¡Viva las chicas!… er ¡SEÑORITAS!
What are the rights of youth?
At least in the Federal District, where there has been a remarkable string of good faith efforts to create fairness and equality among citizens, one assumes the rights of youths are simply the right to a decent home, enough food and an education, recreation and … for every 15 year old making the transition from girl to woman… a quinceañera?
In a place where the laws against discrimination go beyond “race, color and creed, age, disability, gender, and sexual orientation” to include economic condition why should economically disadvantaged young women be denied one of the essential rites of Mexican womenhood?
IN 2007, the Federal District held a rather modest quinenañera for disadvantaged young women, mostly girls who were wards of the district courts or social service agencies. Being a program sponsored by the socialist PRD administration, of course the rich sniffed about it, and the conservatives wanted to complain, but the Army was called in… or, rather, the military academy’s cadets… in full dress uniforms: young women from group homes and juvenile halls and orphanages need a properly turned out escort as much as the young lady from Polanco or Lomas, and perhaps is more deserving.
While I suppose there are a few who still complain about the expense of a few city buses, some traffic cops, museum, the Auditorio Nacional, most of the costs are picked up by the capital’s florists, couturiers (one dressmaker created a dozen of his 4000 peso confections for this year’s event), hair-dressers, shoe-makers, musicians, seamstresses and ordinary people who see their way to right a bit of the inequality in society, giving the girls the right to enjoy the one one rite at which we must all stop and admire her as she is saluted as a unique and promising young woman.
And when the people themselves embrace not their own daughters, but three hundred and forty-six unique and promising young women who would otherwise be the anonymous poor, it’s … well… true magic realism.