Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Project Run-awry

On project runway this season, two contestants stood out for very different reasons. Mondo emerged as a season favorite, with his quirky designs and impeccable design work while Micheal Costello was bullied and looked down upon due to his lack of technical knowledge, despite making it to the final four. But aside from the world of design, the two castmates had some similar personal stories to share. Mondo revealed, in a touching episode about personal memories, that he was HIV positive and had been carrying that secret with him for a while. He discussed that he hid his status from his parents because he didn’t want to hurt or burden them with the knowledge and then shared his upbringing. He spoke of how, as a child, his parents had tried to make him more ‘machismo.’ I thought this was interesting, not simply because it was discussed in class, but because of the seemingly pervasiveness of this notion. In a society where we glorify and explicitly distinguish between masculine and female effects, any individual attempting to cross the peripheries of such boundaries faces confusion and even non-acceptance into society. The idea of ‘machismo’ is not simply a Mexican or Latino concept; rather, this idea of ‘machismo’ and playing up masculine (or feminine) traits extends to all societies to an extent and one of the largest barriers for homosexuals and individuals alike. Mondo continued and said how growing up in a Mexican Catholic family led to “different expectations” and how, as a teen, his parents tried to make him play baseball instead of piano. I can understand how culture- any culture, not simply Mexican, or Mexican-Catholic- can foster this sense of identity that excludes the idea of homosexuality or the notion of being different. Mondo ends with “You might doubt if you draw or paint, it might take a little while. But I’m happy.” It was comforting to see that despite personal turmoil, or perhaps due to that, Mondo was able to arrive at a place of comfort, acceptance and peace.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment