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Captive beauty

1 March 2010

It seems prime for snark, but there’s something wonderful about the whole idea of the “Captive Beauty” pageant scheduled for next Monday (8 March) at the Centro de Readacíon Social Feminil in Ciudad Juarez.  As the name of the sponsoring institute (and present residence of the several contestants) indicates, the purpose of such facilities is not to punish the personm nor to “break” them of anti-social behaviors, but to re-adapt the person to an ability to function in “normal” society.  One may disapprove of beauty contests in general, but there is no denying they are part of “normal” Mexican society, and these “normal” women — all but one serving sentences related to “crimes against public health” ,  i.e., narcotics offenses (the exception is doing time for murder) — are participating in a normal part of Mexican life.

If there is a “point” to the exercise, beyond just recognizing the incarcerated as human beings, it is to recreate a communal activity (beauty pageants require make up artists, stage designers, trainers, seamstresses, somebody to set up the hall, judges and so on) within the walls, and to present a slightly more benign image to the world of those we have temporarily cast aside.

From Ciro Gómez Leyva’s Milenio TV report:


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