The way Latin women are portrayed in the media has always raised questions about how knowledgeable Americans are about the various culture groups within the Hispanic community. Hispanics are just one minority group who are depicted in the media, but these portrayals can lead to stereotyping and raise the question of identity among Latinos in the United States.
The term “minorities” is defined as a small group of people who are non-white, and live within the majority of the population of the United States. The term minority not only leads a person to think the group is small, but also makes the group seem insignificant.
To first understand these stereotypes is to first know the impact the group has in the United States. The “group” known as Latin Americans is not small and in fact is increasing over time. Twelve million, foreign-born Latinos live here and the numbers are increasing three times faster than the U.S. population as a whole. Hispanic “is any person who either speaks Spanish as a first language or had some ancestor who did, even if this person speaks only English.” This group has descended from Latin America, a region stretching 7,000 miles southward from the Mexican/U.S. border to the tip of Tierra del Fuego on Cape Horn. The shared language, culture, and traditions among this large population are in a sense creating an independent nation in the United States.
Although there is a large, increasing population, media portrayal of Hispanics has likely caused Americans to form certain stereotypes and clichés. These appear on television and in film, but exclude Spanish literature, which is mostly recognized in theatre. Because this type of media portrayal has become part of our American culture, many people have accepted these stereotypes, clichés, and characters that are represented as common as American pie.
Hispanic women often share these misconceptions, creating identity confusion, i.e., what it means to be Latino/a in the United States. These stereotypes, especially how they are represented in television and film, leads to a silent almost passive racism.
Passive racism refers to the ongoing acceptance of stereotypes and clichés of Hispanics in the media. This type of racism arrives due to the lack of effort towards changing what the media have already created.
To better understand the reason why Hispanic women are portrayed in a certain way, we must grasp how the media has contributed to the lives of women. Certain stereotypes and gender norms have always defined women in these media.
Several types of images create both traditional and contemporary standards for women. For example, both positive and negative images appeared among the population based upon how women were represented on television. The traditional stereotypical portrayal of women as caretakers and sex objects created mostly negative images of dumb blondes and silly housewives. On the flip side, positive traits of women show independence, strength and determination, and grew out of the contemporary representation of women on television as professionals.
Still, women have found themselves in a struggle. The number of women presented on television is not nearly equal to that of men. While trying to reach a higher level in television and film, women are being underrepresented. For example, it is more likely for a man to be a spokesperson for a car advertisement than a woman. Women are represented as feminine in ads for hygiene products, as sex symbols on music videos, and are more often featured on children’s television programs.
The term “spitfire” is often used to describe Hispanic women in many Latin roles. A “spitfire” is described as the damned woman with a wild temper, often left by her white hero and awaiting his return. Although Hispanic women do not always fit this image, the idea of the brunette Latina has always been a dominant physical quality of actresses playing Hispanic roles. Natalie Wood, an American actress, played “Maria,” a Puerto Rican girl, in West Side Story.
Some Hispanic women have had breakthroughs in television, but not nearly as many Hispanic men. Daisy Fuentes, Rosie Perez, Jennifer Lopez are just some of the major Latin actresses that have made the transition from television to movie mainstream. Although many dramas or sitcoms do not portray Hispanic women or even Hispanic men, network executives are anticipating developing shows highlighting Hispanic characters and their culture.
The need to link one’s ancestral past to present and future as a Hispanic American is very important. Any type institution (theatre, volunteer groups, or non-profit organizations) in your community may tie that missing link or piece of the puzzle that most Latin women try to seek or make sense of when living a non-traditional lifestyle.
Veronica, Architect, Queens
Say What You Mean…Eh !
How much does the way we express ourselves really matter? Grammatical precision and sentence structure in verbal and written communication is often used to gauge a person’s intelligence or at least command of English and although I am for preserving the endless nuance of meaning good use of punctuation produces, I am also aware that English a live language, the main purpose of which is to interact accurately. So as long as we both agree that this is called a cup (even though it looks like a mountain to others) we are on the right track to understanding each other. Silly snobbery has no home anyplace close to reasonableness.
Joanna, Teacher, Upstate ( far Upstate, not just Westchester)
“…I AM INVINCIBLE, I AM STRONG, I AM WOMAN … HEAR ME ROAR…”
Climbing the ladder in the work place doesn’t have anything to do with whining about how disadvantaged women are, or about how society has pushed the working girl into a place of screwy double-standards and double-edged swords, and it certainly isn’t about spending longer than a mere second wishing things just weren’t so tough [insert Marilyn Monroe’s pouty lips circa Gentleman Prefer Blondes]. Because getting what you want at work- and in every other respect- is about savvy not setbacks, motivation not disadvantage, and, in this case: sex appeal. Well, sex appeal and winning a game in which men have just happened to get a head start. [But who needs a head start when you have lipstick and stockings?]
Flirtation is key when it comes to building relationships. Be it with man, woman, friend, lover, or boss, a ready smile, quick wit, and confident demeanor go a long way when promoting yourself; but fuck if I don’t sound like a self-help book waiting to be thrown up on, so let me move forward and get to the point: sexual undertones are everywhere. Why don’t we utilize them?
Women may finally be getting some serious recognition, respect, and high paying positions in the career world [and it’s no big surprise because we’re smarter than men, aren’t we?] but now, can we please stop pussy-footing around what men have already been doing for centuries? Schmoozing! Come on! Schmooze thy neighbor! Sexy it up! Stop letting the men do it and then tell you that you can’t. In fact stop letting the men do it, tell you that you can’t, and then have every other woman look down your nose at you if you do! Feminism and post-feminism days are over [thank god] so we don’t have to listen to hippie women in birkenstocks and no bras reproaching our flirting as being detrimental and self-deprecating- but that doesn’t mean women don’t still see using sex appeal to our advantage as lewd and lascivious. And in that sense we as women become our own worst enemy. For if we comply and act demure and cold and don’t let the sexy, not to be cheesy here but… shine, we are letting society box us in and shape us into boring- pod-creatures treading own the path already cut for us. Barf.
If we ourselves don’t destroy the notion that sexiness and flirtation is reserved only for sluts and prostitutes, who will? And let me remind you, in case you effing forgot: this is 2019. The glass ceiling days are behind us, and so is calling a girl a slut. Free love already happened [maybe you didn’t hear?] and the ceiling’s already been broken, it’s just a terrible pity it took so long because women on top often just do it better [and no, I’m not talking about that kind of on top, but I could comment on that as well.]
So what are women so scared of? Is it fear that swinging those hips and batting those eyelashes and landing a lunch meeting with the CEO before big-pec-Arnold down the hall does will make you look bad? Look bad to who? You’re grandmother? You’re friends? Yourself? Jesus, just look at Arnold. If he could swing hips and say witty things while looking glamorous and beautiful he would, but, alas for him and lucky for us, he can’t, so instead he’s asking to play golf, grab a beer, watch the game and talk about tits and work and golf all at the same time because he wants to impress the Boss man. So really, it’s all about sex in the end no matter what side of the fence you’re coming from. Time to cut the bullshit and end the perpetuation of double-standards in our respective fields of work. If we think flirtation is wrong, so will everyone else. So let’s stop trying to be exactly who everyone thinks we should be and just be who we actually are: sexy, flirtatious, smart, working women. Just try not to burn any bridges, but hey, bridges might be better than bras in this case.
Louise, Singer, Tribeca
What’s in store, Glor
Getting dressed is like going into battle. And when you live in this City, you better be dressed to kill. Women are catty wenches, so the minute you walk into a room, you’re going to be sized up. Sad but true. But a few wardrobe staples will protect you from the heinous glare this fall.
It’s important that you always look put together and not like you spent two hours getting ready. You won’t have to break the bank either. Well, maybe a little. Let’s start from the bottom shall we. Get ballet flats. Guess and Marc Jacobs make great pairs and they go great with everything, especially New York City streets. nobody wants to wear heels every single day to work. But the only other alternative is sneakers. Remember in the eighties when you would see businesswomen wearing sneakers with their suits? Ugh. And then they topped it off with those disgusting Channel 13 tote bags. If it is heels everyday, make sure you get a decent pair. Christian Louboutin or Gucci. They’ll take you from work to cocktails.
Jeans? That’s a no brainer. I prefer a little stretch. Get them to measure you at Saks. It doesn’t always mean you get a perfect fit but at least your thighs won’t look sausages. Same with nice pair of pants. If you don’t want black, go for charcoal gray instead. Always a classic look. They’ll look so great with a silk camisole.
A little black dress. As necessary as the air that we breathe. Any style, silk, strapless, sleeveless, knee length, mini; it all comes to the same thing, simple elegance.
The right trench coat will always be in fashion. Just make sure you pick a basic color, like black, beige, or blue.
As long as you have the basics right, it doesn’t matter if you shop at Barney’s or the Gap. They are timeless. A big leather satchel is great to own because it will hold everything. but it’s an investment piece. Speaking of pieces you should have a signature one. I have my grandmother’s diamond ring. Even if it’s just a pair of aviators, its still part of your personal style. Big sunglasses are important though. that was just some of the basics to get you through the daily grind of living in the fashion capital of the world. Besides a barrel and suspenders is not exactly functional.
Domenica, Fashion Expert, Midtown
Such A Sensitive Soul
I get that all the deeply stupid movies out there–I’m looking at you Movie Movies franchise–are profitable, but this mass proliferation of crap on the big screen has to be detrimental to the general publics’ mental facilities.
This problem goes beyond the mindless summer blockbuster; I’m not entirely opposed to shutting off my brain for an hour and forty-five minutes to watch a few robots blow each other up, but there is a line between mindless and mentally damaging.
I really shouldn’t walk out of a movie feeling like the lower half of my body has lost all function because my brain had started to ooze out of my nose.
I am even more disturbed to know that the lowest common denominator appears to be an alarming majority who enjoy watching S****** P***** complain about first world problems or T***** B**** dressed as a woman in a fat-suit.
I’ve lost track of how many times I tried, in vain, to turn off all the fucking smurf ads every time I took a cab this summer.
Are we supposed to find this shit entertaining?
Or is there a larger endemic that is at play here?
It’s depressing to think that such a large majority of people eschew movies that might make them think.
Are we so in hock to Big Business that we take ANYTHING they throw at us and gobble it up?
(I even have the tv set to fast forward whenever a movie involves more than two contiguous shootings. Yes I’m looking at you J*** W*** 3 and the S**** franchise. Please I’d rather sit through ten girlie movies than be numbed by another shoot ‘em up. And I’m a fire fighter for fuck’s sake.
Thomas, Fireman, Red Hook