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.