Glittering, internet feminist group, Sad Girls y Qué, are taking down Mexico’s “bullshit macho culture” one kitten meme at a time.
A windswept, twinkly-eyed Sailor Moon, the numbers 666 and a line from a Drake song superimposed onto a pink Mexican banknote. It can only be the work of Sad Girls y Qué, a glittering, internet feminist group who are taking down Mexico’s “bullshit macho culture” one kitten meme at a time.
Their home is the culturally fizzing border of Tijuana – where the US and Latin America meet – which is crossed by millions of people a year. In their own words, “We are women, and in this country that makes us second- class citizens. You walk out into the street and you can feel the violence.” The statistics agree: in Mexico, six women are murdered every day. Most of them are violent crimes that include rape, and bodies are dumped in rivers or dumpsters and usually never seen again.
Sad Girls y Qué is comprised of 25-year- old Anna Bon, a Catholic school drop-out and Sailor Moon fangirl; 25-year-old “hustler”, college dropout and fashion designer, Pau Lia; Maite Soleno, also 25, who would “relinquish two kidneys for PJ Harvey”; 26-year-old Ana Laura Camarena who “always dreamed of being Lisa Simpson”; and 23 year-old Ariana Bon-Hodoyán, who, when not at university studying for a degree in anthropology, is mostly busy “plotting to take down the institutionalised forces that guide the patriarchal society we live in.” They take their name – and a healthy dose of their attitude – from the 1994 film, Mi Vida Loca, about a bad-ass gang of Chicanas living in LA’s notorious Echo Park.
Speaking from our respective twenty- something-girl bedrooms on Google Hangout (dress code: dressing gowns), the girls explain how their feminist girl-gang came into being. “I mean, we never set out with an agenda,” says Bon. “Originally our Facebook page was just a place where we could vent. It’s our normal daily conversations just posted online in the form of memes. It meant we could post sex- positive and heartbreak stuff anonymously.”
Their surroundings and social spheres are mostly conservative with a big “C”, so posting about anything taboo (sex, periods) is risky. “It’s great though,” Lia says, “because we can just be any girl. You can put whatever face you want on us. It’s stuff most of the girls of our generation are thinking.”
They are united in their brand of non-white feminism too (“common sense feminism”, they call it), which came from a “this doesn’t really include us” moment at school. “White feminism felt very imperialist in its views. It’s Eat Pray Love feminism, like, ‘We’re giving you all this pop culture, now swallow it.’” It’s like Vogue saying that Iggy Azalea is bringing the booty back. Sad Girls y Qué casually quote bell hooks and Audre Lorde (they educated themselves by searching for academic PDFs online and downloading them), but they still cite Britney when she shaved her head in 2007 as their ultimate “babe”.
“We’ll throw this rant about white feminism and all the bullshit in the world and then we’ll give you a picture of a cat with glitter,” continues Lia, deadpan. “That’s what makes it.”
Their Facebook page (which has over 15,000 Likes) is filled with posts about, well, modern romance: “Throwing shade to that guy that fucked you and dumped you, or a poem about some guy you’re crushing on, or weed, periods, you know, girly things like that,” explains Camarena. Sadness is central to the group’s image. A meme of Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element with crying emojis coming out of her eyes has the word “feelz” supplanted over the top, and it’s the reason they love Drake, too. “He’s a sad girl and he knows it,” teases Bon-Hodoyan. When I ask about why they identify with Sailor Moon, Bon-Hodoyan fires back, lightning fast: “Because she cries a lot and she’s whiny and selfish, but she’s all about girl power. We cry about stupid things like boys, even though we know better and we wear short skirts, but we’re about girl power.”
Selena is the gang’s undisputed idol. The singer, who released her first album aged 12 and was the top selling Latino artist of the decade according to Billboard, was shot dead when she was 23 by the ex-president of her fan club. “She just made this whole new world seem possible,” enthuses Lia. “She was Mexican, but she lived in Texas. She didn’t dye her hair blonde, she was a goddess. We all grew up listening to her. We danced to Selena at every party. She just got us. That’s why she’s on the sweater we made. We’re like, ‘Fuck you, yeah we like pink and we like glitter, but we’re still smart and we’re powerful.’ It’s symbol-switching. We’re going to embrace it, because you use it to oppress us.”
Words: Nellie Eden