By Jack Nichols
In what nation is the following unsigned ad—aimed at women-- appearing in a host of city newspapers?
"You are the pillar of your family and society. Think about it. Don't permit the destruction of your family or the denigration of women."
This ad is all the rage in Mexico, the land of hard-core machismo. There, tough-guy theatrics have been, perhaps, more pointedly defined than in any other place on earth.
Knowing how such macho play-acting (showcasing strutting roosters running amok) promotes a heartless "culture of death," I've often wondered what forces might possibly be employed to undermine Mexican machismo.
I knew, certainly, that a gender revolution had long been both necessary and inevitable, but I had no way of knowing in 1975 (at the time my critique of macho codes was published) how or when a revolt just South of the Border would begin.
Now, an institution no less reputable than the theatre is suddenly providing macho Mexico with the non-violent ammunition that's been needed to turn its culture of machismo upside down, if not backside out.
Male strippers—top notch beauties-- are becoming all the rage. Hundreds of thousands of Mexican women are attending a show "For Women Only"—and are throwing their panties at the hot-blooded male bodies on display. Officials of the Roman Catholic Church are freaking. Big time.
Inspired by a 1997 British film The Full Monty, about amateur male strippers in Sheffield, a group of 10 of Mexico's best-loved professional actors—hunks whose faces grace the nation's TV and movie screens these days-- have launched the long-awaited revolution against machismo of which I've dreamed.
TV star Sergio Mayer, who bares his bottom to shrieks of approval from adoring women, is among the leading Mexican revolutionary theatrical-strategists. He knows perfectly well the social ramifications inherent in what he's doing. What he's effecting, he explains, is a revolution against the "culture of machismo."
Bravo! Sergio Mayer for President!
Even so, Mayer didn't anticipate he'd precipitate an avalanche of political, social and religious opposition. His choreographer has made clear her revolutionary intentions by saying she wants Mexicans to think twice about who's running their lives, namely the church and the state.
The Roman Catholic Church, unnerved, feels itself under assault. How can it compete with wild but natural impulses rising from the breasts of once-sequestered couch potatoes who've now been offered an opportunity to squeeze those 'naughty parts' put so shamelessly on display by their favorite soap opera beaus, handsome men who've filled up their daytime fantasies with thoughts unbecoming in Virgin Mary supposed-to-be's.
Alarmed priests have begun insisting that visits to the confessional are required for such unladylike renegades, an army of the faithful, numbering over 200,000. Right wing politicians, taken by surprise, are denouncing this flesh-flash development as a threat to the nuclear family.
Ha ha ha ha.
Mexican women—creating out of smoldering sexual desires their revolution against repression—aren't in the tradition of such toad-brained yokels in the USA like the prudish Andrea Dworkin and John Stoltenberg. No. Feminism's main hopes in Mexico are greatly tied to sex. Mexican machismo is a politics that rests in great part on the chastity goddess, the Virgin Mary. It is this icon—not real men and women—that's an endangered species.
What Mexican women are showing us all, and what is truly revolutionary about their enthusiasm, is that women are sexual beings. In case we forget.
Demonstrating this truth in a patriarchal culture is heresy. For too long, men have not wanted to face that their sisters, cousins, aunts and mothers may just possibly like sex. A lot. Maybe, in some cases, they may like sex more than many men do. Oooooo.
What this really means is: Don Juan must worry about impulses in women he's never before considered: voracious, unbridled, passionate sexual enthusiasms. The pious church-going women in his life are suddenly looking to him like shrieking whores as they gaze on the beautiful butts of hunky studs.
Does our poor neglected Don Juan have a beautiful butt? He doesn't want to have to worry about that. He thinks he shouldn't have to worry about that. He's never heard that what's good for the goose is good for whom?
Macho men don't wiggle their butts like these male strippers are doing. Worst-case scenario here, Don Juan? She went inside the theatre, right? So she's obviously hot for some actor guy's (translate Screen God's) ass—and-- maybe she even gets to fondle it. Because the show's called "For Women Only" you've got no way to know if she's pinching those 'naughty parts' of his she's drooling over. I feel for you, man. You used to have it good. At least you thought she was a virgin. This must be hell.
Sure you had it but good: strip joints and sexy-sales women have always been just frolicsome kicks for you in a land where mistresses are no cause for allowable fusses. You could have a whole harem, right? But now SHE's turned the tables on you, Don Juan. She's becoming a regular Taslima Nasrin. Do you know who that is? I didn't think so.
Get over it, though, and don't go killing innocent people or beating them up in your process of finding yourself. As you enter humanity's next evolutionary phase, be sure, you'll get over your machismo too.
Now you know something about women you didn't know before. You know that the old pose you once so appreciated in them, their being the very purest virgins except in the company of one man—you-- is just a stupid myth.
Art—in this case theatrical art-- does it work best when it uncovers common dissatisfactions and points to little known truths.
But eager to hide the naked truth from its citizenry, the town fathers of Puebla tried to stop the planned entertainment because the cast had rejected an appeal to fig-leaf its genitalia in the final scene. A compromise was reached with the introduction of rent-a-cops, placed strategically to prevent too much groping by the women.
Anti-stripping demonstrations have broken out from coast to coast while Mexico's legislators, fuming and jealous, seek ways to padlock strip clubs for women. But not strip clubs for men, no. Those, natch, are a phenomenon of nature.
Needless to say, with all this blither about The Full Mexican Monte, "For Women Only" is headed next month for—where else?—Las Vegas.