Alicia Machado Is My Hero

Alicia Machado Is My Hero

"When I was young, the now candidate, humiliated me, insulted me, disrespected me both publicly and privately in the cruelest way"

Recently, I stopped writing about politics and the presidential election mostly because it is cringe-worthy and also difficult to follow. And to be quite honest, the fact that I cannot vote because of a piece of paper is aggravating because the decisions affect me as well. Anyway, as I was searching for a topic to write about, all I saw all over the news was “Hillary this” or “Trump that” or “Kim this” (not that there’s anything wrong with Kim of course (except for the fact that she is somehow pro-Trump now??)). It’s almost as if the media is begging you to follow this bizarre presidential election and in turn I have writer’s block. See how that works out?

One particular story intrigued me as I was forced to watch the debate for two of my classes. It was the story of Alicia Machado. Machado was Miss Venezuela in 1995 and was crowned Miss Universe the following year. Much to her dismay, this was the same year Trump took ownership of the Miss Universe beauty pageant. Soon after Alicia Machado was crowned, she began to gain weight. In an interview with the New York Times (x), she says she asked the beauty pageant for help in becoming healthy again through doctors and a new diet plan. Although the pageant had agreed, the next day, Trump took her to a gym and made her work about in front of the press. When she told him she did not want to do this, he said “I don’t care” and said to the cameras “this is somebody who likes to eat” after he mentioned how many pounds she had gained. Alicia says she suffered from Bulimia and Anorexia for five years after what happened that day and continues to seek therapy even 20 years later.

Alicia has also said that Trump referred to her as “Ms. Piggy” and “Ms. Housekeeping” after she was crowned Miss Universe because of her weight gain and her race (x). When asked about these allegations, Trump told “Fox and Friends” September 26th, "She was the winner and you know, she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem. We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her, so Hillary went back into the years and she found this girl -- this was many years ago. And found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Theresa. And it wasn't quite that way but that's OK. Hillary has to do what she has to do."

This was a response to Hillary using Alicia Machado as a political weapon against Trump in the presidential debate last Tuesday. Alicia Machado has publicly come out saying that she supports Hillary and although many allegations have been made by the Trump campaign suggesting that Machado is being paid by the Clinton team or that she was granted her U.S. citizenship as bribery the Clinton campaign denies them. Trump's campaign team also started to deny the claims the Wednesday after Debate Night in a statement claiming her accounts were "totally baseless and unsubstantiated".

As if that were not enough, many rightwing news outlets such as this one published stories about Alicia Machado being a pornstar, threatening to kill a judge, not knowing who the father of her child is and posing naked for playboy magazine (although Trump posed for Playboy too and starred in a soft-core porn video for them too as seen here. Machado did pose for Playboy, twice but that is irrelevant. She did not appear in a sex tape and speculating about the father of her child has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Alicia reportedly responded to these accusations saying ( “He can say whatever he wants to say, I don’t care… You know, I have my past. Of course, everybody has a past. I’m not a saint girl. But that is not the point now.”

Trump took to twitter to say Alicia was “disgusting” and that everyone should see the sex tape she’s in (there is no sex tape). To which she so eloquently responded with:

Donald Trump once again tries to publicly denounce a woman the same way he did so infamously 20 years ago. It shows nothing has changed and that all it takes for a woman to be defamed is slut-shaming and claiming she is crazy. As Lucia Graves in The Guardian put it, Alicia Machado does not have to be a “saint” in order for her claims to be valid. Her past does not dictate the way we should treat the man who single-handedly publicly humiliated her for her body and her race. In fact, her past is completely irrelevant and in no way overshadows Trump’s actions. Trump’s tweets are his way of saying that what he did is justifiable by the fact that he thinks she is “disgusting”. They are not justifiable. His fixation with female beauty and utter disrespect for women is what led many women like Machado into downward spirals. But Alicia is fighting back and turned her suffering into a weapon against the man who made her feel like she was nothing.

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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President Trump’s Wall Is Not A Solution, It Causes More Harm Than You Think

After the second government shutdown since Donald Trump's inauguration, immigrants and opponents of the wall are not the only ones suffering.


At this time of writing this, the government has been shut down for 19 days. Friday will be the first day that workers in one of the affected organizations will not receive a paycheck. Children on free lunch programs will have gone without this service for 19 days. Families on food stamps are unable to receive one of the most necessary and basic human rights. This is not an emotional tangent, but rather a reasonable suggestion to our government to do their jobs. Both political sides can be seen at fault, as a negotiation usually occurs between dissenting opinions. However, compromises are made through understanding and reasoning.

However, while our government converses about their views on the proposed wall, I will offer mine. With a price tag of $5 billion to construct, this is not a cheap and short-term project. Building this "border" will take money out of every American's pocket; our government simply does not have $5 billion in a savings account. Funding may occur in the form of taxes, which is already a system that has been reformed and looked over time and time again. If the administration follows through with their prior statements, then funding may also come from the budgets of other existing agencies. Additionally, since President Trump is a man of maximalism, the construction of a wall will impede on residential lives for those who live along the southern border. This affects major cities and towns such as San Diego, El Paso, and San Luis.

In a capitalist country where money and finances are a concern, there are many agencies that would thrive if they could obtain a fraction of this billion dollar proposal.

Schools need funding. The criminal justice system and public defenders need funding. Women's health services, like Planned Parenthood, need funding (Planned Parenthood has stated that government money does not get used in abortion services). Did you know that Planned Parenthood only receives $500 million for their annual budget, which is 1/10th of the wall's budget? With a fraction of this budget, you could fund a project to provide clean and safe drinking water across the world. The governmental funding for the Environmental Protection Agency has been halved, and it is now less than the budget for this wall. Humanitarian services need funding. We could help the homeless and build walls… four walls for a shelter, that is. Remember Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria? There are still people without power- our government is responsible and needs money to aid these citizens.

I understand that people want stricter security and immigration services. A wall is not a solution. Airplanes exist- people can fly over the wall. Boats exist- traveling to America via water occurs. Building a power symbol cannot solve a "national emergency," as Donald Trump believes; the national emergency lies in the suffering Americans who will be impacted by the attempts to get this wall built.

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