Thursday, October 28, 2010

A bit more on Sofia Vergara

As we were talking about Sofia Vergara/accents today I remembered that on an interview on Lopez Tonight she mentioned that she was a natural blonde, but when she came to the US she was told that she didn’t look like a Latina even though she talked like one, and it was suggested that she dye her hair dark in order to look like a Latina.

Yesterday’s episode of Modern Family had a lot of funny moments where Sofia Vergara’s character, Gloria, is frustrated with being corrected by her son and her husband when she mispronounces words as she converses. You can see this starting at 7:25 minutes into the episode.

Modern Family, Season 2 Episode 6:

As we know, Sofia Vergara plays roles which fit Latina stereotypes- loud, curvaceous, promiscuous, etc. In interviews I really like that she seems very down to earth, and we can see that her accent is not that heavy and that her English is perfect. I would really like to see her play something outside her usual roles, where she doesn’t fit the Latina stereotypes.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


A few weeks ago, while searching for topics for the first paper, I came across some literature about Afro-Mexicans. Yes! Mexicans of African decent. I was really interested and I visited a website by Anthropologist Bobby Vaughn, I went to the Berkeley library and looked for more information on the subject and surprisingly there was significant scholarly literature about this topic. Despite all the literature about Afro-Mexicans people continue to have a hard time imagining Mexicans as black or continue to think that, as Bobby Vaughn writes, "there couldn't have been more than a handful of slaves in Mexico." Although there is variance on the number of slaves that were brought to Mexico , I find that irrelevant, they are are a part of Mexico and they are Mexicans.

For what I have read, many of the Afro-Mexican communities have been marginalized and experience racism (Vaughn), yet in the videos, there was also a sense of pride in being African AND Mexican. Although it is true that Mexicans more often than not ignore that third root, Africa, these people represent the great diversity of Mexico and Latin America. I find it interesting that although this people will refer to themselves as "negros" (Spanish for black), they understand themselves as simply Mexicans.

Here is the website

and I will post some of the videos

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dora Drama

Reading this article gave me mixed feelings. I was a fan of Nickelodeon for many years before Dora, Spongebob, and the Fairly Oddparents came onto the scene. I've always watched Nick-at-Nite more simply cause I loved old tv from the 1980's and 1990's. Reading this article brought forth two feelings -- surprise and not being surprised. Passing through channels and stopping at Dora, as a young girl exploring unknown lands with friends, I always thought to myself life should be as simple as that. Dora on Nickelodeon symbolized to me the joy in exploring and learning new things just as Nickelodeon wanted their image to encourage these feelings.

Reading this article about legal issues with Caitlin Sanchez, the voice of Dora for the past three years out of its total of ten years, reminded me that even this kids' show can fall into the pitfalls of possibly shaky and unclear contracts in which compensation for services can not be provided. Without sounding too naive, I did believe that Nickelodeon shouldn't have these kinds of problems because who would want to exploit kids? However, this brings me to my non-surprise simply because child stars have been known to have the similar experience of being "screwed over," by either television producers, directors, lawyers, and even their own parents. It is saddening to see that Dora, a Nickelodeon veteran, couldn't be kept out of news about dishonesty and losing integrity. Regardless of whatever decision is decided, Caitlin's attorney has threatened to further bring the story out to the media to embarrass Nickelodeon. Hmm.. I smell a settlement coming along..

Monday, October 18, 2010


Maluca is a Dominican-New Yorker who makes electro-merengue-house-hip hop influenced music that is a mix of whole lot of different styles, which come from her many roots, life experiences and cultural realities in the U.S, specifically New York, and the Caribbean. In an interview she does for Large Up she explains how she isn't trying to make her music explicitly Caribbean but that it is part of what just happens in how she makes music, and that its more New York as whole that influences her music, style, and aesthetic.

Another influence she points to that may not seem as obvious, is one of my favorite bands ever, ESG. ESG is a funk-dance-post punk-Caribbean influenced band from the 70's made up of 3 sisters and a friend from the Bronx. Their music is insanely innovative, unique and amazing.

This is their song "Dance":

Maluca also explains that she is influenced by Mambo Gagá/ Gagá music which is a kind of music that is influenced and born of the African influence in the DR. She also talks about picking up Cumbia music in Mexico and house beats from Europe.

I have a personal affection for her because I love tough girls who make their own music and have unique, smart, and thoughtful music and style that is serious, but serious in a way that emphasizes pleasure and fun. I think Maluca is also a good example of music that is being made in the 21st century, though its happened for a long time (though maybe without the influence of computers and drum machines), that respects, incorporates, and merges many cultural influences. It's powerful because it doesn't feel like one has to pick which genre, country, or influence that is more important than the other, rather many influences and even contradictions come through music, affect, and style that all get to exist together. I think that is something really valuable, existing with potentially uncomfortable and ultimately very generative qualities all at the same time. I love that she is tough and fierce and girly and that she respects a legacy of music thats being made and pays homage to so many different places, people, and styles.

AND she's playing in November at the Warfield in San Francisco, opening for Robyn! I'm gunna go and I hope i see other people from class!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Selena & Selena

When I was searching for Latina icons, I thought, what better place to look for a representation than to look at Latina magazine. It so happens that the October 2010 issue of Latina Magazine features Selena Gomez. For those of you who are not familiar with Selena Gomez, she is a Latina singer and actress, best known for her role of Alex Russo in Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place. This is not the first, but the second time she is featured in Latina magazine; the first time being in 2009. After looking at videos and interview of Selena Gomez, our discussion about Selena Quintanilla-Perez came to mind. Here, we see similarities of the two and how even though they are recognized as Latinas, there is the question that they do not represent the Latina community well due to their unfluent Spanish.

Selena Gomez's first Latina cover.

Gomez mentions that her favorite part about the shoot was showcasing the "Western" look. This illustrates the power of the Western influence upon her, which may attribute to seeing her as more "white" than Latina, even though she is on the cover of the issue.

Selena Gomez's second Latina cover.

 The host announces that inside the magazine, Gomez is trying her best to learn Spanish, revealing that Gomez is not a fluent speaker.

From the movie Selena, Selena's interview with the press

Selena starts speaking in Spanish, but finishes her response in English.

We see that both Selena Quintanilla-Perez and Selena Gomez are very similar. Some critique that they do not represent the community well because they are not fluent speakers, calling them fake or failure or disgrace of the Latinos. In a sense, they are drifting away from their native roots and acculturating to the Anglo culture. There is no doubt that Westernization has impacted the Latina population, as seen with Selena Quintanilla-Perez and Selena Gomez. Despite all this, many acknowledge them for being Latina.

I thought it was a coincidence that they are both from Texas. Not only that, but Selena Gomez was named after Selena Quintanilla-Perez! :)


Travie McCoy's "Billionaire" was playing in a shop I walked into today and it made me wonder who the richest man in the world was at this time, so when I came home I looked it up- it turns out that Carlos Slim Helu, a Mexican business man, holds that #1 position. He controls 'more than 90 percent of Mexico's fixed phone lines'.

In reading up about the man I came across multiple quotes about him saying that the best way to fight poverty is through the creation of jobs. A piece on The Economic Times, which tells about Helu not being as charitable as other world billionaires, at least not in the sense of directly giving large sums of money to charities, and saying that 'the best investment we can make is to fight poverty' and that the best way to go about it is by creating jobs. There were many comments about him saying that this is just a way to excuse his greediness and continuous accumulation of wealth. I don't know if that is true, but I do agree with Helu in that the best way to fight poverty is through the creation of jobs. This reminds me of the quote that goes, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." It would be great if he truly did commit to creating good jobs for the people of the developing nation.

Billionaire song:

Another Angle

I was thinking about the art pieces that the professor mentioned in class- “Piss Christ” and the image by Irene Abdou of the boy with cow dung on his face (I’m not sure if this specific one is the one she was talking about but it’s the only one I found that was similar to it).
As she mentioned, these images indeed are beautiful. Serrano’s crucifix with the bubbles around the crucifix makes it seem like it’s floating and just divine. Abdou’s portrait in which the piercing eyes stand out is also beautiful.

What I kept thinking about was the comment about God having made everything- including urine and feces- yet when they appear in forms of art people are outraged. The extremity can go as far as death threats as in Serrano’s case. I have to admit that when I heard about the image I was a bit thrown off, and right away I judged the image and deemed them improper, this was also the case with Abdou’s portrait. The reason for that was that urine and dung are waste products that an organism’s produce and for being waste products they have a negative connotation. I also have to admit that if I didn’t know about the urine and dung being part of these pieces, I would have never thought they were anything less than great. I didn’t like feeling so closed minded, so I started looking at these things from other angles, and I found some links that have really interesting information.

When going on space missions, the amount of water that is taken on board is limited, so NASA has solution- turn urine into potable water:

In some parts part of the world, cow dung has many uses:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

iTunes old ads

I'm not sure about you guys but the first time I saw the difference I actually laughed out loud!

And contrast that with this:

If you've noticed it's pretty reminiscent of one of our first classes when Prof Rodriguez showed us the youtube advertisment of how Latinos are excessively vibrant and expressive, and the apple marketing strategy here reflects little difference. But on second glimpse there is actually more than just the mindless waving of arms and strange wide/weird angled steps that the stickmen/women are making - it's the camera angles too. The Latin version of the iTunes ad has much more dynamic movements in the spectator view that makes it look like you're actually bobbing and shaking your head while listening to the music and watching the ad. This tells you that the apple marketers are not just expecting young Latinos susceptible to pop culture suggestions to merely see the iPod as a popular gadget and thus a must-have, but to actually jump into it and dance on the streets, while cranking up their earphones - i.e. that is to say that the advertising here is targeting different emotional reactions from different consumer groups (although the outcome is still the same - to buy the product).

Now one may argue that as a demographic the Latin Americans are economically less privileged compared to European Americans (as evidenced by poverty studies we've gone through earlier in class), and thus the greater need to engage them emotionally in order to trigger a purchase.. yet the iTunes advertisement for Rap and Dance music (something that's more associated with African Americans than European or Latin Americans) is actually pretty similar to the original version. It is not as emotionally stimulating or engaging. So this leaves us with the realization that even top level marketing experts and popular culture analyzers in Apple also fall prey to the stereotype that Latin Americans are emotionally and expressionally excessive as an entire race, so why is it that we as a class have moved on from that expectation? I think it's mostly because we've actually given the authenticity of the stereotype some thought and realized there's only so many grains of truth in the stereotypes. But this also means that most lay poeple are not far from this realization either, and pop culture can just as easily correct the stereotype that Latin American culture (or at least Latin American music in iTunes) are mostly about being excessive.

Carmen Miranda in Cartoons

I am sure some of you are familiar Carmen Miranda, but for those of you who aren't she was a popular Brazilian singer and actress in the 1940s and 1950s. You know, the lady with the fruit hats and dresses. I remember seeing her in all these cartoons when I was young, but lately I came across one of the best I've seen yet. Stewie Griffin (from Family Guy) dancing with a fruit hat. It's very brief, but it's obvious that he is impersonating Carmen Miranda.

This made me look back at some of the old school cartoons she was in and this is what I found. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Tom and Jerry. I didn't want to embed them to keep the post short, but they are all worth checking out. Bugs Bunny is hiding in (and eating) her fruit hat as she performs a song, Daffy Duck is dressed up as her and dancing, and Tom's is being mocked with the song "Mamae Eu Quero" (Mommy I Want). I think it's really interesting how in all these occasions she is being used as a comical figure. She is too excessive, extravagant, and outrageous to be real, so she fits perfectly in these cartoons. Her music was often criticized for not having any significant meaning and being "unintelligent." They consisted of sounds such as "Chica Chica Boom Chic" and "Tico Tico," but the song "Mamae Eu Quero" (the one in the Tom and Jerry video) translates into "Mommy I want to suckle, give me my pacifier so I will not cry," which you can judge for yourself. I mean, Carmen Miranda wasn't taken very seriously during her time, as evidenced by the drag performance of "Mamae Eu Quero" below, but seeing her in all these cartoons makes me think of how often Latin Americans are comically portrayed in other aspects of the media, especially the mocking of their accent, which Miranda was also a victim of.

Dating Latinos

I was doing research for my paper on evolving gender ideologies when I came across this article. To quote some "juicy bits" from it, it says that:

"If you have a sharp eye you cannot fail to notice a Latin man. Such dashing looks would not fail to captivate a woman. Jet black hair and such fiery eyes that make your neck and cheeks to flush. They are such unfathomable eye
s but the fire in them makes you wish he could just gather you in his arms and you melt in them."

I couldn't help but thought about one of our earlier discussion groups about how Latinos and Latinas are portrayed in the mass media that preys upon the ignorance of the general public with tags and stereotypes such as being "excessively passionate" and the like. I'm sure reading this, the social scientist in us will find it laughable that an article will actually generalize across an entire ethnicity like that, but it actually comes from quite a well-reputed site. That was the first surprise for me, as even sites with a decent reputation for objectivity succumb to stereotypes propagated and perpetuated by soap operas and chick flicks, while ignoring the truth of Latin@ culture. On one hand I think that it's because of these continual spoon-feeding of such stereotypical perceptions to the layman that keeps an otherwise ludicrous belief alive, yet on the other, I would like to think that there's some element of self-fulfilling prophecy in there too.

Perhaps Latin Americans in certain environments become cultivated to be passionate in an environment that socially rewards them for fitting into the stereotype - socialization at play here - and consequently reinforce the image of the stereotype in our minds, lending to the vicious cycle that continue to stereotype and ascribe one (or a few types) of personality to an otherwise incredibly vibrant culture. Or perhaps it could be that there's a demand for a "sexy, sensual" race and social forces have somehow conspired to deign Latin Americans as the race for that - purely an economic supply-meeting-demand concept. Whichever it is though, stereotypes like this that play upon our desire for an attractive mate (no doubt we all would ideally want an attractive mate), may keep us from seeing the real men and women that constitute Latin American culture.

Francis K. Githinji Is An Online Dating Expert. His Latest Project Dating A Latin Man Shows How The Power Of Online Dating Can Be Harnessed Internationally and With Great Success. (Yeah... right.)


Just thought I'd share this video with you guys. This video plays on all sorts of stereotypes about Latin women, especially those that identify with being a "chonga".
1) Chola/hooker look
2) cheap clothing/accessories
3) signature hairdo with bangs styled with a glue stick
4) Stupid/ignorant
I find this video to be funny but I know many others would see it as offensive but I think that these girls, as George Lopez does, in a way are not only making a parody of this 'chonga' identity but they are also attempting to reclaim this identity that they themselves have constructed so that the stigma of being labeled as a 'chonga' no longer exists. Chonga's fuse their cultures into this one identity that serves as an outlet of expression that is able to mark their uniqueness. Anyways, I really enjoy it and I hope you do to. This video got these girls on the show Cristina, which is like the equivalent of Oprah, pretty cool.

FSF: Food, Space, and Feelings

Last week a friend and I decided to go La Cascada for lunch for their 50 percent burrito Wednesday. In waiting for our order, I began to really pay attention to the surrounding area of the restaurant. Nostalgic murals depicted what is assumed to set in Mexico open markets, rolling hills, women dressed in traditional Mexican garb. The smells of herbs, peppers, and grilling illuminating from the kitchen, bring a sense of old fashion, homemade. Bright splashes of reds, yellows, oranges, pinks, and greens decorate the walls to draw your eyes to the beauty of home. The figures depicted in the place even speak to the traditional concepts of family and unity. The sitting arrangement encourages togetherness I have never been to any country in Latin America or Spain but it the space in which La Cascada creates makes me feel like I am eating the foods straight from that country. It makes me wonder what the Latino/Mexican music I hear in the background is about and I wonder whose family recipe was used to prepare my salsa. The wanting to know more about where this place that is manifested here in this restaurant really is and what is like.
In stark contrast to “home country authentic” feeling I receive from dining at La Cascada, dining at Chipotle is entirely different. Serving relatively the same menu of burritos and tacos filled with meat, rice, beans, peppers, cheese, salsa, and or course guacamole or sour cream, Chipotle does not make me feel like I’m in a space of authenticity. I feel like I’m dining at a local McDonalds. Tell them your order and processed down line. Fancy modern furniture made of bleach wood and shiny sterling silver and steel glare. Solid red walls with few abstract pictures hanging and the sounds of the hustle and bustle. Eating there I am in a space I fully understand and recognize. The space is very much embedded in mainstream, popular fast food culture. Clean cut, simple, well known, and cheap; pretty much what I come to understand as my generational culture in terms of food places. Despite the specific culture the food served, I lack the curiosity of the where the traditions of this food preparation came from. Maybe because it is a part of what I know and feel that I do not have to further understand in any more depth. It is what it is.
Interestingly enough the name, Chipotle seeks more Latin than La Cascada. Perhaps this is a marketing ploy to consumers from every culture. Chipotle sounds sexier, spicier, younger, and more exotic than La Cascada which sounds older, wiser, and more traditional. Maybe to someone who is more familiar with Latino/Mexican cultures would argue neither of them, but since I can remember the things that stand out the most are the “excessive extras”. I am not sure if these differences in settings were designed to draw in certain customers or if that is just what the owners wanted, but it definitely has an effect on customer experience. Not to say that any one space is better than the other both equally have an experience that someone can enjoy, dislike, or ignore completely. Prior to today I had never really thought about the places I eat and how they make me feel. I just eat because it taste good, but I can’t escape the idea that I eat at particular rather than others because I like how the setting speaks to me and how it makes me feel.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gloria Trevi-Mexican Feminist/Queer Icon

Everyone knows who Madonna is, but you don't really hear too much about "The Mexican Madonna." Gloria Trevi was Mexico's first female artist to challenge issues of homophobia, gender and class. Her panty-showing performances even resulted in her being banned by the Mexican government from television. The latino queer community has embraced her as "Queen of Gays" due to her excessive drag like behavior and presence. The music video Todos Me Miran "Everyone Stares at Me" tells 3 stories. The main focus of the video is "coming out." Her message is that although coming out is difficult, whether it be as a queer individual, and independent woman or simply someone who is different, bigotry and the closed-mindedness that is perpetuated in society will soon be lessened by tolerance and acceptance. Todos Me Miran is revered as Mexico's gay anthem.

Thinking about art

After the discussion in class on Tuesday about Chicana Art and some of the works in it, I started to seriously interrogate the subject of how we come to understand and conceptualize art, what constitutes as a legitimate piece and how something so ephemeral and insignificant does and should matter. Particularly the issue of ephemeral pieces. It is easy to not recognize the value or legitimacy of an object, a sight, an event, a performance, et cetera because of it's ephemeral nature, particularly when it is not displayed in a tidy, conventional space such as a museum or theatre. The spatiality and temporality of art greatly influences its reception. A piece that is exhibited in a museum may be warmly received as innovative and cutting edge, but if that same piece is put on display in a street or a gas station bathroom many people would probably not stop to consider it or regard it as a legitimate work of art.

One example that came to mind upon my reflection was graffiti. Many people might find it to be a stretch of the imagination to consider graffiti as more than the result of juvenile vandalism and a disrespect and disregard for the property of others. However, graffiti can have a variety of implications and can certainly speak to the conditions or sentiments present in a particular neighborhood or location where it is found. It can also represent the frustration, violence and despair within a space, or perhaps just be somebody's interpretation of society, or even more benign, just be an artistic expression that happens to be using a wall, freeway overpass, abandoned building, sidewalk, et cetera as the canvas and medium of delivery.

The Image of "La Muy Muy"

While talking to my mom on video chat, this music video came out on her T.V. Even though I had heard this song before, I never really paid much attention to it because I was really annoyed by the song. Not because of it's lyrics but its catchy tune and the repetition of the "muy muy". I decided to watch the full video and actually pay attention to it and after that I found it quite interesting. In the song "la muy muy" (which I think would translate to "the snobby one") the singer Amandititita ( It literally means little little Amanda as the singer is really quite short) is singing about the stereotypical image that women are supposed to have: tall, blonde, colored eyes, make up, etc. Through her song not only is she rejecting this idea, but she also goes as far as to ridicule this idea. Singing "you think you're all that" Amanditita throughout this video depicts these women as snobby, disgusting, and goes as far as to say "you're even worse than Bush". Her role in the video becomes to seek revenge against this ideal image and prank all these women by doing mean things to them such as take out the breaks from her car as she is driving away. Yet throughout the song she is insulting these women, branding them as whores, bulimic (This idea is seen as the blonde woman goes into the restroom and vomits and Amandititita pushes her into the toilet, which we later find that she is actually pushed into a chocolate cake?).

Though I still don't know exactly what to think of the video, whether it really does seek to empower the women who are not accepted into this ideal image, I think it's rather important to note the person who is actually singing this song. The artist Amandititita is like her name, really really short. In reality she doesn't fit the "ideal" image discussed in class. She is not this attractive, seductive Latina. In fact, she is the complete opposite looking rather average and in the video none of her outfits are provocative. I'm interested in hearing other thoughts on this video. This song was popular in Mexico and I believe it I heard it maybe once in an L.A. radio station back home but every time I hear it, I just don't know what to think of it.

Taco Bell: Offensive Cuisine?

Who remembers the Taco Bell commercials in the 90s? The chihuahua became Taco Bell's mascot as he was featured in numerous commercials saying "Yo quiero Taco Bell!" in a heavy Spanish accent. I always wondered what happened to the commercials, but it appears as though they ceased after 2000. It was rumored to be due to Gidget's death, however it was due to Latino advocacy groups that lobbied against the campaign. Now Taco Bell has moved to more neutral campaigns of "think outside the bun" and "the drive thru diet."

What sparked my interest in this topic came from a late night Taco Bell run, what they now market as the "fourth meal." My friend and I discussed how Taco Bell's food taste is processed and vile, that it is not considered Mexican food, yet does not attempt to come off as authentic thus not making it offensive. However, it raised an interesting issue as to how one's adaptation of a particular cuisine when not executed properly can be exhibited as offensive because it still maintains the label of that particular cuisine. It seems as though that after the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" campaign, Taco Bell no longer attempts to sell its food as Mexican food, but instead as an alternative to hamburgers.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.


I want to know what people think about this video. I used it in my essay. I think it's particularly interesting that George Lopez, a comedian, uses immigration which is a very important political issue right now as one of his subjects for his stand-up routine. My take is that he uses the stereotypes associated with immigration, within the routine, and uses them to exert power over the stereotypes by saying that Latino's aren't going anywhere. I also think it relates to what we were talking about in class on how Latinos have been around longer than the rest of the population, so to say that they are now flooding America and immigration should be regulated doesn't really hold any weight because the Latino culture has been around longer than the rest of the population.
I like how George Lopez uses immigration in a non-threatening environment to take a stance on the issue and explain that he thinks it's absurd to start regulating immigration because he and his culture have been around for way too long, it is not a new phenomenon.

*NOTE* I didn't now how to put the video into the post so that you guys can watch it right on the blog, so I only posted the link. If anyone knows how to do it so you can see it in the blog, let me know and I'll repost it.

This song is one of the themes that I analyzed for my first paper. I decided to write about a Mexican singer named Paquita La Del Barrio, and she is known for her feminist songs and for her hate towards most men.
The song is about a woman wondering how she would treat women if she were a man. It's kind of like Beyonce's "If I were a boy" song, but Paquita's song is aimed mostly at married women and the way their husbands sometimes treat them like servants.
It is a very old song, and the video is not the best, but I think that the lyrics are very significant in advocating against machismo.

Speedy Gonzales

So every once in a while I decide to revisit my youth and watch some good ol' fashioned cartoons. Only this time I saw them in a new light. It's not a new discovery to say that Speedy Gonzales is representative of mexican stereotypes but last night while I was watching "1001 Rabbit Tales" on my netflix account it became newly apparent to me. This particular clip I found on youtube begins with a group of traditionally mexican mice (wearing the sombrero) speaking in what seems like very confused spanish on one side of a fence while the "gringo pussy cat" is on the other blocking their entrance. To me, it immediately resembled a type of crossing the border scene. The mexican mice wanting to get to the other side to get their cheese and the gringo pussy cat keeping them from doing so. Once they see him they immediately scurry away, representing a typical immigration stereotype.

In order to get the cheese they decide to find Speedy Gonzales, "the fastest mouse in all Mexico". The head mouse says that he is a "friend of [his] sister" which also resembled what we had been talking about with how the family is portrayed in mexico. Everybody knows everybody through family. The way they speak is particularly interesting. The spanish is very jumbled and according to the youtube comments (I don't speak spanish) it doesn't make sense. Their english is also shabby. One mouse says "anybody got it an idea?" seemingly commenting on the inability for mexicans to learn english. But anyways, just found this interesting.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Women and Food Imagery: Oveous Maximus’s “Dulce de Leche”

A while back, I spoke with a friend about Aparicio’s essays and how they described the way Latina women were “transformed into food” and “cannibalized” through salsa and other forms of pop culture. She recommended that I watch “Dulce de Leche”, a piece by Domican-American spoken word artist Oveous Maximus for more examples of food imagery used to describe women.

Well, I finally got around to watching the clip last night – and I’m so glad I did! “Dulce de Leche” presents a perspective on women and gender relations that seems sincere and refreshing. Maximus essentially uses this piece to advocate for the importance of women (and the importance of treating women with respect), in particular, the mothers.

Like the salsa performers in Aparicio’s essay, he compares women to food, but with entirely different rhetoric. He describes women as sweet :

“When I say dulce, I'm not talking sweet, sugar coated confectionery. But what I'm really saying, when I say dulce... Is that truly you are parallel to beauty. In ways we can't even comprehend. And in the same confusion we can't even Understand”

And makes comparisons between women and milk:

“But what about her leche? The one that skips the 1% and goes For the whole 8grams in the red cap. now take that, as a lesson learned because you can't Reduce or water her down. Her leche is pure... Pure like my mother, for raising two boys single... With two jobs just tryna make singles... So she could put food on our Table this, leche... Is what will nurture us.”

Maximus utilizes food imagery to depict women, not to cannibalize and consume them, but as a means to demonstrate and celebrate the importance of women. When he calls women “beautiful” and “pure”, he does not use the traditionally polarized image of pure, de-sexualized virgins or mothers, but instead uses examples of female strength, citing heroines such as Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and his own mother.

I’m attaching the link to his spoken word below. All of you that haven’t seen his spoken word yet, definitely should. To me, it is a powerful and sincere voice that speaks out in defense and praise of women.

Youtube: Oveous Maximus, Dulce de Leche APOLLO.

I really enjoyed today's discussion of Laura Perez's "Chicana Art: the Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities" as it made me connect several of our previous discussions of other texts to the discussion of Chicana art. It began with the discussion of the use of "kitsch" as postmodern art, as a way to give traditional or religious items new meaning, so that they, as Perez says, "contribute to the ongoing transformation of an increasingly globalized visual culture that Latin American immigration to the urban centers of the United States had helped to effect." This use of kitsch in a modern and clever way reminded me of the scene in Dahlia Season by Myriam Gurba where the racist goth sisters make fun of Desiree's old-school Vicente Fernandez King of the Rancheras record. Desiree was taking something traditional and making it her own, much like the artists Perez discusses.

The second connection I made was to the discussion we had on music genres and how Goth culture had a very "do-it-yourself" attitude. The clothing and objects that represent it are often things that have been sewn, ripped, dyed and otherwise altered from a previous form. Thus, the discussion of kitsch art, found object art, and some of the other forms described by Perez reminded me of the spirit of Goth culture and art. Both discussions involve "making do with what you got" in order to create something new, something modern, and something that speaks to you.

Ines Sainz, Latina News Reporter Sexually Harassed

Has anyone seen this article on the Latina news reporter for TV Azteca, Ines Sainz? The article pertains really well to idea that men objectify women in terms of their body, or see parts of women's bodies as a representation of the whole. What allegedly happened was, Ines Sainz had to interview Jets player Mark Sanchez in the Jets locker room and, upon waiting for him, got catcalls in her direction from the other Jets players as well as digs from them on her "bilingual abilities". She tweeted while waiting for Sanchez, “I’m dying of embarrassment! I am in the lockers of jets waiting for Mark Sanchez and while trying not to look to nowhere!” and again two minutes later, "Why is this the only way to do a pre-match interview for Monday! But too many male hormones in the environment!” The comments were so bad, she said, that she even had to cover her ears.
Not only did I think this event was interesting, and to say the least degrading, but also Clinton Portis's response, posted below.

Essentially, Portis conveyed the message that if Sainz did not want to be catcalled at, she shouldn't have been in the locker room in the first place He states "you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she's gonna want somebody. I don't know what kind of woman won't, if you get to go and look at 53 men's packages." As if simply putting an attractive woman near or in the same environment as 53 men would mean she would become sexually aroused for at least one of them. I mean, she was there for a news report. This guy seems to be saying that there was clearly an underlying reason she wanted to be in the Jets locker room other than to interview Sanchez and do her job. To me, it sounds like the harassment was uninvited and that by simply being an attractive woman doesn't mean one should expect degrading comments from men.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dora the Teenage Mom??

SWhen Mattel introduced a new "tween" Dora the Explorer, mothers of toddlers everywhere mourned the death of the lovable, pudgy kid who taught us how to solve problems as she navigated her way through the woods on missions to help others. Uproar about Dora's new look sparked controversy online, despite Mattel's reassurance that the tween Dora was simply an addition to the line and the original Dora wasn't going anywhere.

The new Dora has longer hair, a thinner body, and small pearl earrings. She is pictured as a teenage version of the original Dora, yet she wears a long tunic with purple leggings and some ballet flats. It is true that she does look more grown up than the previous pudgy girl who wore shorts and sneakers, but there is an indubitable different between the criticisms of mothers and the true appearance of her new character. They rally behind the idea that Dora will begin to “explore her sexuality instead of explore the woods” and begin to list the variety of things Dora would begin to do like drink, smoke, and get pregnant.

It makes me wonder why mothers are so concerned about the image on the left when I didn't hear anything from mothers when Lizzie McGuire started shopping for bras and started sporting a new look with tighter clothes that showed off Hilary Duff's recently acquired "assets." Mothers have actually created a petition against the new tween Dora, complaining that they have lost the "only Latina role model for children" to the Bratz-like materialistic craze of many girly products.

In this edited version of Mattel's released picture, Dora is seen sporting many of the stereotypes of Latinas. She is a smoker, an alcoholic, and a soon-to-be teenage mom. There's a tattoo on her arm and a welfare check in her beloved "backpack, backpack," and the new facial discoloration suggest she's been on drugs on some sort. Honestly, it all seems a little far fetched for a girl who is just going on to middle school sporting a newer look.

Trident Commercial

I’m sure many of you have seen this commercial of a young girl putting lipstick and eye shadow on a young boy where the mother immediately reacts by saying, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Reading this “Tomboy” entry reminded me how much gendering is going on in our media. I have taken gender and women studies classes and sociology classes where I came to the conclusion that gender is sexually constructed.

This video, featuring 2 Caucasian kids and a 1 caucasian mom, only lasts fifteen seconds but has a pretty powerful message. The commercial starts with the young girl telling the boy that he “looks good,” then showing the mother come in with a laundry basket asking “what are you doing.” With her laundry basket in hand, it shows the maternal figure of one to nurture as her son is obviously being unsupervised. Her surprised expression shows that she has been culturally shaped into thinking that make up on a male is not normal or appropriate. When the young girl responds, “fighting cavities,” it is supposed to make the situation better. The narrator continues to say, “Whatever they're doing, when kids are chewing Trident, at least they're helping fight cavities.” This caption seems to recognize that this image may not be the most common, but that its acceptable as long as they are chewing Trident. I have mixed feelings on this commercial because I like the end message that it doesn’t matter what they’re doing, as long as they’re happy. Happy in this case may mean just the act of playing with friends or exploring with make up. It is expected that advertisers will play to society’s unfamiliarity with this situation in hopes of catching their attention to the television when this commercial comes up. Either way, I’ve seen this commercial over three times and I don’t watch that much television to begin with. Go figure.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I work at the Multicultural Community Center and my boss, Elisa Huerta, shared this really amazing video with me and I wanted to share it with y'all.

The video is a representation of children's book by Karleen Pendleton Jiménez. It is about a little latin@ child named Alex who does and likes "boy" things and gets bullied for it because she's female. The story is told just like a children's book, its clear and simple and makes little kids question things and in the end they are supposed to learn a valuable lesson. Put simply, the lesson is that there aren't supposed to be "boy" and "girl" things and that everyone should be free to be who they are and like what they want. I appreciated the video because in sense it's a reflection of my own life. I wish I would have had hair like Alex when I was a kid, I waited years before cutting my hair off because of fear of being bullied for not just liking "boy" things but for looking like a boy too. Although it seems rare to have kids acting like the "opposite sex," children seem to be pretty inclined to explore different things. Restrictions and rules are applied in school and at home and become internalized in a child's head.

There are other examples of authors writing children's book with similar messages. It is interesting to see how young children think about and act out gender. Tools like these should be used to not just deconstruct gender rolls among children but to stop them from developing in the first place. It seems like gender is stamped on a child as soon as the parents know what the sex of the baby is, and they become more and more gendered as kids go through grade school.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Machismo ??? NOT! : The "Mandilon" in Mexico

In this week's lecture we talked about machismo and the portrayal of a "Macho" man in traditional Latin culture. I feel that this conception of a macho is in fact mainly used in the U.S. and not so much in Mexico. I agree with a comment made in class about how "macho" is used to promote a view of sexism among Mexicans. Rodriguez's article highlights the constructed notion of male domination over the family and how the Chicano movement is centered in the man, however this is not always the case. The term "Mandilon" is highly used in Mexico and used to describe any men ( a lot of whom I personally know); "mandilon" is the complete opposite of "macho." There is no direct translation for the word, but basically it describes a male (husband) who is a pushover, is docile, and completely obedient to the wife. The wife yells at him, uses some sort of violence against him, and the mandilon is usually seen doing some sort of housework whether it be cooking, washing, or cleaning. He is mainly characterized by wearing an apron (apron=mandil in Spanish, thus this is where the term deviates from).
Here is a video of a mandilon and his wife:
The man, Hector Suarez, is a famous comedian in Mexico
So basically the lady ( a neighbor) comes to ask for a cup of sugar and asks him why he puts up with such bad treatment. He is wearing the typical apron a mandilon should have. The wife overhears and tells her to go to the store to get some sugar. She also says it took her effort to master this "idiot" so the neighbor should work to get her own mandilon. The husband just stammers and pretty much stays quiet. The wife threatens to kill them both if he were to cheat.

Here is a song by Banda Machos (a really famous band in Mexico) about the mandilon:
Ya no pude salir, mandilon mandilon
a pasear por ahi, mandilon mandilon
ya no pude gozar pues le estorba el mandil
mandilon mandilon.

Mandilon es aquel que lo manda la novia
la esposa, la suegra y lo manda acostar
cuidense de casarse, cuidense de la hembra
cudense de la esposa o les diran
mandilon mandilon mandilon
te pondran a lavar, a barrer, a trapiar
le daras al bebe cuando quiera comer
te pondran a planchar no te pudes negar
o te puden dejar el ojo de chofer
no no, no lo niego si si, si yo lo soy
no no, no sere, si si, ya veras
mandilon mandilon,

Ya no pude salir, mandilon mandilon
a pasear por ahi, mandilon mandilon
ya no pude gozar pues le estorba el mandil
mandilon mandilon.

Con la liberacion, liberacion de la mujer
a todos nos va a caer el apodo de mandilon
no no, no lo niego si si si yo lo soy
no no, no sere si si ya veraz
mandilon mandilon.

Ya no pude salir, mandilon mandilon
a pasear por ahi, mandilon mandilon
ya no pude gozar pues le estorba el mandil
mandilon mandilon
Mandilon es aquel que lo manda la novia
la esposa, la suegra y lo manda acostar
cuidense de casarse, cuidense de la hembra
cudense de la esposa o les diran
mandilon mandilon mandilon.

I could not go out anymore, mandilon mandilon
to walk around, mandilon mandilon
I could not enjoy because the apron is a hinder
mandilon mandilon.

Mandilon is he who get bossed around by the bride
wife, mother and gets sent to bed
beware of marriage, beware of the female
beware of the wife or you will be called
mandilon mandilon mandilon
she will put you to wash, sweep, Mop
you will give her the baby when he wants to eat
she will make you iron, you cant say no
or she can leave you a driver's eye
no no, i do not deny it yes, yes, yes I am
no no, I do not deny it, yes, yes, yes I am a
mandilon mandilon,

With the liberation, liberation of women
we are all going to get the nickname mandilon
no no, I do not deny it Yeah yeah yeah I am
no no no yes yes I will be a
mandilon mandilon.

I could not go out anymore, mandilon mandilon
to walk around, mandilon mandilon
I could not enjoy because the apron is a hinder
mandilon mandilon.

Mandilon is he who get bossed around by the bride
wife, mother and gets sent to bed
beware of marriage, beware of the female
beware of the wife or you will be called
mandilon mandilon mandilon