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Feminism is fight for equality not women’s superiority, Mexican actress says

Panama City, Apr 11 (EFE).- An Academy Award-nominated Mexican actress said in an interview with EFE in this capital that she wants to use her meteoric rise to fame to fight for women’s rights and urged people not to distort the definition of feminism.

Yalitza Aparicio, a best-actress nominee at the upcoming Platino Awards for Ibero-American Cinema for her role in the Oscar-winning film “Roma,” said the term feminist arouses distrust in some sectors of society and lamented that women also erroneously associate it with “feminine superiority” and contempt for men.

“Being a feminist means seeking gender equality, not demonstrating superiority. We’re all equal and we deserve the same rights,” the actress said.
Aparicio, who participated in the International Film Festival Panama (IFF Panama), which ran from April 4-10, said in her hotel room that gradual strides are being made toward gender equality.

Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio speaks in an interview, after being named honor guest of the 8th International Film Festival of Panama (IFF), in a hotel in Panama City, Panama, 10 April 2019. Aparicio has stated that she wants to use her meteoric fame to fight for women’s rights and asked not to misrepresent the definition of feminism. EFE/ Bienvenido Velasco

She added that more and more men are supportive of this cause even though they may not publicly declare themselves feminist for fear of becoming a target of discrimination.

“We’ve already achieved progress (in terms of equality), and I hope we don’t desist from what we’re doing,” the actress said.

The 25-year-old native of the impoverished southern Mexican state of Oaxaca was among the best-actress nominees at this year’s Academy Awards for her role in the 2018 film “Roma,” becoming the first indigenous woman to receive that honor.

“One day I was studying to be a teacher. I finished my degree and the next day I became an actress,” Aparicio said, adding that she plans to continue her acting career and is now studying different proposals.

“I’m open to any type of role and (want to) keep portraying these common, everyday women,” she added.
Aparicio plays the role of Cleo, a young Mixtec domestic employee for an upper-middle-class family, in “Roma,” a film set in the early 1970s in Mexico City that won Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography (Alfonso Cuaron) and Best Director (Cuaron) and leads the way with nine Platino nominations.

Filmed in black and white and based on events in Cuaron’s childhood, “Roma” pays tribute to domestic employees who make the lives of millions of families around the world easier through their commitment and dedication, Aparicio said.

She added that Cuaron’s film also honors the women who helped shape his life and is an ode to all women “in general.”

“In my community, women are the mainstay of families and the ones who keep us going.”

The film has brought attention to the harsh labor conditions encountered by many domestic employees and led to these workers recently being given social security protection in Mexico.

“I was one of those people who didn’t see the impact a film could have. ‘Roma’ has achieved a lot, but it’s mainly up to governments, domestic workers and employers” to fight for the dignity of this profession, she said.

The path to stardom of this young former teacher has been far from smooth. Aparicio has had to endure criticism of her lack of experience and even been mocked for her indigenous origins.

“You don’t have to get to Hollywood to realize that this profession is tough and there’s discrimination. I hope things change and there are more opportunities for people and we put aside the stereotypes that have affected us so much as a society,” she said.

One of Aparicio’s fellow contenders for the Platino Award for Best Actress is fellow “Roma” cast member Marina de Tavira, who plays the role of the family’s mother.

The other two nominees in that category are Ana Brun and Penelope Cruz, who starred in “Las herederas” (The Heiresses) and “Todos lo Saben” (Everybody Knows), respectively.

The sixth Platino Awards ceremony will take place on May 12 and be held for the second year in a row at the Gran Tlachco Theater in Xcaret Park, a theme park near the southeastern Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen.

Aparicio was one of the celebrity guests at the IFF Panama, where she received the Keys to the City from the Panama City mayor’s office.

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