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NCFM Baja Liaison Robert Yourell scheduled to become Mexico’s first English-language newscaster!

August 11, 2011
By

Robert (Bob) Yourell is our NCFM Liaison in Baja, Mexico. Aside from which, he is a therapist and writer. He also develops continuing education courses for mental health workers, and consults on mental health issues for the English-speaking community in Baja. He offers the free Shimmering Workbook for a valuable self-help skill, and his Sounds for Inner Space series at www.PsychInnovations.com . Feel free to visit his website and support his work.

As of this week Bob became Mexico’s first English-language newscaster! He will be broadcasting and reporting news for CNR Channel 54 Rosarito. Along with news, he’ll be doing interviews emphasizing culture and life in Rosarito, human interest stories of interest to expats, especially Americans. There may even be some opportunity to highlight gender issues in a helpful way.

Rosarito is a few clicks by car south of San Diego and well worth the trip. Broad beaches, warm Pacific water, and plentiful fishing have been a mainstay of the area for decades. The town is world famous for its annual 50 mile bicycle ride along the Pacific Coast and inland through rural countryside finishing at Ensenada. Or, our friend Bob lives in a little piece of paradise.

Bob reports that he has good bilingual teammate, Elma Sotomayor, director of volunteers for the Red Cross down Rosarito way. He says “It’s kind of different than in the U.S., because they operate actual hospitals.” Is it possible that she might be related to a certain U.S. Supreme Court Justice?

Bob’s also strategizing on ways to better communicate with folks in Baja re men’s rights issues. We know there are serious men’s right issues in Mexico as demonstrated by the huge rallies that have taken place, though not in Rosarito of which we know.

NCFM will soon launch the blog NCFM Mexico or NCFM Baja so Bob can keep us better informed as things progress. Stay tuned, this should be interesting.

Bob will be sending us his “Impressions from Mexico” too. Here are the first three:

#1 Impression – The Macho Oppression of Women in Mexico:

… I Mean, the Enjoyment of Nachos by Men and Women in Mexico

I’m writing from Rosarito, which, in a way, is barely in Mexico. It’s a short distance from the busiest border crossing in the world, where southern California and Baja California share so many people and so much culture and business activity. Did you know Mexico is America’s number one trading partner?

In my first posts, I’d like to talk about men indirectly, by sharing some impressions that suggest that in Mexico, men can’t be characterized as macho oppressors. There’s a general idea in some circles that Latin culture is about machismo, and that machismo equals oppression of women. I’ve heard complaints about men from women in Mexico, but not of pervasive oppression. Research tells us that Mexico has better overall mental health than the U.S. When I watch how people interact, I usually sense a feeling of ease that matches those statistics.

When I bring up civil rights (derechos humanos) in Mexico, even when I directly mention men and women, the overshadowing issues Mexicans immediately bring up are usually about class, poverty, and corruption as they affect people in general, rather than by gender.

Consider jobs. If there is any concern that women are kept out of good jobs, have a look at Tijuana’s roster of municipal employees at www.tijuana.gob.mx/directorio/index.asp. I don’t think women will find much to be troubled by as far as that goes, at least. Statistics show a discrepancy nationwide, but I am under the impression that this is trending toward equality (especially with the government attention and commissions on equality for women), and is also reflective of historical cultural roles more than exclusion. Perhaps a sociologist in the readership has a different perspective?

#2 Impressions – So, men in Mexico can’t be characterized as oppressors of women…

I was saying that men in Mexico can’t be characterized as oppressors of women. I have some experiences that contribute to this feeling.

The first thing that I noticed about women in Mexico is their statuesque way of walking. Most of the women (and teenage girls) project a confidence and spontaneity that does not convey oppression. Similarly, I notice a male style of confidence. I’m told that if I spend more time in the poorer areas, I would not see so much confidence. But that’s about a whole other set of issues.

I was sitting at a luncheon with a male and female team of Mexican government representatives recently and asked about their impressions. They said there were rights issues pertaining to men and women. They mentioned women being abusive about getting assets in divorces. They said protection for women from domestic violence had improved because men are now receiving jail sentences for this. There was no mention of physically abused men. Maybe that’s for another time.

In this pair, the woman was a little more official in her behavior, while the man was more into sharing some jokes (after all, we were on a lunch/networking break). But there was a point in the conversation where the woman wanted to keep up the momentum. When the man started to sidetrack, she gave his arm a shove. He got the message and allowed the conversation to stay on its focus.

It’s funny that this would happen right after a discussion of men’s and women’s roles, no? Americans like me have to get used to the fact that things are more physical. People stand much closer in a conversation. When I visit a big family socially, getting out of the house is a process of getting hugs from everybody, including all the kids. You acquire a different relationship with time, if you’re flexible enough. But the Mexicans that are used to Americans being more standoffish will reach out for a handshake, and do their own kind of vigorous version of it…or at least that’s what I’ve experienced so far.

#3 Impression – Mexican Slices of Life

In my first posts on gender matters in Mexico, I’m merely writing as a gringo who has gone around asking questions and making observations. I have a couple more stories for you about everyday life gender experiences.

I know a couple in which the husband, who is white, owns a business with his wife, who is Latina and speaks native Spanish. Because of the better prices and negotiations the wife can get in Mexico, she has taken over most of the business activity. Now, the husband is looking to start another business so he can have more to do. He seems to have inborn business talent, so I think he’ll soon have a new business.

Meanwhile, the wife complains that she has to put up with a lot of inappropriate come-ons from the guys, and has stopped doing business with the ones that wouldn’t shape up. Some of the Mexicans I’ve discussed this kind of thing with feel that many of the men need a lot more educating. They’ve said a lot of the guys are pretty backward. On the other hand, they’ve told me stories about how those men have been responsive to getting some educating.

There’s an expression that is very insulting to women: pinche vieja. Directly translated to English, it seems to mean “irritating old woman,” but it’s actually very derogatory. A woman I know asked a parking lot attendant about his family. He had all daughters and referred to them, half joking, with this term.  She pointedly asked him, “Who do you think is going to clean your shitty balls when you’re an old man? His response: “Yeah, I guess I shouldn’t say that.”

This is one example of a number of experiences I’ve had demonstrating that women in Mexico (where I’ve been, at least) have no problem with speaking their mind.

The line at a bank was too long one day, and a woman in line started making some comments loud enough for everyone to hear. She was basically accusing the bank of saving money at their expense. At first there were a couple uncomfortable looks, and then a few knowing chuckles. She seemed to have a way of turning a phrase. But nobody came and ushered her out.

But what about the big picture: fights around civil rights that pertain specifically to men? I am asking friends with access to assemble materials for me on this. We’ll see what they have.
Take a stress break:

Unique five-minute mindfulness meditation audio:
www.Yourell.com/ShimmerSample.mp3

Robert A. Yourell, LMFT

Preparing people for challenges

619/677-6970
Toll free: 877/266-8880
San Diego, California, USA
Rosarito, Baja California

Robert@Yourell.com
Skype: yourell

Yourell.com

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5 Responses to NCFM Baja Liaison Robert Yourell scheduled to become Mexico’s first English-language newscaster!

  1. Robert_Yourell on August 19, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Hi, I just recorded a news piece with editorial content on the program (regarding misuse of statistics against men related to a study done in Mexico). So far, it is an English-language cable newscast and interview program that serves Rosarito primarily. It is a small station, so it's more for me to get practice improvising in front of a TV camera than to have a major impact (yo no soy Edward R Murrow). But, every bit helps. So perhaps some of the interviews and additional news pieces will help to propagate a more balanced view of gender issues and a more inclusive view of men's rights.

  2. Ray2447 on August 12, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Welcome. It's great to see this happening.

  3. Harry on August 12, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    I'm looking forward to learning more about how NCFM might become more involved in helping like minded men and women in Mexico. Bob brings refreshing perspectives and bag ideas to the table. I'm thinking that soon he will tell us how NCFM can link to his radio show too. Nice work Mr. Yourell!

  4. robertyourell on August 11, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    Thanks, Harry for posting! Glad you liked the pieces, Marc. One of the things I've been hearing loud and clear from Mexicans is that there are issues that so overshadow the political and human rights landscape, like the drug war and poverty, that gender issues have not taken center stage in the way that they have in the U.S. But then, the history is different as well, considering that Mexico didn't have to have a suffrage movement (for example). But, of course, there are men's and women's issues, and I'll continue to chat folks up and do my homework on these issues.

  5. Marc on August 11, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Sweet!!!!

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