Seminar with Professor Lynn Morgan

Title: Miss Mexico’s Dress and the Backlash against Reproductive Rights in Jalisco, Mexico

Venue: Center for Sundhed og Samfund (CSS), Øster Farimagsgade 5, Room 5.0.22 (building 5, ground floor, room 22).

Time: May 30, 2017, 14-15.30.

Host: Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies


When the design for Miss Mexico’s pageant dress was unveiled in 2007, it sparked an improbable national dispute over reproductive rights centering on the state of Jalisco. This talk presents a case study in the social life of human rights and traces the symbolism of the dress to the battle over resurgent clericalism and secularism. It examines how the dress came to represent a bid for control by the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), working with the Catholic hierarchy in the state of Jalisco. This bloc positioned itself as victim of tyrannical persecution stretching from the Cristero Rebellion (1926-29) to the decriminalization of abortion in 2007 and the legalization of same-sex marriage in Mexico City in 2010. Secularists argued that this bid for power, as manifested in the Cristero-themed dress, was a brazen effort to claim conservative Catholicism as the quintessence of Mexican identity and to parade that message before the world.

Lynn Morgan is Mary E. Woolley Professor of Anthropology, Mount Holyoke College.