If you’ve attended one of my talks or read Hijas or even hung around this blog much, you know that I can get way worked up real fast about the way Latina women are characterized in the media, music, and everyday culture. Last week, Eliana Grijalva-Rubio contacted me about an article she was writing for Latinitas Magazine’s MyLatinitas online community. Here is the beginning of her piece with a link at the end to the rest of it. Thanks, Eliana, for your work in raising awareness!
The Hypersexualization of Latinas in television and film
By Eliana Grijalva-Rubio
There she is again, that over-sexy Latina, “tramp”-ing around in my TV screen in her usual mini-mini skirt, all cleavage and tan legs. Usually I lunge for the remote and change the channel in disgust, but now I watch in a kind of trance, just waiting to see how Mr. Smith and Mr. Goldberg are going to skewer my culture next. Twenty years ago, there were hardly any Latinas in any kind of mass media. Unfortunately, the price we’re paying now to see ourselves represented is a set of exaggerated, overdone stereotypes that put the African-American bad boy and the bespectacled Asian math whiz to shame. Even in TV shows that are almost there when it comes to positive portrayal, like ABC’s Ugly Betty, while the fashion-challenged Nuyerican scampers around doing good and saving White people from themselves, there’s her sister Hilda, lounging around in her apartment in plunging necklines. And yeah, so it’s character development, and I’d be the first person to say she’s entertaining. I think she’s hilarious and she’s one of my favorite characters. But if we’re talking about stereotyping, she’s in.