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Old 02-07-2012, 10:07 PM   #1
Celeliamend

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Default Making Güeras: Selling white identities on late-night Mexican television
http://www.mixedracestudies.org/wordpress/?cat=21
Full article: http://geography.arizona.edu/sites/g...g%20Gueras.pdf
la güera’: fair-skinned. Born with the features of my Chicana mother, but the skin of my Anglo father, I had it made. No one ever quite told me this (that light was right), but I knew that being light was something valued in my family. (Moraga, 1981, p. 28)

These lines from Cherrie Moraga’s 1979 essay, ‘La Güera’, succinctly describe the chromatic privilege into which she was born. With her mother’s Chicana features but her father’s white skin, Moraga, in her words, ‘had it made’. The only güera in her family, she could escape the correlation between being Chicana and being ‘less’ (p. 28), a connection that haunted her mother and other family members. Although her essay goes on to chart her denial of ‘the voice of [her] brown mother’ (1981, p. 31) and her struggles to grasp the specificities of various forms of sexual and racial oppression, Moraga’s initial discussion of an upbringing that ‘attempted to bleach me of what color I did have’ (1981, p. 28) captures several processes that we analyze in this article. As Moraga quipped, she was ‘“anglicized” ’; the more effectively we could pass in the white world, the better guaranteed our future’ (ibid.).
This article analyzes one contemporary path to that ‘white world’ as it operates within the context of Mexico. We examine discourses of whiteness and coloration through an analysis of ‘White Secret’, a cosmetic product marketed across Mexico that explicitly guarantees lighter skin and implicitly offers the lifestyle associated with such a chromatic change1. Historian Kathy Peiss (2002) has recently charted the ways that US cosmetics companies have relied upon and reinforced connections between healthy bodies, ‘made-up’ (female, white) faces and modernity, in efforts to market their products globally and create international mass markets. In this article, we trace similar links between bodies, race, cosmetic products and modernity, as we raise questions about whiteness and identity in Mexico, processes neatly packaged within a 30-minute, late-night infomercial peddling a skin-care solution that can produce in two weeks a white skin tone which previously required generations of racial miscegenation.
To think through how this skin-lightening product and its marketing strategies become legible and convincing within Mexico, we draw from a number of literatures that together help unpack the secrets of White Secret and the desire for white skin on which it depends. As Moraga’s autobiographical reflections and Peiss’s documenting of ‘American cosmetics abroad’ both make evident, in many contexts, ‘light’ was—and, we would add, still is—seen as ‘right’. White Secret is located squarely within this framing, as it explicitly promises white(r) skin and implicitly offers the improved socio-economic position of white privilege. As we subsequently suggest, what remains ‘secret’ in White Secret is why Mexican women want to move away from that ‘brown body’ of which Moraga wrote—a desire for lighter skin that signals the traces of a colonial past and present in Mexico. Postcolonial studies, driven ‘to invert, expose, transcend or deconstruct knowledges and practices associated with colonialism’ (Sidaway, 2000, p. 592), provide one particularly useful means of prising open these silences around questions of bodies, race and desire, as White Secret, as both product and text, resonates with many practices linked to colonialism and its deployment of racialized discourses. Postcolonial studies, in conjunction with whiteness studies and examinations of race and ethnicity in Latin America, create a useful theoretical framework through which to engage White Secret. It is to this White Secret that we now turn…
…Stepan (1991), in her analysis of eugenics in Latin America, suggests that historically, a whitening thesis in Mexico focused on a mestizo (mixed ‘blood’) ‘cosmic race’ rather than a ‘pure’ white race. This ‘cosmic race’, made famous by Mexican intellectual José Vasconcelos, was composed, at least in theory, of a racial configuration whose racial and ethnic mix surpassed all initial ingredients. The path by which Mexico could reach this ‘cosmic race’, however, led through eugenics to a set of practices that in Latin America constituted ‘above all an aesthetic-biological movement concerned with beauty and ugliness, purity and contamination, as represented in race’ (Stepan, 1991, p. 135). At the pinnacle of this movement was lighter skin, a location at which beauty and purity were concentrated and from which the ‘brown body’ denied by Moraga was successively removed over time.
Across Mexico’s ancient practice of whitening, Latin America’s eugenics of the early 1900s and a White Secret of the twenty-first century, then, the aesthetic and the biological are imbricated in a chromatic system that revolves around purity and contamination, beauty and ugliness. In all three instances that span Mexico’s post-conquest history, the chromatic system in operation is also a hierarchy of lightness for which, as Moraga noted, light is right. In this system where darker pigments signify what Ann Laura Stoler (1995) calls the ‘enemy within’ (p. 52), being Moraga’s ‘brown’ and ‘less’ remains the unspoken… This is an sample of some of Latam sad racial realities, what do you think(specifically Hispanic posters)
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:55 AM   #2
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I think we have already commented about it many times before jibaro.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:58 AM   #3
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I think we have already commented about it many times before jibaro.
I know, but we haven't made any exclusive thread for it, or has it been done already?
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:49 PM   #4
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Reminds me a bit of animal mimicry. The goal is to appear White so that it is assumed you share the other perceived characteristics of Whites.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:08 PM   #5
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Mexico discriminates against us gueros/gueras. I dont see them much on tv nor in modeling, not many Miss Mexico have been blonde.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:32 AM   #6
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Mexico discriminates against us gueros/gueras. I dont see them much on tv nor in modeling, not many Miss Mexico have been blonde.
That's actually a good point, I've heard of beauty countest in Sinaloa and Jalisco where beautiful güeras have been dicarded because they "didnt represent the Mexican women", that actually happens.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:34 AM   #7
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Reverse racism from mestizos towards off-whites?
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:35 AM   #8
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:35 AM   #9
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^:giggle:
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:43 AM   #10
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Reverse racism from mestizos towards off-whites?
"ELLA CONCURSO PARA NUESTRA BELLEZA YUCATAN 2011 Y ESTOY SEGURA QUE UNA DE LAS RAZONES POR CUAL NO GANO ES POR TENER OJOS CLAROS Y SER RUBIA PERO ELLA ES 100% YUCATECA SUS PADRES CON DE YUCATAN, Y ES 100% MEXICANA EL COLOR NO IMPORTA HEMOS TENIDO REPRESENTANTES EN MISS UNIVERSO CON EL CABELLO CLARO Y OJOS VERDES"

http://es-es.facebook.com/media/set/...8780412&type=1

Read the comments.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:45 AM   #11
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^Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:32 PM   #12
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Mexico discriminates against us gueros/gueras. I dont see them much on tv nor in modeling, not many Miss Mexico have been blonde.
I agree. Batman and I should start a blonde movement
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:55 AM   #13
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I think they do it to counter the mainstream thinking of blonde people being beautiful.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:35 AM   #14
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Who or what is a guero or guera?
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:07 AM   #15
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Who or what is a guero or guera?
This isn't actually agreed upon by all. Some Mexicans say it is just white/white-ish Mexicans while other Mexicans say it is blondes.

---------- Post added 2012-02-11 at 19:11 ----------

I think they do it to counter the mainstream thinking of blonde people being beautiful.
I think so, too. Many Mexicans don't like white Mexicans representing the country or beauty in the country.

"Esta si es belleza Mexicana, pues tiene todo lo de una Mexicana: pelo negro, ojos negros, cabellera larga, y muy bonita, pues ya ven hay muchas otras bellezas Mexicanas pero todas ellas tienen que tener u ojos azules/verdes o tienen que ser güeras y blancas, porque si se fijan casi todas las actrices Mexicanas tienen rasgos de Europea y piensan que solo asi tiene que ser la belleza Mexicana, Bibi Gaytan es una total belleza mexicana que no nececita ni ser güera ni tener ojos de color."

I don't like seeing comments like that, to be honest. I feel like they go from one extreme to another.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:12 AM   #16
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I think so, too. Many Mexicans don't like white Mexicans representing the country or beauty in the country.

"Esta si es belleza Mexicana, pues tiene todo lo de una Mexicana: pelo negro, ojos negros, cabellera larga, y muy bonita, pues ya ven hay muchas otras bellezas Mexicanas pero todas ellas tienen que tener u ojos azules/verdes o tienen que ser güeras y blancas, porque si se fijan casi todas las actrices Mexicanas tienen rasgos de Europea y piensan que solo asi tiene que ser la belleza Mexicana, Bibi Gaytan es una total belleza mexicana que no nececita ni ser güera ni tener ojos de color."

I don't like seeing comments like that, to be honest. I feel like they go from one extreme to another.
Ellos quieren promover la belleza mestiza de Mejico, si pormueven al "guero"pues para ellos es apoyar lo que piensan todos que lo europeo es lo mejor.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:43 AM   #17
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Mexico discriminates against us gueros/gueras. I dont see them much on tv nor in modeling, not many Miss Mexico have been blonde.
Then again, what % of the population is blonde? How often do you see indo-mestizo or indigenous models or actors relative to the percentage of the population they make up? One would think Mexicans look like Alteños on average going solely by telenovelas. Pred. European people, dark or light and fully white or not, are overrepresented in the media.

However, that's not to say there's no discrimination against güeros. Thoughlight eyes, light hair, and pred. European features might be idealized to a certain extent, "güeros" are often not considered as "true" Mexicans by our own compatriots. It's not a phenomenon restricted to Chicano prison gang films.

I've heard people consider only the Amerindians as "true" Mexicans. Ironically perhaps, many Amerindians don't care about or identify with the Mexican state, preferring to stick to their own nations, which have existed for far longer than 'Mexico' in many cases. If anything, independent Mexico is largely a creation of the criollo elite of the 19th century who sought to overthrow the peninsulares and install themselves as rulers. Perhaps even more importantly, criollos didn't want the Cadiz Constitution to be implemented in New Spain as it would have weakened their position and empowered the non-whites.
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:15 PM   #18
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Then again, what % of the population is blonde? How often do you see indo-mestizo or indigenous models or actors relative to the percentage of the population they make up? One would think Mexicans look like Alteños on average going solely by telenovelas. Pred. European people, dark or not, are overrepresented in the media.

However, that's not to say there's no discrimination against güeros. Thoughlight eyes, light hair, and pred. European features might be idealized to a certain extent, "güeros" are often not considered as "true" Mexicans by our own compatriots. It's not a phenomenon restricted to Chicano prison gang films.

I've heard people consider only the Amerindians as "true" Mexicans. Ironically perhaps, many Amerindians don't care about or identify with the Mexican state, preferring to stick to their own nations, which have existed for far longer than 'Mexico' in many cases. If anything, independent Mexico is largely a creation of the criollo elite of the 19th century who sought to overthrow the peninsulares and install themselves as rulers. Perhaps even more importantly, criollos didn't want the Cadiz Constitution to be implemented in New Spain as it would have weakened their position and empowered the non-whites.
On a similar note, I was looking through pictures of people in Los Altos and I was expecting something completely different. I was expecting novela people on average. Idk, people on the forums make them seem something extra out of the ordinary. Maybe the pictures fooled me, but I just didn't see it.

But yeah, maybe in novelas white Mexicans are favored, but in local regional programming, they are not. Local shows show typical mestizas more often than not. They show women like these:






The whiter typical ones are like these

Nothing out of the ordinary

And Mexicans don't seem bothered when dark Euro types represent them, only lighter ones. I bet most would be more bothered by a blonde model with native features and blue eyes than a dark one with Euro features.
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:07 PM   #19
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I think they do it to counter the mainstream thinking of blonde people being beautiful.
stupid because media is US dominates, and most blondes in the US (and anglosphere for this matter) are dyed blondes. There are in fact 100 fake blondes in hollywood every a single natural, unless you have a very wide definition and consider blond even people with medium brown hair, as it happens in some areas of the world. As for eye color there are contact lenses available everywhere and if you are not of central/northern euro descent chances are more likely you will be a brown/dark eyed person.
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:12 PM   #20
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you may not see many blondes on Mexican TV, but you also don't see as many Mestizos, it's funny you know only like the small shows and some shows on Galavision show mestizos, where that one that has the local performers on, and stuff like that, but any major show or novela never has mestizos in it.

local programming will have mestizos probably, and smaller programming, but anything of large scale has mostly whites
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