Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth


As I was researching Latin band reviews during SXSW I kept encountering a common description: “sizzling sound,” “hot beats” and “spicy” over and over and over again. Recently one of my friends made a facebook post in which she stated, “I wish I were Latina…because then I’d be hotter.” The language surrounding Mexican food reviews is no different either, hot and spicy. The women are smokin’, saucy temptresses; the men are fiery hot-heads. Latin dances like the salsa, also draw heated connotations. Songs often lyricize about “coming a little closer” adding the element of body heat, sweating on the dance floor, etc. Everything is hot in the context of sexuality. Let’s cool it with the hot jokes, people! Okay, bad jokes aside, I’m curious to know—do you Latinitas like the spicy image you’ve got going on? Is it an accurate representation of your culture? Is it demeaning? Too limited? I want to hear what you guys think!

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Comment by Ashley Steel on March 25, 2013 at 6:13pm

Thanks guys, this is great feedback! I'd love to hear from more of you, as I've gotten three very different answers, and am curious as to any trends that may be underlying this issue. 

Comment by Arleen E Lopez on March 19, 2013 at 10:04pm

I think that it wouldn't be so bad if there weren't a binary about Latina stereotypes. Latinas are either submissive or "fiery." Frankly, it frustrates me. I wish that Latinas/os as a group were seen as more than just a stereotype, which would mean that not everything Latino is automatically "spicy." Latinas/os are more than these overused adjectives. These words essentialize all Latinas/os, which is the opposite of empowerment and progress. We all know that being Latina/o means something different to everyone, so why insist on this one generic Latino image? 
Interesting post, I really liked it!

Comment by April C. Davila on March 19, 2013 at 3:31pm

I love the description of our language to convey attitude and personality.

After all, being "hot and spicy" is the ticket to a conversation starter. If people are truly curious they will ask. We

should not take offense to something worth the explanation.


Comment by Latinitas Camps on March 19, 2013 at 2:29pm

Good point Ashley!  It does perpetuate a stereotype that Latina are sexy and sensual (if we are referring to the hot=sexy=Latina equation here) although I have heard some women refer to their attitudes as "spicy" which is funny to me because I don't like spicy food so I immediately think "ew".  

But as a self proclaimed geek, I do still have to understand that this is not a stereotype that I fit in.  I can cut a mean rug though :)




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