Actress Yalitza Aparicio is trending on social networks this weekend. Mainly because premiered as a newspaper columnist The New York Times. "In Mexico, 'Rome' lit a flame for workers' rights," is the title of the article written by the also a teacher of basic education in the prestigious American newspaper.
"A role in Alfonso Cuarón's film showed me how art can provide a voice for the marginalized”, Read the beginning of the article, which, as Aparicio pointed out, was originally written in Spanish and translated into English for publication.
Precisely it refers to art since, as the publication describes, Yalitza's column is part of a special section in which more than a dozen artists, writers and thinkers answer the question: "Why does art matter?".
Statement to which Aparicio responds: “It was my participation in this film (Rome) that led me to better appreciate the importance of art. Art sheds light on urgent, necessary and sometimes painful problems that are not always easy to tackle because we as a society have not been able to solve them. Art reveals our brutal reality, a reality that is complex, diverse and often unfair, but it also presents us with the incredible opportunity to give voice to the unheard of and visibility to the invisible. ”
The actress nominated for an Oscar in 2019 for her leading role in the Mexican film "Roma" also touched on a theme that has haunted her since she became famous: discrimination in Mexico.
“I never thought that a single film could generate social awareness and change. But when director Alfonso Cuarón released his movie “Roma” in 2018, with me in the lead role, that was exactly what happened. Suddenly, people in my home country of Mexico were talking about topics that have long been taboo here: racism, discrimination against indigenous communities and especially the rights of domestic workers, a group that has historically been deprived of its rights in Mexican society ”.
And the publication of Aparicio's column could not be more ad hoc in its timing.
In social networks His name had already become a trend due to a thread that claimed that Netflix Latin America only gave visibility to wealthy and fair-skinned people in their productions - also marked as whitexicans-, generating the impression that this is how all Mexicans are. It was then that they began to name Yalitza, in order to discredit the complaint, since They recalled that when she was nominated for an Oscar, many Mexicans, far from supporting her, attacked her for not being a career actress but also for her indigenous origins..
So Aparicio, while promoting his first column on the NYT, took the opportunity to send a message about racism.
"Hello everyone, I'm here working to help my country become less racist while I'm trending because of it. I take this opportunity to share my first article for the @nytimes, hope you like. How's your Saturday going? ”Wrote the actress on her Twitter account.
“I have first-hand experience with this type of discrimination. After I was nominated for an Academy Award for playing 'Cleo', racist comments began to circulate on social media. Users questioned why I was nominated, making references to my ethnic and social background. An indigenous woman was not a worthy representative of the country, some said.. It was difficult for me to see and hear these kinds of statements. But thanks to them, real conversations were happening. Finally, These discussions highlighted the cultural and political importance of diversity in society, art, and the media.Yalitza tells about the racism and discrimination that he had to endure as a result of gaining popularity after the premiere of ‘Rome’ in 2018.
Activism for domestic workers
The Aparicio column, as its name implies, also highlights and vindicates the work of domestic workers in Mexico.
"On May 14, 2019, a few months After the Oscar ceremony, in which “Roma” won three awards, the Mexican Congress unanimously approved a bill that gives the two million domestic workers in the country rights to social protections and an employment contract. in writing, along with mandatory benefits of the law, such as paid vacation days, Christmas bonuses and days off, ”the actress related in the text.
And with good reason. The National Council to Prevent Discrimination (Conapred) has already warned about the condition of this labor sector in Mexico where - according to official statistical data from 2018 - 2.3 million people are engaged in housework, and nine out of ten are women.
The Conapred indicates that domestic workers have historically been subject to structural discrimination, because they face obstacles to exercise their rights due, above all, to the very nature of their employment. Furthermore, they add to the fact that most of society does not consider housework as a “real” occupation, but as part of women's “normal” or “natural” activities. Thus, it is a particularly invisible and stigmatized sector.
“Cleo had a very profound effect on my life, and playing her put me on my current path: I am using my newly discovered activism to improve social conditions in Mexico, defend gender equality and promote diversity wherever I can.. In short, I am trying to build a better world, one in which we are not judged by our appearance or typography for certain roles, and where we are not limited by what we see, read or hear"Emphasizes the actress.
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