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Maid In America: Top 5 Latina Media Stereotypes


We’ve discussed Latino media stereotypes before, but a reader pointed out to us that the examples were a little male heavy. So, we thought we’d put together a greatest hits compilation of some of the stereotypes about Latinas. Why should racism be misogynistic? Latinos in movies are nothing new. From the beginning of cinema, Latino men have been popping up in roles as diverse as the bandito and the Lothario. Latinas have also been popular staples in movies ever since the days when Katy Jurardo and Rita Hayworth played sexbombs and prostitutes. Things have definitely gotten better for Latinas in Hollywood, thanks to the work of ladies like Salma Hayek, Rita Moreno, and Michelle Rodriguez. Still, you definitely still see these images quite often. Old habits are hard to break.

The Seductress

Don’t get us wrong, Latinas are hot. We do regular posts about how sexy Latina women are. However, the Latina seductress is something much more insidious than our adolescent crushes on Latina actresses. The seductress is usually a woman of ill repute. You know, a whore. If there is a TV show and there is a Latina character, that girl is the slut. When white women are prostitutes, they are usually the “hooker with a heart of gold” like in “Pretty Woman”. When a Latina is a whore, she’s just a slut. It’s the idea that Latinos in general are untamed over-sexed horn beasts, only looking for the next lay. The Latina seductress is also very often leading you to your doom, like a brown siren. In the video below of clips from Raquel Welch’s movies, see how many men end up getting killed.

The Maid

Ah, the Latina maid. She’s the staple of any movie that takes place at some rich person’s house or at a hotel. It’s true that many of our Latina sisters work as housekeepers. Still, the Latina maid is too prevalent to be an accident. You might see a black maid working with the Latina, but never a white maid…hmmm. The maid speaks broken English, is easily spooked, and is a smart ass. Even friggin’ cartoons have a Latina maid.

The Hothead

We Latinos are passionate people. However, we’re not unhinged psychopaths with rage issues. Well, not all of us. If a Latina is in a movie or on TV, she will lose her temper at some point. She will pull off her earrings to get ready to fight. She will start yanking out hair and have to be pulled off of the girl or man she’s trying to beat up. You can almost plot the action on a graph. A good example is Santana from “Glee”. She loses her temper all the time and hits one of the girls in the show. She’s also the slut of the group. Go figure.

The Sorceress

Maybe sorceress is a strong word, but we like it. It makes us think of “He-Man”. Anyway, Latina women are often imbued with magical powers. This is because white screenwriters have little understanding of Latino religious traditions. Yes, we are a devout people. Yes, our religious practices are a mix like Catholic, African, and Indian influences. It’s different, so it must be weird and occult, right? If the Virgin Mary appears on a piece of toast, a Latina is there. Is Santeria called for? Well, there will be a Latina there misrepresenting it. We know the video is of “Como Agua Para Chocolate” and it’s from a Mexican film, but it still demonstrates the Latina’s supposed magical abilities.

The Hoochie

What movie that takes place in ghetto would be complete without the hoochie? She wears big earrings, tight pants, big hair, and a bad attitude. She usually has 5 kids by the time she’s 23 and works some menial job…if she works at all. The hoochie usually exemplifies several of the tropes on this list. She’s often a hothead, a maid, and a seductress. Three for one combo! Hollywood takes the problems of urban poverty and boils them down into a gum-smacking, head-swiveling, crap talking, hoodrat. No one did this better than Rosie Perez. If there is a Platonic Form of a Latina hoochie, it would be good old Rosie.

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