Anyone who’s ever seen a Mexican telenovela knows that Mexico’s rich and powerful love being rich and powerful. But in the case of the mirreyes — a term used to describe the privileged children of Mexico’s richest 1 percent — reality can be even more obnoxious than anything portrayed in the soap operas.
But don’t take our word for it — see for yourself in this video produced to celebrate the high school graduating class of 2015 at Instituto Cumbres, an exclusive all-male private Catholic school in Mexico City.
It is unclear whether the school approved of or in anyway participated in the making of the video. Instituto Cumbres did not respond to Fusion’s request for comment. Grupo Mann, the ad agency who produced the video, did not respond to Fusion’s request for comment.
Watch the video here. Update March 28, 2015: the video has been made password protected.
Instituto Cumbres is run by the Legion of Christ, a controversial congregation that owns other schools and universities across Mexico. Until a few years ago, the religious organization was headed by the priest Marcial Maciel, whose 64-year tenure over the schools and legionaries included dozens of sexual abuse scandals.
Today, the school is making headlines of its own thanks to this video, which other Mexicans are decrying as sexist, degrading and generally abhorrent.
The social media backlash in Mexico has been swift and fierce:
“The Cumbres video is easy to laugh at until you remember one day these mirreyes will own Mexico.”
“After seeing the Cumbres video, the only thing I ask is that someone conducts a vasectomy on these stupid fucks so they don’t reproduce.”
“This is a case of privileged isolation,” Univision anchor and Mexican political pundit León Krauze told Fusion. “This video reeks of insensitivity, racism, classism and misogyny. There is no modern vice these kids don’t cover with absolute impunity.”
“This is a byproduct of a larger phenomenon of glossy magazines and some newspaper supplements that cover Mexico’s upper class and self-proclaimed aristocracy,” he said.
Mexican film and television critic Susana Moscatel said Cumbres’ students have a tradition of hiring professional production agencies to shoot their videos in an effort to make them go viral on social media. But, she says, the students should be smarter about the kind of video they produce, because it’s how they’ll be remembered.
“What message do they want to send? Basically that they have loads of money. And that they couldn’t care less about what any of us might think of them,” Moscatel wrote for Milenio Noticias. “It’s a sinister and poetic spectacle from a group of teenagers that grew up with the idea that to flaunt is to be. The sad thing in all of this is that this is precisely the prototype of boys that will end up leading political parties and other organizations to continue partying.”
Even some former Cumbres students are cringing.
“I saw the 2010 graduation video, and I thought to myself what the fuck is wrong with our upper class society,” said Jack Heather, a Mexican-American student who studied a year at Cumbres high school. “These clowns where dancing to a Backstreet Boys soundtrack and throwing 500 peso bills in the air.”
Heather added, “Mexican mirreyes are only interested in showing who has the better car, the better house, or the better table at the club. Not all rich kids behave that way, but those who are still decent seem more and more like minority in Mexico.”
So what exactly is a mirrey? Ricardo Raphael, author of the book Mirreynato, defines a mirrey as the offspring of super wealthy and powerful politicians or businessmen who have a daily family income of around $56,000. “The mirrey is an ostentatious character in a country of inequality,” Raphael writes in his book.
He qualifies the mirrey as a dangerous role model for Mexico’s youth. “They start seeing the mirreyes as a role model on how to speak, behave, relate, discriminate, even vex and harm, and from that logic they believe that if they behave like them they will have the same benefits mirreyes have,” he warned.
The mirrey is not a phenomenon that is exclusive of Mexico. But in a country where inequality and impunity run deep — and more than half the population lacks the resources to cover its basic needs— inflammatory provocations such as this video pack an even sharper sting.