Julia Orayen has posed nude for Playboy and appeared barely dressed in other media, but she made her mark on Mexican minds Sunday night by carrying an urn filled with bits of paper determining the order that candidates would speak. Not that viewers were looking at the urn. She wore a tight, white dress with a wide, tear-drop cutout that revealed her ample decolletage. The image was splashed across newspaper front pages and websites by Monday.
“The best was the girl in white with the cleavage at the beginning,” tweeted former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda, who is also a New York University professor.
Orayen’s name jockeyed for third and fourth place throughout the day under Twitter’s Mexico City trends, where a click revealed her previous work, including an almost-nude spread commemorating Mexican Independence Day in which she appears in minimal garb modeled on images of Mexican founding father Jose Maria Morelos.
Alfredo Figueroa, director of the Federal Electoral Institute responsible for organizing the debate, blamed the incident on a production associate hired by the institute to help with the debate. The institute later issued an apology to Mexican citizens and the candidates for the woman’s dress.
The problem here isn’t really the dress, or the fact that Julia Orayen has posed nude. It’s that the debate organizers thought that what the event really needed was a hot female presenter to kick things off. I can’t imagine it ever crossed their minds to hire a man for this position—because of course we need reminders that often in politics, men are supposed to be the main characters while women are their pretty supporting players—or that they specified professional attire for the presenter. I’d be curious as to what candidate Josefina Eugenia Vázquez Mota, the lone female candidate in the race, thought of the fact that some of her rivals apparently went all goggly-eyed when Orayen came on stage. They, and Figueroa shouldn’t apologize for Orayen’s dress. They should apologize for turning a serious process into a stupid, sexist spectacle.