Kendall Jenner is one of many non-Mexican celebrities to launch a brand of tequila.
At the launch of 818, critics said she culturally appropriated tequila, a Mexican product.
Melly Barajas said the celebrity tequila boom isn’t ideal, but it’s not as bad as some might think.
In February, Kendall Jenner announced she was launching her brand of tequila, 818. Almost immediately after, praise and reactions started pouring in – with critics from some who thought this new venture was an example of cultural appropriation.
Many have said that Jenner is not allowed to make tequila since she is not Mexican. But Jenner is just one of the many celebrities who own a brand of tequila.
âUnfortunately, globalization has created this kind of phenomenon,â she said. “I wish all tequilas were made by Mexicans, but I don’t see what’s going on right now as so bad.”
Barajas believes globalization will help boost tequila sales
She believes that some of Jenner’s 172 million Instagram followers may not have been tequila drinkers, but they might just give it a try now.
According to Barajas, anyone who owns a brand of tequila is required to purchase the product from a factory in Mexico. Each of those companies has a price per liter for their tequila, which the brand pays, Barajas said.
“I don’t see it as serious because tequila has a protected designation of origin, and that means it can only be made exclusively in Mexico, âBarajas said.
âOf course, it would be great to see exclusively Mexican brands,â she added. “But, well, if that girl sells it anyway, a percentage stays in Mexico.”
She said it wasn’t Jenner to pay the jimadores either.
Critics of non-Mexican tequila companies say celebrities profit from their sales while jimadores don’t get paid based on the total amount sold.
While Barajas says it is true that jimadores often receive a fixed salary regardless of how much agave they harvest, it is not the brand owner’s responsibility to pay them; that falls on the people who run the factory that employs them.
âFor quite some time the price of agave has increased a lot and the jimadores have asked for more money to cut the agave, so they are not underpaid,â said Barajas. “Tequila gives work to millions of Mexicans, millions of families.”
however, The keeper reported in 2015, that the number of Mexicans willing to work as jimadores was declining in part because of static wages. The Guardian pointed out the shortage of agaves in the early 2000s, when the price per kilo increased by almost 1000%, but the wages of agricultural workers remained the same.
Barajas says Jenner’s sex is likely a cause of the backlash
âThere are a lot of artists who have their tequila and who have never been attacked as violently as it has been attacked,â she told Insider.
Marie Sarita GaytÃ¡n, associate professor of sociology and gender studies and author of “Â¡Tequila! : distilling the spirit of Mexico“, previously told Insider that sex may have something to do with criticism.
She recalled that “there was hardly any mention of cultural appropriation” around the massive sale of Casamigos by George Clooney and Rande Gerber, and said “when women go out” of bounds “, either in politics, business or, in this case, culture and entrepreneurship, it touches a nerve. “
Jenner’s audience is also very different from Clooney’s, and followers of the model may be more concerned with exposing cultural appropriation.
âWomen here in the United States and around the world have to work twice as hard to be seen,â Barajas told Insider.
âIt happened to me in tequila,â Barajas said. “I had to work and do things 100 times better than any man to get tequileros respected.”
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