Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s current president-elect, has long appealed to his liberal audience with his populist and progressive attitudes and foresight when it comes to issues like immigration, financial aid for students and the elderly, as well as universal access to public colleges. Still, his recent encounter with a woman reporter proves that even the most seemingly progressive of men falter to understand what it is that women want.
Besides equal treatment to be reflected in our homes and paychecks or respect and courtesy as we walk the streets, women want equality while doing our jobs. The latter is something that even men like Lopez Obrador still struggle to understand.
Lopez Obrador made headlines this week after a video of him kissing a women reporter while she was on the job went viral.
— Azucena Uresti (@azucenau) September 24, 2018
In the lead up to his Dec. 1 inauguration, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who won Mexico’s presidential vote in July, has been touring across the country to thank supporters. During a stop in Tijuana on Sept. 20, the president-elect walked through a crowd of reporters and at one point was asked by Lorena Garcia of El Mexicano about next year’s gubernatorial election in the state of Baja California. In response to her questions, Lopez Obrador simply smiled, turned around and kissed her on the cheek before walking away with his security team.
Speaking to MVS radio about the encounter, Garcia said that the incident was her first time meeting Lopez Obrador and that his gesture felt “inappropriate.”
“We are working. We do not have the intention of receiving or seeking a greeting of this kind,” she explained during her interview. “Understand that we are doing our job. It is not something that I would like to continue happening to me every time I go out to report.”
While the video of Lopez Obrador’s response was captured on video last week, the footage of the encounter only became viral this week after it spread across social media outlets.
It’s not the first time, Lopez Obrador’s actions have made women reporters feel uncomfortable.
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El Tribunal Electoral le da oficialmente su registro al lic. Andrés Manuel López Obrador cómo presidente-electo de la república. Tras 12 eternos años de lucha AMLO será el próximo presidente de México. 🇲🇽🗳📃 #GerNewsMexico #AMLO #México #Mexico #AndresManuelLopezObrador #LopezObrador #Presidente #presidenteelecto #amlo2018 Fuente: La Jornada
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In the weeks and months since his election to the Mexican presidency, Lopez Obrador has been ridiculed for his address of women as “sweethearts” during interviews. “I am always going to treat you like this with great respect and affection,” Lopez Obrador said about the complaints and later responded to the question of whether his behavior was sexist or not by saying “I have another vision, it is not like that.”
Of course, we know that it is a tradition in many Latin American countries for men and women to exchange cheek-kisses of some sort in greetings and passing. Still, in our era of Time’s Up, it’s time for men to begin to acknowledge the ways in which they decide to treat women differently from themselves and their male peers. More than begging the question of whether or not men will ever acquiesce to our please of equal treatment in the workplace, it highlights the many ways in which they actively choose to ignore seeing us as equal.