Week 13

When I read José Esteban Muñoz’s article Dead White: Notes on the Whiteness of the New Queer Cinema, I saw a lot of overlap between the ideas of whiteness, death, and white normativity in his article and in Y Tu Mamá También, the movie that is the focus of my research this semester. Muñoz argues that the movies Frisk and Safe grapple with white normativity and its visual ties to death and illness. In Y Tu Mamá También, idea shows up in the character of Luisa Cortés (who symbolically shares the name of the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés). While like Carol in Safe, Luisa is not necessarily an explicitly queer character, she is a symbol of whiteness in the Mexican world of Y Tu Mamá También, given her Spanish origin. Julio and Tenoch’s fantasies for her act as a metaphor for the relationship between whiteness and non-whites in Mexico, as the boys lust after her “ideal” identity and appearance. This is symbolic for the history of colonialization and conquest by white Spaniards in Latin America. Also, the character of Luisa is terminally ill and her actions in the movie are dictated by this underlyingly. This relates back to Muñoz’s argument surrounding the ties between whiteness, death, and illness. Y Tu Mamá También engages directly with the ideas of whiteness discussed in José Esteban Muñoz’s article, giving an interesting perspective on it from a visual landscape outside of the United States.

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