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! :)

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of an article I read in the past about Ritmo Latino, the Latin music store banning J.Lo's albums from its shelves because she refused to some to their stores to promote her music. The President of Ritmo Latino was saying that maybe it had to do with her not being as fluent in Spanish as her husband and not being able to carry on a conversation in Spanish on her own, fast enough. In the article they brought up a point about how it makes sense that she perhaps didn't want to embarrass herself or just not wanting to put herself in that uncomfortable position. They said that just because she has an entire album in Spanish- Como Ama Una Mujer- that it doesn't mean she is fluent in Spanish, that any singer can sing in Spanish and not know how to carry on a conversation in Spanish without a script, just like Beyonce (sings in Spanish but is doesn't mean she is fluent in it). Overall the Ritmo Latino people were sort of upset because she was letting down those dominantly Spanish-speaking fans by refusing to show up.

    That's an interesting topic though- are you less of a Latina if you don't speak fluent Spanish? Well the Latina part is still in your genes so in my opinion it doesn't but I'm sure it matters since these Latina singers have dominantly Spanish-speking fans and it's a shame if you can't communicate with people who support you.