Culture

A Classic Mexican Card Game Is Getting A Makeover That’s All About Women Empowerment

For many Latinos, Lotería represents more than just a card game played at family parties and holiday gatherings. From it’s iconic card imagery – like la sirena y el borracho – to it’s impact on Latino representation, it has become a staple in the Latino household. It holds a special place in our hearts when it comes to bringing families and friends together. Yet for Ilse Valfré, an LA-based designer, the century-old game needed a face lift when it came to representing our experiences in 2018. That’s why Valfré has introduced her own version of Lotería with a female empowering take.

Ilse Valfré’s version of  Lotería cards feature female characters and objects with female pronouns.

Valfré

Valfré grew up in Mexico and one of her earliest memories there is winning a game of Lotería in kindergarten where the prize was a lollipop. It was small moments like this that stuck throughout her artistic career and paved the way for this release. The inspiration for the redesign came from a special place very dear to Valfré: her fans.

“They started asking for it as soon as I introduced the first Valfré Loteria artwork which was “La Sirena,” Valfré said. “I wanted to make sure to keep the original characteristics that we all know and love, while adding a little bit of me.”

The re-designed Lotería game had been a long time coming for Valfré who wanted to incorporate women-empowerment into Latino culture.

CREDIT: Valfré

Valfré is most known for her illustrated designs, which started off on her Tumblr blog and quickly gained a huge following. According to Valfré, her work represents a very “creative and wild-at-heart” look that doesn’t limit itself to one style. She has designed everything from dresses to greeting cards that represent woman-empowerment.

By updating the classic game, with her own designed female characters in place of the original designs, Valfré has given the beloved game a refreshed and millennial look. Cards like La Sirena are modeled after some of her previous work (cheeky, wide-eyed, hand-drawn doll characters) that many of her fans are accustomed to seeing.

This version of Lotería has a unique twist to it that feels new but still pays tribute to the original.

CREDIT: Valfré

Her version of Lotería features 56 cards while the original game comes with 54 cards. She added original cards like “el dry shampoo,” and “la space babe.” The reason for adding two extra cards came from her design team that couldn’t get rid of the two extra designs because they “loved them so much.”

 According to Valfré, re-designing work like this includes being able to mix humor into something everyone already loves.

CREDIT: Valfré

“A little nostalgia mixed with humor,” Valfré explains about her version of Lotería. “I wanted to make sure to keep the original characteristics that we all know and love, while adding a little bit of me. You have to be able to laugh at yourself, through trial and tribulations.”

Valfré says the response to the Lotería re-design has been “overwhelmingly positive” and appreciates the support she has gotten from fellow Latinos. She says creating work like this comes from a special place in her heart and hopes Latinos can appreciate her special take on this traditional card game.

“I was born and raised in Mexico and in our culture, color and humor are everywhere. This definitely came into play while building the brand and I enjoy incorporating that humor into my work,” Valfré said. “Using color throughout my artwork is just another way to share the vibrancy of my Latino culture, which I think is something that just comes naturally.”

You can purchase the Valfré Lotería game on her website, but only for a limited-edition release with 500 games available.


READ: A Millennial Guatemalan Artist Gave Lotería Cards The Millennial Treatment And They Are Hilarious

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The Oxford Dictionary Is Finally Changing ‘Sexist’ Definitions Of The Word ‘Woman’

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The Oxford Dictionary Is Finally Changing ‘Sexist’ Definitions Of The Word ‘Woman’

Language has a tendency to be sexist.

Fortunately, Oxford University Press knows this and is making efforts to combat sexism and out of date language in its dictionaries. This year, their kicking off by tackling the word “woman.” According to Oxford University Press they’ve updated and changed the entry for “woman” in its dictionaries, including the Oxford English Dictionary, to promote equality and better describe women.

Oxford University Press explained in a recent statement that they’re expanding the dictionary’s coverage of women.

“We have expanded the dictionary coverage of ‘woman’ with more examples and idiomatic phrases which depict women in a positive and active manner,” the largest university press in the world explained in a statement. “We have ensured that offensive synonyms or senses are clearly labeled as such and only included where we have evidence of real-world usage.”

As part of their action, OUP added phrases such as “woman of the moment,” which had been absent from the dictionaries despite having the presence of ones like “man of the moment.”

According to CNN, “one of the definitions of ‘woman’ now refers to a ‘person’s wife, girlfriend, or female lover,’ as opposed to being tied to only a man. The definition for ‘man’ was updated to include gender-neutral terms and references to ‘sexual attractiveness or activity’ were revised for ‘man’ and ‘woman’ entries. OUP said its lexicographers regularly review entries to make sure they are accurate. This time around, the voice of the people helped create change.”

“Sometimes the team focus on topics highlighted by user feedback (such as last year’s petition about the definition of ‘woman’) and sometimes these topics are driven by current events or through projects taking place within the Oxford Languages team,” a spokesperson told CNN.

It’s not the first time OUP has updated its words. Recently, the dictionary for the English language has made changes to words related to race and gender identity. Earlier this year, OUP updated the use of “they” which is used as a pronoun by and for nonbinary people.

In 2019, OUP removed “sexist” terms for a woman after tens of thousands of people signed a Change.org petition.

In response to the petition, suggestive phrases about women were removed including “Ms September will embody the professional, intelligent yet sexy career woman,” according to CNN and phrases such as “I told you to be home when I get home, little woman.”

In a statement their definiitions, OUP wrote “Our dictionaries reflect, rather than dictate, how language is used… This is driven solely by evidence of how real people use English in their daily lives. With that in mind, lexicographers reviewed examples in its dictionary data to make sure representations of woman were positive and active.”

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This Coronavirus-Themed Lotería Is The Perfect Kind Of Humor I Needed Right Now And It’s Even Available To Buy

Culture

This Coronavirus-Themed Lotería Is The Perfect Kind Of Humor I Needed Right Now And It’s Even Available To Buy

Coronavirus. Covid-19. Pandemic. Social-distancing. This is all the news we hear these days and as important as it is to stay up to date on what’s happening with the virus and how to stay safe and healthy, forgive me if I don’t want a tiny break from all the seriousness.

So, you can imagine my delight when I was scrolling my Twitter feed and saw tweet after tweet about a Coronavirus-themed lotería. La lotería is a tradition soooo many of us grew up playing so it’s interesting to see it get a 2020 interpretation.

Could this be real? What could the cards for el mano or la botella look like in this Covid-19 reality we’re currently living in? I had to find out.

So I sat down with an artist who’s created his own Coronavirus-themed lotería set to find out more about his inspiration.

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

Artist Rafael Gonzales Jr. (on Instagram as @PINCHE_RAF_ART) has created a series of incredibly unique lotería cards that can really thank the current Coronavirus pandemic for their existence: from face masks and hand sanitizer to toilet paper roll, these cards are emblematic of the times we’re living in.

The modern take on the traditional game is called ‘Pandemia Lotería’ and each card (he’s made 31 so far) features a name and image inspired by our new normal of social-distancing, self-isolation, extreme hand-washing, and even the stimulus checks.

What message were you hoping to send about the Coronavirus and our current climate by creating these new cards?

“You know originally this was a very selfish endeavor. I needed a creative outlet for the new experiences we are all going through. It became a project that helped me to connect to others through humor and a childhood game.  Now, I think my message has become one of bringing a lightness to the heaviness of the pandemic. It is a serious global problem, but laughing at our shared experiences is what being human is all about.”

Have you created new interpretations of all 54 cards – or if not, do you plan to create all 54?

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

“I have about 31 cards completed and 2 additional specialty cards that won’t be in the game I am putting out soon. My plan for the project is to get as many cards in an art print as possible. I have been a little sidetracked creatively with some of the business side of launching an e-commerce [site] for the game. It has been a whirlwind, but people have responded really well to the cards and my goal from the onset of all this was to try and paint the situation in a light form. To sort of change the heaviness of the news cycle and remind people that better days are coming and those better days often include a game of lotería.”

Are there specific reasons you chose these images to illustrate these titles or what’s your thinking behind them?

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

“Visually la Chalupa seems so sincere and serene. I feel it is one of the more complex original illustrations of lotería, so I thought it would be a humorous twist to associate her with fake news and the dolphins in the canals of Venice that were virally shared. The quaran15 was a simple, self-deprecating joke that ran through my head after my wife started to bake more. From banana bread to cookies, I knew I was putting on weight and gonna be built like a barril after all this. I used to see my grandmother’s use Armour manteca all the time to make tortillas and so the coloring became a play on that.”

Are you taking any suggestions? I know people who would love to see Susana Distancia and Los Amuletos (thanks, AMLO!)

“I’ve received a ton of suggestions and I think it has been great. I think part of the reason the cards have been popular is because they are relatable. I sometimes sit with a suggestion and see if it is something I can put my own twist on, while also staying true to my own vision for the project. Some ideas I don’t think I can do justice to or put in the right context so that is why I haven’t taken them on.”

Will it be possible to purchase these loteria cards? Or if it’s already possible, can you point our readers in the right direction?

“The game itself will be printed in a few weeks. Preorders went on April 23 and people can reserve theirs here and other merch like t-shirts can be found on my online store.”

And Rafael isn’t the only one getting in on the game – even Mexico City has its own Coronavirus-themed lotería game.

Credit: @dondeir / Twitter

Like so many other cities around the world, Mexico City is still under a strict stay-at-home order to help flatten the curve. With so many people stuck at home, what’s better than playing a game of an old favorite but with a relevant twist? And as the game’s creators point out – while being reminded of the measures we should all be taking to combat this pandemic.

The Coronavirus Lotería is available as a download to use as a background, you can share it on social media, or you can even play remotely with friends.

And last December, Google commemorated the game with its very own Google Doodle.

Credit: Google

Last December, Google had an online version of the game that replaced some cards for modern talks. The El ApacheEl borrachoEl diablitoEl gorritoLa muerteEl negritoEl soldado, and El valiente cards were replaced with El ajolote (“the axolotl“), El buscador, La conchaEl eloteEl emojiEl gorroEl guacamole, and El xoloitzcuintle (or the Mexican hairless dog.)

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