Things That Matter

Mexico Feared A Woman Was Kidnapped But She Is Alive And Well, But People Are Blaming Her And WTF

An episode that became viral in Mexican social and broadcast media brought out the best and worst of society when it comes to responses to the current crisis that women are facing in the country. Karen, a 27-year-old mother of three, was feared kidnapped after she sent a text to her mother telling her that the cab driver of the vehicle she boarded looked suspicious.

Karen’s brother started an online hunt for her sister when the family didn’t hear from her for a few hours. The story became viral and multiple hashgtags related to the search were shared thousands of times. Karen came back the next day after a night out. So Mexico should have released a collective sigh of relief, right? Well, that wasn’t exactly the case. 

First things first: the fact that Karen was found is EXCELLENT NEWS.

The fact that Karen was alright is the best news ever. There is no way around it: yes, her mother and brother should be upset about Karen not following up her original text to say she was OK, but that is a private family affair and not something that people should get up on arms about. Yes, she was wrong to lie at her mother but that is between the two of them. This message, which plainly says that the taxi driver looks suspicious, is just like the millions of texts sent in Mexico just for some peace of mind. 

Seriously, some people were actually disappointed  that she was found alive and well, which speaks of the ideological violence against women in the country.

First of all, Karen’s brother was totally within his right to call to action when the family didn’t know Karen’s whereabouts. What they did by starting a search is what any Mexican family would do given the climate of violence against women when it comes to their health, safety, sexual independence and life. Any Mexico City family would have thought the worst.

When Karen came back home after a night out, some social media users were actually acting as if they were insulted! Like it was owed to them for Karen to actually be kidnapped or dead. This mob mentality is harmful but also a symptom of how normalized feminicide and overall physical violence towards women has become. 

The government actually went through the effort of finding security cameras that show her having fun at a bar (just like, well, any normal person.)

When Karen was found alive, the government and mainstream media disseminated a video in which Karen is seen partying at a bar. Yes, she drank. Yes, she was probably intoxicated… or not… whatever. The fact is that they went through the trouble of going through security camera footage just to lavarse las manos and blame Karen on all the chaos that was originated, and rightfully so.

If the authorities went through this much trouble every time a woman disappeared then perhaps the numbers of murdered women in Mexico each year wouldn’t be in the thousands. So let us get this straight: they solve the mystery of a woman’s whereabouts within hours when she is found alive and just in the middle of a misunderstanding originated in a lie, but there are families that even after years of searching for their loved ones have no clear answers and have to literally walk the desert for months with the hope if finding some closure. 

What sucks is that the first thing her family thought was the worst, because that IS ACTUALLY WHAT HAPPENS TO THOUSANDS OF WOMEN IN MEXICO.

So was Karen’s family overreacting when they triggered a search? Absolutely not. For all they knew, Karen would have been raped, murdered, dismembered and dissolved in acid. Yes, it gets that bad, so just be happy that Karen is fine, people! Daniel, Karen’s brother, took on social media to thank those involved in the search: “Thank you all for the support, Karen Espíndola, my sister is already at home. She did not arrive in the best conditions but the investigations will continue. I really do not wish this feeling on anyone.”

But fact is that millions of Mexicans live in a constant state of anxiety because the worst is a very real possibility. As Daily Mail Australia points out: “At least 1,533 people have been kidnapped in Mexico during the first 10 months of 2019, including 152 in the month of October.”

And it gets worse, according to El Universal, at least 3,663 women were murdered in Mexico in 2018, and 2019 numbers could be even higher as it is the most violent year on record. 

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Another International Brand Has Been Accused Of Copying Indigenous Mexican Designs

Entertainment

Another International Brand Has Been Accused Of Copying Indigenous Mexican Designs

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

Although it comes as no surprise, it’s still as frustrating as ever that an international fashion brand has ripped off traditional designs of Indigenous cultures. This time, it’s an Australian label that appears to have copied the designs of Mexico’s Mazatec community.

Although the company has already pulled the allegedly copied dress, the damage appears to have been done as many are rightfully outraged at their blatant plagiarism.

Australia’s Zimmermann brand has been accused of copying designs from Mexico’s Indigenous community.

Mazatec people from the Mexican state of Oaxaca have expressed their outrage over yet another attack on their traditions. They claim that an Australian company – Zimmermann – has copied a Mazatec huipil design to make its own tunic dress. The dress, which was part of the company’s 2021 Resort collection and retailed for USD $850, has since been pulled from the company’s website due to the criticism.

Zimmermann is an Australian fashion house that has stores across the U.S., England, France, and Italy. While the huipil is a loose-fitting tunic commonly worn by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women across Mexico.

It’s hard to argue that the brand didn’t deliberately copy the Oaxacan design.

Credit: Francoise CAVAZZANA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

When you look at the Zimmermann tunic dress alongside a traditional huipil, it’s hard not to see the resemblance. The cut of the Zimmermann dress, the birds and flowers embroidered on it and its colors all resemble a traditional Mazatec huipil. 

Changes made to the original design – the Zimmermann dress sits above the knees and unlike a huipil is not intended to be worn with pants or a skirt – are disrespectful of the Mazatac culture and world view.

The Oaxaca Institute of Crafts also condemned Zimmermann and called on the brand to clarify the origin of its design.

For their part, Zimmermann has pulled the dress and issued an apology.

Zimmermann subsequently issued a statement on social media, acknowledging that the tunic dress was inspired by huipiles from Oaxaca

“Zimmermann acknowledges that the paneled tunic dress from our current Swim collection was inspired by what we now understand to be a traditional garment from the Oaxaca region in Mexico,” it said.

“We apologize for the usage without appropriate credit to the cultural owners of this form of dress and for the offense this has caused. Although the error was unintentional, when it was brought to our attention today, the item was immediately withdrawn from all Zimmermann stores and our website. We have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again in future.”

However, it’s far from the first time that an international brand has profited off of Indigenous designs.

Unfortunately, international fashion companies ripping off traditional garments and designs – especially those of Indigenous cultures – is far too common. Several major companies have been accused of plagiarism within the last year.

In fact, the problem has become so widespread that Mexico created a government task force to help find and denounce similar plagiarism in the future. Among the other designers/brands that have been denounced for the practice are Isabel Marant, Carolina Herrera, Mango and Pippa Holt.

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The President Of Mexico Has Tested Positive For Covid-19 After A Year Of Downplaying The Virus

Things That Matter

The President Of Mexico Has Tested Positive For Covid-19 After A Year Of Downplaying The Virus

Hector Villas / Getty Images

Since the very beginning of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has largely downplayed the severity of the crisis. Despite record-setting deaths across Mexico, the president continued to hold large rallies, rarely uses face masks and continues to be very hands on with his supporters. Many of his detractors grouped him in with Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jaír Bolsonaro in his poor response to the pandemic.

Mexico’s President AMLO has tested positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing light symptoms.

In a tweet on Sunday evening, AMLO revealed that he had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. From his official Twitter account, he said his symptoms were mild and that he was receiving medical treatment.

“I regret to inform you that I have contracted Covid-19. The symptoms are mild, but I am already receiving medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will move forward,” Lopez Obrador wrote.

Despite his diagnosis, the president plans to continue business as usual. He plans to continue with his duties from the Palacio Nacional, which include conducting a planned phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the topic of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine Monday. He added on Twitter, that “I will be conducting all public affairs from the National Palace. For example, tomorrow I will take a call from President Vladimir Putin, because irrespective of friendly relationships, there is a possibility that they will send us the Sputnik V vaccine.”

AMLO has taken a very hands off approach to his country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

AMLO, 67-years-old, has rarely been seen wearing a mask and continued to travel extensively across the country aboard commercial flights – putting both his health and those around him at risk.

He has also resisted locking down the economy, noting the devastating effect it would have on so many Mexicans who live day to day. And because of that, Mexico has one of the highest death rates in the world. Early in the pandemic, asked how he was protecting Mexico, AMLO removed two religious amulets from his wallet and proudly showed them off.

“The protective shield is the ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’” AMLO said, reading off the inscription on the amulet, “Stop, enemy, for the Heart of Jesus is with me.”

In November, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, urged Mexico’s leaders be serious about the coronavirus and set examples for its citizens, saying that “Mexico is in bad shape” with the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Mexico continues to experience the worst effects yet of the global health crisis.

Credit: Ismael Rosas / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Thanks to a lack of national leadership, Mexico is one of the 17 countries that has reported more than one million cases of Covid-19. Since early October, newly confirmed cases and deaths have been reaching record levels, with recent daily numbers some of the highest since the beginning the pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Mexico has recorded at least 1,752,347 Covid-19 cases and 149,084 people have died from the virus in the country.

In hardest-hit Mexico City, nearly 30 public hospitals report they have reached 100% percent capacity, and many others are approaching that mark. The city’s Mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, has urged residents to not go out unless absolutely necessary. In December, Mexico City and the state of Mexico were placed into “red level,” the highest measure on the country’s stoplight alert system for Covid-19 restrictions. The tighter measures included the closure of indoor dining, with only essential sectors like transport, energy, health and construction remaining open.

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