to already know that Yara Sofia will not win because she, just as Nina and Jessica, is not fluent in English. Why must Rupaul knowingly allow these girls to compete if she will not give them a chance to win? Many argue that at least Rupaul helps them in gaining exposure and thus leading to more successful drag careers. I beg to differ. To be content with exposure, while being denied an opportunity to win is almost like saying "Well, at least they're being represented, that should be more than enough." That is not right, its not fair, and its really disappointing to hear Rupaul, one of my great idols, to say these things.