My tragically unfulfilled yearning for tacos has caused my giant but somewhat chemically altered brain to fixate on the cradle of the world’s finest culinary creation. By which I mean Mexico.
Most Americans have never heard of Mexico.You might recognize it as that area just to the south of the American Southwest that supplies honkys in California with commercially exploitable brown people, such maids and gardeners and people to pick fruit for cheap, and as the place where that honky chef Rick Bayless rips off all his cooking ideas.
Not surprisingly–because as paradigms go, it’s one of the paradigmiest–patriarchy has made impressive strides in Mexico. The North American Free Trade Agreement, for example, has been a nice fat plum for The Man. Now rich foreign companies can set up cheap-crap factories along the Mexican border, where they profit lavishly from local desperation. The factories are called maquiladoras. The workers, the majority of whom are women, are paid a laughable driblet of what the rich companies would have to pay fully human male Americans. They work in hazardous conditions and live in cardboard shacks without plumbing or electricity.
It will not surprise you to hear that the women maquilas, because they are members of the sex class, suffer at work the usual extra humiliation and violence associated with being female on this planet. Their male bosses fuck with them. They get fired if they get pregnant. In Ciudad Juarez, for example, women are often murdered on the way to work, just for the hell of it. Their babies are born with lots of birth defects. That’s because, owing to lax regulatory structures, the foreign-owned maquiladoras can dump their toxic waste right into the Mexican dirt without so much as a hey-ho-how’s-your-toe.
An article in the Houston Chronicle reminds me that it’s so dangerous to be a woman in Mexico that the government has set up a special commission on "femicide," which is not when a human being is killed, but when a woman is killed. In Mexico City there are supposedly 6 or 7 rapes a day, although any chump knows, based on the degree to which Mexican tradition terrorizes women and basks in misogyny, that there really are a lot more. Mexico’s own National Institute of Women estimates that 85% of violent crimes against women go unreported. As usual, it’s the rural, indigenous women who, furthest from any kind of support systems, are the most abused.
"Some women" quoth a sympathetic Mexican government official for "women’s issues," "believe violence is their destiny."
It thoroughly chaps the Twisty hide that, although it’s men who are, you know, perpetrating it, violence is still seen as a women’s issue, as the responsibility of women. There’s a Mexican ad campaign to raise public awareness of domestic violence where famous Mexican women are shown with fake bruises. Here’s a thought. Why not show famous Mexican men with their dicks chopped off? Women’s issue my ass.
The brutalization of Mexican women is such a beloved sacrament that marital rape wasn’t even declared illegal until two weeks ago. Naturally such a sane and anti-patriarchal step has engendered a nasty backlash. The theory put forth by one male psychologist is that women will use the new law to "punish husbands." This psychopath envisions an epidemic of scenarios where the wife "roughs herself up to make it look as though her husband beat her and forced her to have sex. If there’s no witness, how will the judge know if she is lying?"
Yup. I would certainly punch myself in the face and break a few of my own ribs the second I found out marital rape was illegal, just to get back at my slob of a husband for not taking out the trash.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Want to set up your own maquiladora? Here’s how.
A Few Foreign-Owned Mexican Maquiladoras [source: CorpWatch.org]
â€¢ 3 Day Blinds
â€¢ 20th Century Plastics
â€¢ Acer Peripherals
â€¢ Bali Company, Inc.
â€¢ Bayer Corp./Medsep
â€¢ Canon Business Machines
â€¢ Casio Manufacturing
â€¢ Eastman Kodak/Verbatim
â€¢ Eli Lilly Corporation
â€¢ Fisher Price
â€¢ Foster Grant Corporation
â€¢ General Electric Company
â€¢ Hewlett Packard
â€¢ Hitachi Home Electronics
â€¢ Honeywell, Inc.
â€¢ Hughes Aircraft
â€¢ Hyundai Precision America
â€¢ Maxell Corporation
â€¢ Mercedes Benz
â€¢ Mitsubishi Electronics Corp.
â€¢ Pioneer Speakers
â€¢ Samsonite Corporation
â€¢ Sanyo North America
â€¢ Sony Electronics