Mexico City bans the use of models at city events

They’ve long been an unmissable part of public events in Mexico, from soccer matches to trade fairs: attractive women hired to be greeters or simply as eye candy, sometimes scantily clad in short skirts and high heels or crop-tops and hot pants emblazoned with corporate logos.

Now Mexico City has prohibited the use of models known in local parlance as “edecanes” at events sponsored by the local government, breaking new ground for a country where deeply entrenched gender stereotypes often continue to relegate women to supporting roles in the workforce.

“This job should not exist,” the capital’s mayor, Jose Ramon Amieva, said in announcing the ban last week. “It goes against policies of gender equality.”

In 2014, a group of female politicians organized a forum on the topic that concluded the edecan industry sometimes is a cover for prostitution and that the models face precarious employment conditions. It estimated more than 1 million Mexicans work as hostesses or hosts, most of them in the informal sector.

Online job postings for hostesses offer salaries ranging anywhere from 5,000 pesos ($260) to 30,000 pesos ($1,560) per month, well above the current minimum wage of about $4.60 per day.

While edecanes’ presence at corporate and government events tends to be more demure than elsewhere — think blazers, high heels and slacks or knee-length skirts rather than skin-tight bodysuits — there have been some instances that attracted criticism.

In perhaps the most notorious one, the electoral institute hired a Playboy model to hand out envelopes at the first presidential debate ahead of the 2012 election. Julia Orayen emerged onstage in a tight white dress with a plunging neckline that revealed lots of cleavage, in sharp contrast to the button-up dress shirt and black suit donned by the lone female contender for the presidency, Josefina Vazquez.

And in 2016, the New Alliance party held a campaign event featuring several women in tight white stretch pants and topless save for body paint in the party’s signature turquoise and white.

At Mexico City government events, models have generally been hired to greet guests, pass microphones around for questions or simply smile onstage alongside mostly male speakers.

Indra Rubio, who coordinates the gender justice program for Oxfam in Mexico, called the capital’s model ban a “small but very important step” for a country that’s “still macho.”

“We need to question as a society: Why is a woman’s body seen as an object?” Rubio said. “This places the woman always at a disadvantage, if her participation in the workforce is subject to her physical appearance.”

Hector Garcia, a booker at the Agencia de Modelos y Edecanes in Mexico City, called it “dignified work” and said the industry’s reputation has been damaged by others who work as escorts but call themselves edecanes or models. He said the mayor’s characterization of the profession “is morally harmful and mainly stigmatizes edecanes all across Mexico.”

Model and edecan Mariel Guerrero Castano echoed that sentiment.

“He should not try to mix what other agencies or other groups, organizations are calling edecanes or models when really they are escorts or prostitution. … Then there are the legitimate agencies that are really being stained by what these supposed agencies are doing.”

The measure is part of a broader city initiative to give women greater responsibility in government. Amieva has committed to having women make up at least half the participants on expert panels at events and ensuring they get equal speaking time. Citywide, he said, public officials will be told to encourage professional growth for female employees based on their abilities and experience, not their appearance. Public servants who fail to comply may be fined.

Mexican institutions have made notable strides this year to incorporate more women in leadership positions. Nearly half the representatives in the incoming Congress will be female. Mexico City is about to get its first elected woman mayor in Claudia Sheinbaum, who won office in July. President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who takes office in December, has chosen women to fill half his Cabinet positions.

Olga Sanchez, who is slated to run the Interior Ministry under Lopez Obrador, vowed on Saturday to change the “patriarchal system” so that men take on more domestic chores and children have more rights.

But as recently as last week, the Mexican Health Ministry organized a discussion on breastfeeding that was widely mocked for its all-male panel. And an initiative called “Not Without Women Mx” that urges men to boycott forums that omit female experts from panels was launched without a single woman sitting at the lead table.

Women’s rights advocates argue that the widespread use of models at political and corporate events commodifies women as ornaments and perpetuates macho attitudes that put women at risk for gender-based violence. The World Health Organization has declared sexual violence an epidemic in Latin America with one out of three women over the age of 15 having experienced sexual assault.

Mexico City, which has a relatively large middle-class and college-educated populace compared with many other parts of the country, has been governed by leftist mayors for two decades and has frequently been at the progressive vanguard on social issues. There is a mixed track record on those changes being replicated in other, more conservative parts of the country, however.

The city legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, and that has since become law in a dozen other states and recognized as a right by the Supreme Court. But after the capital legalized first-trimester abortions on demand in 2007, over half the states passed right-to-life bills declaring that life begins at conception.

Rubio said she would like to see the model ban extend to other local governments and also be adopted at the federal level, arguing that taxpayers’ money should be spent to empower women, not objectify them.

“Women aren’t seen as having rights, as equals,” she said, “and I think this generates violence against women.”

Trending News on PVDN

  • <strong>Popocatépetl Volcano Exhibits Increased Activity; Yellow Phase 3 Alert Continues</strong>Popocatépetl Volcano Exhibits Increased Activity; Yellow Phase 3 Alert Continues PUERTO VALLARTA (PVDN) - In the past 24 hours, heightened activity was recorded from Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano, with an alarming 315 exhalations detected, accompanied by water vapor, other volcanic gases, and ash, according to the Scientific Advisory Committee (CCA) of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC). Monitoring systems in place around the active stratovolcano also…
  • 'Kingdoms of Mexico' Distinction Launches to Boost Tourist Destinations With European Influences‘Kingdoms of Mexico’ Distinction Launches to Boost Tourist Destinations With European Influences Puerto Vallarta (PVDN) - Miguel Torruco Marqués, the head of the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur), introduced the new 'Kingdoms of Mexico' distinction, a major initiative designed to enhance the appeal of Mexico's tourist communities on an international level. The announcement came during a presentation attended by the governors of Tlaxcala, Lorena Cuéllar Cisneros; Baja California,…
  • Puerto Vallarta Set to Celebrate 105th Anniversary as Municipality and 55th as a City with Grand FestivitiesPuerto Vallarta Set to Celebrate 105th Anniversary as Municipality and 55th as a City with Grand Festivities PUERTO VALLARTA - The coastal paradise of Puerto Vallarta is poised to celebrate two landmark anniversaries: the 105th anniversary of its recognition as a municipality and the 55th anniversary of its elevation to city status, with a grand commemoration on May 31, 2023. The celebrations have been meticulously planned by the municipal government led by…
  • Popocatépetl Volcano Resumes Activity; Authorities Maintain Alert StatusPopocatépetl Volcano Resumes Activity; Authorities Maintain Alert Status PUERTO VALLARTA (PVDN) - After a period of relative calm last week, Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano resumed minor activity on Friday night and through Saturday night, as reported by the National Civil Protection Coordination (CNPC). This comes following significant explosions last weekend that put nearby communities on high alert. The resumed activity was characterized by minor…
  • Two More Puerto Vallarta Beaches Are Awarded Blue FlagsTwo More Puerto Vallarta Beaches Are Awarded Blue Flags Puerto Vallarta (PVDN) - In the upcoming 2023-2024 season, Puerto Vallarta is set to host six beaches awarded with the Blue Flag accreditation, an esteemed international recognition for high environmental and quality standards. The Blue Flag committee has reconfirmed the status for four previously certified beaches while conferring this prestigious title to two new beaches…
  • LGBTIQ+ Community Member Disappears At Puerto Vallarta PrideLGBTIQ+ Community Member Disappears At Puerto Vallarta Pride PUERTO VALLARTA - A member of the local LGBTIQ+ community has gone missing under mysterious circumstances, inciting deep concern within the community and calls for immediate action from local authorities. Rubén Michel Castro Guizar, 32, a deaf individual, was last seen on the night of Thursday, May 25th, attending the Vallarta Pride march. His disappearance…
  • Trans Fats Ban in Mexico Will Prohibit the Sale of Cookies, Chips, Pizzas, and More in SeptemberTrans Fats Ban in Mexico Will Prohibit the Sale of Cookies, Chips, Pizzas, and More in September Puerto Vallarta (PVDN) - The Chamber of Deputies in Mexico has taken a critical step in the battle against heart disease, approving a decree that reforms the General Health Law to restrict the use of trans fats and oils. The move is predicted to save more than 13,000 lives per year, with these substances currently…
  • SEAPAL Vallarta Launches New Vallarta II Tank to Reinforce Drinking Water SupplySEAPAL Vallarta Launches New Vallarta II Tank to Reinforce Drinking Water Supply PUERTO VALLARTA (PVDN) - SEAPAL Vallarta, the local water management authority, announced the successful integration and activation of the new Vallarta II Tank to its drinking water distribution system on Tuesday, May 30. This strategic addition is expected to enhance the availability of water in Vallarta homes, a pressing issue in the wake of the…
  • Mothers Searching For Their Missing Children Uncover Presumed Clandesant Grave in Puerto VallartaMothers Searching For Their Missing Children Uncover Presumed Clandesant Grave in Puerto Vallarta PUERTO VALLARTA (PVDN) - A team of mothers seeking their missing children made a chilling discovery on the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta Saturday afternoon: a skeleton, fragments of bones, and several indications pointing towards a potential site of illegal body disposal. The area of discovery, located near the road to Viejo el Veladero, close to…
  • Tactical Groups Are Added to the Streets and Beaches of Puerto VallartaTactical Groups Are Added to the Streets and Beaches of Puerto Vallarta Puerto Vallarta (PVDN) - As a component of the safety strategies initiated at the Citizen Security Police Station, members from the Tactical Operations Group (GOT) have been bolstering street patrols all over Puerto Vallarta. Following directives from Commissioner Rigoberto Flores Parra and Mayor Luis Alberto Michel Rodríguez, these officers ensure a visible and protective presence…

Compare Listings

Title Price Status Type Area Purpose Bedrooms Bathrooms