Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fresas, Juniors, and Nacos

The sociocultural classes of the United States can largely be traced back to the cliques of high school: the Jocks, Preps, Punks, Hicks, Goths, Stoners, Hipsters, Emos, Gangstas…
“Sociocultural” is really far too highfallutin´ a word for a definition based nearly entirely on the music you like, the clothes you wear and whether you spend the hours after school playing football, smoking pot or tagging. However, we´ve been classifying everything else since long before the Dewey decimal system so here goes..
Here in Mexico, the disparaging designators most thrown around are: Fresa, Junior and Naco. I have gotten into a number of discussions with my friends here, trying to come up with equivalent terms and clear-cut definitions for these widely recognized types.

A first attempt at a definition (Pido a mis amigos mexicanos que me echen la mano, por favor):

Fresa (literally strawberry): Pretty close to the American Prep. Characterized by earnestness, cheesiness, a very narrow view of what´s cool and what´s not, and little tolerance for the off-beat, sarcasm or irony. If you´ve got it, flaunt it. A fair amount of overlap with the Juniors. They wear designer clothes picked up on trips to "ir de shopping" in Texas, pepper their speech with American slang and listen to very vanilla pop en español (do I have to bring up Timbiriche? The Mexican version of Back Street Boys).
Here´s a list of some fresa slang like "super nice" and "osea" and here´s a list of "You´re fresa if"

Junior: A uniquely Mexican type in my eyes. Basically rich brats who have never worked a day in their life and probably never will like Tenoch in "Y Tu Mamá, También" or sort of akin to the Trust Fund Babies of the East Coast with whom I had some contact in college. To my eyes, fresas, but even more obnoxious if that´s possible.

Naco: The defining characteristic of a Naco is bad taste and perhaps a lack of class as far as I can tell. The closest equivalent I´ve come up with are Red-neck/hick or White Trash and the adjective “tacky” which don´t quite do the term justice. The American “Red-neck/hick” is more loaded with class judgments, mingled with a little city snobbery towards the kissing cousins and country bumpkins that supposedly populate rural America. Much as teenagers have White Trash parties, people here have Naco parties at which the dress is kind of like 80s/early-90s, hideous to the max. My friend says Naco doesn´t have to do with how much money you have, but your taste. For instance, she said it is Naco to cover your dashboard will all kinds of crap and doodads.
There´s a whole ton of "How naco are you?" quizzes floating around that I can´t really translate, much less explain. Here´s one. Here´s a long posting of "You´re naco if..." Seriously, most of it flies over my head. All you UC Berkeley Raza studies kids, I´m thinking thesis topic.

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