Monday, November 22, 2010

Dog Eat Dog Eat World: Animals and Stereotypes

In most films and television shows whenever a Chihuahua is present there is likelihood that there are going to be stereotypes. Whether it is the name or behavior, animals do not escape objectification of their ethnicity or origins. The Chihuahua gets its name from the state Chihuahua in Mexico as that is where the breed was concentrated. Aside from what media and film portray this little doggie to be, the American Kennel Club (AKC) describe the Chihuahua a smart little dog with “saucy expressions and sassy….” An uncommon practice when depicting the Chihuahua in film with some sort of animation or voice over is giving the doggie a very thick accent and the expectation that they know Spanish. In the film Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Papi is trying to rescue his posh Beverly Hills' friend Chloe who is dognapped in Mexico.

In the trailer alone, there are clips that are funny but also reinforcing stereotypes about Latin@ cultures. In the scene where the other speaks in Spanish to the posh Chloe and she doesn't understand. He implies your chihuahua, you're suppose to know Spanish. Even doggies face tropicalization about their breed origins. It is funny, but craazy.


  1. This reminds me of the popular animated children’s movie Oliver and Company. The movie is about a little kitten in New York City and the animal friends he makes as he journeys through the city. There is a character in the movie named Tito who happens to be a Chihuahua. Tito has a strong Mexican accent and serves as the sort of “ghetto” character. There is one scene in specific where the animals are trying to steal a car. Tito takes it upon himself to do most of the work because he seems to already know how to steal a car. This, of course, incorporates the popular thug/criminal stereotypes of Mexican men. The little dog buries himself under the steering wheel and starts taking apart the intricate wires to jump-start the car. It was amazing to me how much the stereotypes stood out in this movie and were not trying be subtle or anything. It seems like whenever you see a talking Chihuahua in a movie it will for sure incorporate latin@ stereotypes.

  2. I feel that animals are often used to deploy racist assumptions about people because they are using animals and not actual human representations...

    I will forever associate the chihuahua with Taco Bell...the franchise definitely tapped into a successful representational repertoire of what constitutes a Mexican or Latino identity, the harsh, thick accent among the principal signifiers...

    Moreover, the fact that the restaurant is a complete appropriation of what is supposed to Mexican food, further propogates the animal as a symbol of the imagined Mexican identity and culture that is said to exist in the United States