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Year: 2013 Type: Book Chapter Language: English

Ana Francis Mor describes how laughter, brought on by cabaret theatre in health workshops in Mexico, was key to changing people, not just their minds, but their hearts and their bodies and what they do with them. Mor describes how women learn gender ideologies from the television soap operas, all-pervasive in Mexico, which take their cue from Catholicism. Mor describes trainings on health run in rural Mexico for women, men and children. The three year programme trained over 30,000 people in total, in four day-long trainings that included participants first identifying key health issues in small groups, and a cabaret theatre working on these issues in the afternoon, and performing them in the evening. Laughter and emotional engagement enabled people to reflect and change, and really take on board the information instead of just hearing it but not acting upon it. Mor sees gender inequality denying women’s pleasure and argues that pleasure and laughter can challenge this inequality. The transformation that is needed, she argues, is both conceptual and physical. Through the bodily experience of laughter, people can reach a conceptual understanding that male chauvinism makes no sense, and transform their own response from victimhood to empowerment.

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