We Are Not Jezebels, Say Women From Infamous Colombian Town

PHOTO: Valentina Robledo [left] and Vanessa Posada [center] pose for a picture at a Pereira radio station on the day that they organized the March of the Mirrors.facebook.com/soypereirana
Valentina Robledo [left] and Vanessa Posada [center] pose for a picture at a Pereira radio station on the day that they organized the March of the Mirrors. Women in the Colombian city protested a decades old national view, that typifies them as "loose women."

On Thursday, hundreds of women from Pereira, a small Colombian city, marched in protest of a decades-old stereotype that bills them as the country’s most sexually promiscuous women.

Pereira, a city of about half a million people located in Colombia’s coffee region, is known for having some of the country’s most beautiful women.

Pereira, unfortunately, is also known for being the birthplace of some of the country’s most notorious hit men and dangerous drug dealers, many of whom hired and paraded the city’s women across the nation as high-end escorts, gradually giving birth to the now-prevalent and offensive stereotype that women from Pereira are “easy to seduce,” and to dozens of dirty jokes featuring girls from this mountain town.

“I don’t like people saying what’s not [true],” Inés Cárdenas, a 78-year-old woman from Pereira who took to the streets on Thursday, told El Tiempo. “The women of Pereira are honest, homely, and respectful,” added Cardenas.

Nearly 600 women walked through the streets of Pereira in what was called the March of Mirrors. They wore pink bandanas with the slogan “Soy Pereirana” (“I am from Pereira”), which forms part of a larger public awareness campaign promoted by Vanessa Posada and Valentina Robledo, two young local women.

Posada, who participated in a television reality show where a judge mocked her for being from Pereira, is working on the movement along with Robledo and Carlos Laguna, the director of an advertising firm called CPC Agencia Creativa.

“The people from Pereira have mothers, sisters, friends, girlfriends, and wives,” Laguna said, “and it hurts that we have to withstand jokes and ill treatment with respect to the false reputation that our women have.”

Posada told El Tiempo that the march was so successful that they are now planning to institute August 22 as an annual day to celebrate the women from Pereira.

So if a Colombian friend ever tells you a joke about a woman from Pereira, don’t laugh; instead, set them straight.