Sex sells, but can it also get out the vote? A philosophy professor running for Mexican congress aims to find out. She and six of her Party of the Democratic Revolution colleagues went topless for a campaign billboard that is stirring up drama in the conservative city of Guadalajara.
Say what you will, but you have to hand it to the Mexican women behinds these ads. If nothing else, they should be given full marks for creativity. In a overwhelmingly patriarchal society like Mexico, female political candidates have a difficult time being viewed as credible. Not that topless billboards will ensure that female candidates are taken seriously, of course…but if nothing else at least they’ll attract attention and perhaps start a conversation.
Natalia Juarez, running for the Congressional seat in Jalisco’s 8th district, understands and accepts that her candidacy won’t be taken seriously because she’s a woman. She know that Conservatives won’t vote for her regardless of her policies or her state of undress. That being the case, why not be outrageous? Why not tweak the tender sensibilities of those who still believe that a woman’s place is either a) in the kitchen, or b) on her back?
It’s sad that women are forced to resort to methods that in this country would be considered obscene and demeaning (and would never see the light of day), but if it creates controversy and gets Mexican voters to think about a female candidate, perhaps it’s worthwhile.
Ms. Juarez expects to unveil an even more provocative ad prior to the July 1st election. Her hope is to attract attention; if she’s successful, perhaps voters will take notice of her policy positions. It’s a long shot, and the likelihood of success is near zero, but when you don’t expect to win in the first place what do you have to lose?
Juarez is at least trying to draw attention to drugs and the oppressive, senseless violence generated by widespread trafficking in Mexico. She’s trying to convince voters that it’s long past time to begin thinking differently about how Mexico deals with its drug problem. It’s not as if the current tactics are working; narcotraffickers continue to kill indiscriminately, and many cities are de facto war zones. Yet the Mexican government continues to believe that they can win their war on drugs even though the enemy has superior resources and firepower, in addition to being ruthless.
I’d say that a topless billboard is the least of Mexico’s problems these days….