Things That Matter

Kay Lopez Developed Instagram Gifs To Better Represent All Kinds Of Latinas

Latinx representation in media is limited but leaders like Kay Lopez,a  34-year-old social strategist and content developer, are working to change that. For her latest project she developed 100 gifs to better represent Latinas beyond those normally attached to brands or stereotypes. 

“I wasn’t finding any gifs that really spoke to how I felt Latinas should be describing their power and self. The few gifs that I did come across were tied to alcohol brands and soccer teams. It was hard to understand why these gifs didn’t already exist,” she told FIERCE by mitú. 

Her background is in social strategy and content development, and she used her skills in graphic design to create the gifs “that spoke to the Latina community.”

She also tapped into the community she developed through the Instagram account, Latinas Poderosas which has more than 30k followers. 

 

The ethos behind the online community is to uplift Latinas and claim space in the digital world while promoting positivity. 

“Empowering our community is the foundation of Latinas Poderosas. My goal has always been to empower Latinas by showcasing both past and present Latinas who have created positive impact. Women who have not settled, women who have pushed boundaries and who have made their dreams possible despite obstacles.” she said.

This was the same intention she brought to the project so she reached out to the members of this community to find out what it was they wanted, opening up her DMs to suggestions and requests.

She initially drafted several empowering terms that spoke to Latinx in a positive way.

Eventually, her efforts evolved into working to ensure she represented the diversity within the Latinx community. 

She asks for two to three words max per phrase and is continuously looking for popular colloquial adjectives throughout Latin America  to “truly capture the diversity of our community.” 

“I wanted terms that were not focused on one country, I wanted to pull and showcase the diversity in our phrases and the diversity of the Spanish language. Today you’ll find gifs that read ‘cachimbona’ a phrase used in El Salvador, ‘La Llorona’ which ties to Mexican [folklore], ‘Ya Tu Sabes’  used in the Dominican Republic, and, one of my favorites, ‘Blaxican’ created by special request. The more terms we have the more impact we have!”

Since launching earlier this month the gifs have already generated more than 20 million views and counting and so far the most popular terms are “Prima Hermana,” “Mija,” and “Bebecita.” 

Lopez, who is a first-generation Mexican-American Houston transplant living in Los Angeles, is constantly working to make the gifs more inclusive and representative. 

According to one report, nearly 40 million Instagram users over the age of 18 were Latinx in 2014 and yet, according to Lopez, the only gifs available to Latinx were primarily stereotypes. 

“I want to refrain from Latinx stereotypes as much as possible, words like ‘caliente,’ ‘chancla’ ‘tacos’ – with the exception of  ‘tacos before vatos’ which was a request from a fan – and I definitely want to stay away from words that insult our community or other communities. I want the gifs to showcase the diversity of our language, our culture, and the vibrancy of our roots.”

Diversity in a community that includes nearly a quarter of U.S. Latinos who self-identify as Afro-Latino among the millions of immigrants who come from 33 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Her efforts are undoubtedly making the social sphere all the more colorful.

This addition to the digital landscape means that when someone searches “Latina,” “latinas poderosa” or “latinx” in the gif section on Instagram or Snapchat, they’ll be flooded with colorful words including “reina,” “poderosa,” and “diosa.”

Switching up the narrative is ultimately the goal, it’s empowerment at people’s fingertips when the terminology associated with the Latinx community, specifically women, goes from sexual or provocative (the common associations with Latinas) to diverse and uplifting. 

“I want Latinas to know that they matter, that they’re seen and heard. I want to encourage our community to create. If you find our narrative missing don’t just shrug it off, do something and create it because no one else will create it for us.” 

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Parler Is Back Online But All Traffic Is Being Routed Through Russian Servers

Things That Matter

Parler Is Back Online But All Traffic Is Being Routed Through Russian Servers

Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudêncio / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Parler, the alt-right social media platform, is back in business. Of course, the app is not supported by American companies. The app is now running all of its information through Russian servers.

Parler is running again thanks to the help of Russian servers.

Parler faced quick discipline after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. The social media platform was one of the key tools organizers of the riot used to organize and mobilize. Amazon, Apple, and Google all stopped carrying Parler, essentially ending the social media platform’s ability to keep running. Parler tried to sue Amazon Web Services to pick up the app again to allow it to continue but a judge ruled against the platform.

“The court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring AWS to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in,” U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein wrote in the order. “At this stage, on the showing made thus far, neither the public interest nor the balance of equities favors granting an injunction in this case.”

The Russian-backed servers are only providing partial support but it’s a slippery slope.

Parler has hired DDoS-Guard, is a Russian digital infrastructure company that threw the platform a lifeline. While the server is only providing a defense against denial-of-service, critics are concerned that it still poses a significant risk. All of the traffic on Parler is going through those servers leaving the users vulnerable to Russian surveillance.

“Now seems like the right time to remind you all—both lovers and haters—why we started this platform,” reads Parler’s current homepage. “We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential … We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon.”

DDoS-Guard has a history of working with racist and far-right groups.

CEO John Matze is confident that the app will be fully restored by the end of January. The social media app has been banned and dropped from major American tech companies after the insurrection. Amazon will not restore the app but the app has said that they retrieved their info from Amazon.

READ: Latino Congressman Lou Correa Fights Back at Insurrectionist Trump Supporters Who Harassed Him at a D.C. Airport

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has long called himself the voice of the people – and many Mexicans agree with him. That’s why his latest announcement against social media companies has many so worried.

In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s (along with many other social media platforms) announcement that they would be restricting or banning Donald Trump from their platforms, the Mexican president expressed his contempt for the decisions. And his intention to create a Mexican social network that won’t be held to the standards from Silicon Valley.

Mexico’s AMLO moves to create a social media network for Mexicans outside of Silicon Valley’s control.

A week after his United States counterpart was kicked off Facebook and Twitter, President López Obrador floated the idea of creating a national social media network to avoid the possibility of Mexicans being censored.

Speaking at his daily news conference, AMLO instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.

“We care about freedom a lot, it’s an issue that’s going to be addressed by us,” he told reporters. He also added that Facebook and Twitter have become “global institutions of censorship,” sounding a lot like the alt-right terrorists that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. We want a country without censorship. Mexico must be a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,” he told reporters.

AMLO deeply criticized the moves by Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump from their platforms.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

AMLO – like Trump – is an avid user of social media to connect with his constituents. He’s also been known to spread falsehoods and boast about his achievements on the platforms – sound familiar?

So, it came as little surprise when he tore into social media companies for ‘censoring’ Donald Trump, saying that they have turned into “global institutions of censorship” and are carrying out a “holy inquisition.”

Nobody has the right to silence citizens even if their views are unpopular, López Obrador said. Even if the words used by Trump provoked a violent attack against his own government.

“Since they took these decisions [to suspend Trump], the Statue of Liberty has been turning green with anger because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” he quipped.

So what could a Mexican social media network be called?

The president’s proposal to create a national social media network triggered chatter about what such a site would or should be called. One Twitter user suggested Facemex or Twitmex, apparently taking his inspiration from the state oil company Pemex.

The newspaper Milenio came up with three alternative names and logos for uniquely Mexican sites, suggesting that a Mexican version of Facebook could be called Facebookóatl (inspired by the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcóatl), Twitter could become Twitterlopochtli (a riff on the name of Aztec war, sun and human deity Huitzilopochtli) and Instagram could become Instagratlán (tlán, which in the Náhuatl language means place near an abundance of something – deer, for example, in the case of Mazatlán – is a common suffix in Mexican place names.)

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