Because we live in a Trump-era world, some might actually be ignorant enough to believe that all Mexicans are rapists and criminals. In an attempt to change that hateful narrative about us, on September 28, Netflix released Made In Mexico – a reality show that puts young rich Mexicans center stage. Ironically, the subjects of this documentary series appear as superficial, out-of-touch, and privileged as Ivanka and her siblings.
The ironic part is that I actually was craving a show just like Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset, but after the first episode of Made In Mexico I quickly realized that showing Mexicans as the 1 percent is not doing us any favors.
The cast features nine people – all from wealthy families, all fair-skinned, many of them blonde, and all completely consumed with their social media personas. Now you’re probably thinking that’s what most reality shows are made of, but is this a fair representation of Mexicans? It depends on who you ask.
Rich Mexicans (also known as fresas) are a pretty common sight in Mexico City, but again it’s not how the majority of Mexicans live. Another constant image seen on the show is of darker-skinned women, domestic workers, raising their bosses’ kids and running their bosses’ households. Hmm. Yet still, I was hooked.
I binge-watched the entire series (eight episodes about an hour each), and then the storylines sort of shifted. Yes, these people are self-obsessed, but they also address being on the reality show as it’s happening in real-time. They don’t pretend they’re all friends or as if the cameras weren’t there. That narrative approach is refreshing. The cast knows they’re being watched because of their lifestyle; they know how ridiculous the reality show concept is, and yet they cannot escape their frivolity even while dealing with some “real-life” issues.
If Netflix wants to, I don’t know, perhaps include some brown people next season with real occupations, I may tune in again. But don’t take it from me, here’s what social media is saying.
The false notion that having lighter skin makes a person more appealing is something darker-skinned people have been dealing with since forever. While we know that Mexicans come in all colors, the notion that these nine fair-skinned people represent Mexico’s diverse culture is laughable.
Classism + Colorism
Another appalling aspect to the show is the complete separation of upper class and everyone else. The show, and the cast, have no issues parading the division between help and master. The only time you see brown people on the show is when they’re servicing their employer.
The majority of the cast grew up with money and privilege, and now they live a life of luxury and post it on social media. If they’re not working as models, TV personalities, or bloggers, they’re showcasing their Ivy League education as a facade of helping the community. They don’t generally acknowledge the advantages they’ve had in life and how the affect their current perceived success.