Life as a Latina – part 2
C onsidering that I am a Puerto Rican sociologist, there is of great interest to me in answering the question, “How does the American civilization view Latin women in modern day society?” In a recent study I have done, being that I am a twenty-year-old attending college, there is offered easy access to individuals of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and socio-economic status’. The research method used is called, “Random Sampling,” which consists of the researcher randomly selecting a specific amount of individuals, question their thoughts and beliefs, and then calculate the percentages of those results. In this specific research, I asked one question, which was:
1. What comes to mind when I say, “Latin woman?”
The group targeted was all non-Latinos, one-hundred non-Latino men, and one-hundred non-Latino women. These were my results:
OUT OF ONE-HUNDRED NON-LATINO MEN:
3% said no comment, or they don’t know, or don’t care
3% said they seemed too emotional
7% said Hispanic women are submissive or passive
10% said they are religious
11% said they are family-oriented
18% said they are traditional in their beliefs
48% said Hispanic women are sensual, or attractive
OUT OF ONE-HUNDRED NON-LATINO WOMEN:
11% agreed that Latin women are traditional believers
17% said they don’t know, or don’t care to answer
18% said they are beautiful/pretty
20% said they are religious
34% said they are too provocative,or just plain provocative
In analyzing these results, one could easily observe how Latin women are perceived to be attractive, and sensual. Why might this be true? Personally, I notice on the television how Latin women are often portrayed as sex symbols. Especially on the Spanish- speaking channel. If one were to watch closely, in most commercials a woman is in a bikini, prancing around with nothing too important to say, or she is filmed tending to a family in her household.
Some of us may find some of these assumptions complimenting, but some may find it insulting. Who are we to blame? In one aspect of looking at the situation, the media, especially in the Spanish- speaking shows, tends to focus much more on the physicality of a Latin woman, rather than the intellectuality of a Latin woman. Another assumption made by those I have interviewed would be those who say Latin women are religious, traditional in their beliefs, etc. Some of us may wonder, why would they believe this.
Well, it is a fact that the majority of Latin Americans in general are Roman Catholics, and if not, have faith in other religions within Christianity. Aiming toward the traditional aspect of Hispanic women, at often times, when one is raised in a religious home, there are certain beliefs that fit into one’s life style, that are passed down from generation to generation. Even if one is not religious, one’s cultural background, in this case, Latinos, would also greatly influence traditional behavior in one’s life.
The last subject I will touch on is the emotional aspect of the Latin woman. Many say that we are too emotional, for example we over-exaggerate our emotions in many situations. In this case, I will again go back to the media, and talk a little about Spanish-speaking soap operas. Many of us enjoy watching them, (including myself), yet much of the Spanish-speaking channel consists of female Latina actresses, in soap operas. Many times they are crying, hysterical, in need of something, vengeful, etc. Since non-Latinos tune into the Spanish-speaking channel every now and then, this is usually what they see, and by what some of them pick up, that is what their basis consists of to build stereotypes and inaccurate assumptions. Therefore, it is essential that we realize what actions we as a people take for others to visualize us in such ways as mentioned above.
Mayra contributed this story to Boricua.com and is currently living in North Carolina.