Taking the machismo out of rape

A blow-up sex doll illustrates an anti-rape campaign poster in Mexico

One more look at how certain countries are lagging behind in human rights: Mexico’s huge misogyny problem. From the Beeb:

Mexico’s government is using blow-up sex dolls in a new TV campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace.

The ads feature dolls, dressed as secretaries and maids, who have to put up with leering and groping from male colleagues.

Officials say the aim of the campaign is to make clear that women are not sexual objects.

President Vicente Fox acknowledged on Wednesday that Mexico has to do more to overcome widespread machismo.

“Our society still has a long way to go in overcoming hangovers from the past, eradicating prejudice and changing habits,” he said.

However, Mr Fox has himself caused offence recently by joking that women were just “washing machines with two legs”.

My, what a charmer. That’s so funny I forgot to laugh.

Mr. Fox has conveniently left out the fact that in the border regions, where the maquiladoras dominate the local economy, women are just sewing machines with legs. Essentially disposable, particularly to the mysterious perpetrators who are “disappearing” and murdering them. This abject exploitation brought to you by NAFTA–the same, incidentally, which Vicente Fox heartily supports, endorses, and is trying (unsuccessfully, thank heaven) to promote elsewhere in Latin America.

Fortunately, Fox’s days in office are numbered; Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is gaining fast on him, and seems likely to take July’s election, if the leftward tide throughout Latin America is anything to go by. Meanwhile, the Zapatistas (who are noteworthy for their share of feministas as well) are keeping things hot even in regions far from the border (but close, as always, to poverty and oppression.)

As yet, Mexico doesn’t have its own Hugo Chavez, but that doesn’t mean it can’t take an example from the Bolivarian Revolution, especially as it relates to women. But to make it stick, they have to shrug off the shackles of NAFTA–and put down any dog who’s willing to wear that collar.

After all, how can a country’s women be truly free, dignified and respected if the #1 man in the land is just a cringing toady to other powers himself?

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