I had promised myself I would not comment on Zuleyka’s reception. I had made a deliberate effort to remind myself not to go anywhere near television or newspapers. I don’t want to turn my blog into just another rant blog. But fate intervened. My mom invited us to have lunch with her and she made lamb. I can’t really say no to that. She happened to have the tv on while she was cooking so I got to see some of the footage and hear the insightful commentary.
One commentator went on at great length about how Zuleyka was a great example to all of us, coming from a family of limited means… she is a product of the public schools system and when we think about the “crisis de valores” going on we can take her as an example of perseverance and triumph, she accomplished all she’s accomplished coming from this background. Really. That’s the best public schools can produce. Beauty queens. Never mind intellectuals, artists (of the visual or written kind, not of the look pretty and wave variety), even the engineers, architects, teachers.
Then we see the crowds gathered to worship a skinny teenager in a gauzy dress. And the media is out en force. I mean every reporter is out there, pretending they care about a teenage beauty queen. Honestly.
The rhetoric was enough to make me want to vomit (and not out of solidarity with rumors of eating disorders). An example of what Puerto Rican women can accomplish. That’s a juicy sound bit. I can accomplish that. Accomplish WHAT? Can the average Puerto Rican woman honestly identify with this circus? I hope not, not if we want to keep a shard of dignity intact.
‘El orgullo de Puerto Rico’ is another good soundbite. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with this young woman. I hope she is successful in her dream of being an actress. But I can think of a lot of other things I’d rather be proud of as a Puertorriqueña before Miss Universe even crosses my mind.
Hours of footage of her waving. Boy am I proud!