Hold onto your butts, this one’s good. Series writer Gabby explains that, “One [of the things that has most excited fans] is the identities: Queer Latina. She’s also a positive presence and has these catch phrases, like ‘chico.’ And she has feelings for Kate [Bishop, a.k.a. Hawkeye]. So what will the first major queer Latina superhero do with all her super crush-worthy powers?
This year, Disney premiered its first Latina princess: Elena Castillo Flores, better known as Elena of Avalor. She sings and plays guitar, she goes on adventures, rules her kingdom and has her own highly rated animated TV show.
The 16-year-old crown princess had been trapped in an amulet for 41 years (so technically, she’s 57 — which might make her one of Disney’s oldest princesses, but that’s another story). Her backstory begins when another animated Disney princess, Sofia the First, sets her free. Elena confronts the evil sorceress Shuriki, voiced by Jane Fonda, who killed her parents and took over the kingdom.
Elena avenges her parents, drives Shuriki out, and begins her reign over the port city of Avalor. “She is the first princess actively ruling her kingdom, and I think that’s new,” says Aimee Carrero, the Dominican-Puerto Rican actress who lends her voice to Elena. “So she has a day job. You know, there’s no Prince Charming, she’s her own hero. She’s learning that leadership is about sacrifice, and not about this sort of totalitarian control over the people she rules — and sort of resembles more of a president than princess. There’s never been a better time to tell this story.”
I remember a couple of years back when I was first really beginning to own my Latina identity I decided to go through the “Latina” tag on tumblr to see if I found any stories about successful Latinas. The only thing I remember seeing that day was porn, not just scantily clad women in bikinis but completely naked pictures, labia, fellatio, the whole nine yards. And if you try it right now with safe search off, it’s the same story. It’s sad that young Latinas don’t have a safe space. When we search for empowerment we find degradation.
I’m a writer and web developer from Colorado, and I am a white passing Latina. I was born to a German/Russian/Jewish mother and a Mexican/Nicaraguan/Spanish/Martian father. For most of my life, I had no idea what ‘Latino’ was, or that my mom’s family was Jewish, or really anything. I heard my dad speak words I didn’t understand, and he wouldn’t tell me what they meant.
I was about ten years old when I began learning about my heritage. As I learned more about what Latinos were, what their culture was, what their languages were, I felt like this missing piece of me was finally coming back.
One problem: I’m white. I looked nothing like the people I saw in pictures, or even like my family in Mexico. When I told my friends I was Mexican, I was met with, “You’re too white to be Mexican.“ This came from whites and Latinos. After all, I’m white, I don’t speak Spanish, I’ve never been to Mexico, I don’t spend time with my Mexican family, no way am I Latina.
Today, I speak Spanish, like Spanish music, dance salsa, and enjoy Mexican cooking, but I still hesitate to call myself Latina.
Beauty Standards: White skin doesn’t help you when you’re fat. I was constantly reminded by family, by schoolmates, random men and by media in general, that I was too fat, that boys like skinny girls, that girls liked skinny girls. Although, since I’m a woman, I’d be getting crap whether I was skinny or not.
I grew up during a time when tanning was all the rage (and arguably, still is), and started getting crap for being too white. So, while all the white girls were tanning, all the girls of color were trying to look more white.
By the time I was a junior in high school, I gave up trying to please everyone and went back to playing my vidya games.
Dating and Relationships: My family doesn’t discriminate when it comes to sex, and apparently, neither do I. My first “boyfriend” in middle school was Vietnamese, and in high school, I had two Filipino/Mexican boyfriends. In college, I dated a German/Chinese guy, a Russian guy and a black/Korean guy. I, uh, I’m noticing a pattern here.
Every once in awhile, I’d get those douchebags that used Spanish pick up lines. I’m all for speaking another language, but not if you’re reading pick up lines from a site that teaches you how to flirt with Latinas. Relying on outdated stereotypes, and things you’ve learned from porn will get you nowhere.
Well, it might get you a kick to the crotch.
Food:Even before I fully embraced my Hispanic heritage, I loved the hell out of Mexican food. I also love sangria. If you want to be my best friend, take me to a place that has sangria. No issues here, just love for food!
Identity issues:I’m a walking identity issue. To prevent those negative thoughts, and many of those lovely micro-aggressions, I just say I’m white and be done with it.
Micro-aggressions, Or How to Quickly Piss Me Off:
I’m too “white” to be Latina.
You talk too much like a white girl.
You’re too smart to be Latina or You’re like, the only smart Latina I know.
Wow, a Mexican girl who doesn’t have a kid?
No, where are you really from?
And just so we’re clear, ignorance knows no race. I’ve heard every single one of these comments come from whites, [Black people] and even other Latinas.
Things I’d like to see less of:
“No, where are you really from?” Seriously, stop it.
Stop fetishizing women of color. We’re human beings, not porn categories.
Jokes about Asian men’s penis size. It’s not funny, and it’s not going to make you friends.
Idiots on the internet. Hey, I can dream.
Things I’d like to see more of:
Well written interracial relationships. Not just about a white guy and the flavor of the month.
More well written Native American characters.
More diverse lit, shows and films. Preferably more diverse sci-fi stuff. Cuz I leik sci-fi.
Tropes/Stereotypes I’m tired of seeing:
Say it with me now: No more Latino stereotypes! No more “fiery Latinas”, maids or drug dealers. If the character is a maid or dealer, at least write them realistically.
Female characters getting killed/raped/tortured/kidnapped as a plot device, to shock, or to motivate the male character.
Stereotypical Muslim villains, or helpless Muslim women who need Americans to save them.
No more outdated stereotypes. It’s 2016, time to move on.
You become so much more proud
so aware of your mother tongue
so aware of the path you crawled
to open these university doors
Because you come from vecinos
that can’t retell a story
of attending higher ed
a familia with zero history
Bills and food were priority.
Not the need to study.
You come from ninos
who don’t have teachers
and doctors that look like them.
An absence of graduates.
You come from the bets
your familia placed on you
like a new card in la loteria –
el estudiante – a first generation dream
of low funded schools
to search for yourself
that doesn’t reflect you.
You are the product
of a familia who left
their entire vidas
on the other side of la frontera.
Now they work like machines
to give you a shot at a dream.
So for the first time ever
you walk through halls and classrooms
like an endangered species
surrounded by students and professors
that don’t look like you.
Surrounded in students
who don’t understand you.
Surrounded in the feeling
that you don’t belong.
You carry your mother’s esperanza
in your palms and it feels like a brush
you will use to color
the endless white canvas
that surrounds you.
And you will paint it with the taste
of overcoming a tangled tongue,
of being the first in your familia to balance
el trabajo y el estudio. You will paint
the strangeness of being the chisme
of la vecindad, with all its assumptions
With all of its pressures.
Can you feel
your tios and tias look to you?
Can you feel your primas and primos
look up to you?
Can you feel your papa look
And so you turn
much more brown,
with all its beauty
when you realize how
only your voice
in this class
carries the story
of what it means
to be a prodigy
of your people.
With the pen cradled
in your palm
you listen to the voices
whisper the endless prayer
in your ears…
para que tu, como yo,
no te quebres la espalda
mi hija, mi hijo.
I’m Michelle, a Chicana girl (though my grandfather is Italian), and I live by Chicago. My dad grew up in Michoacan, but I think my mom grew up nearby. I was raised here and I’ve only visited Mexico twice.
I grew up with a mix of American and Mexican cuisine, since sometimes my dad, who slept during the day, would cook, and other times my mom would pick something up or let me cook . We often eat tacos of carne asada, rice, refried beans, pico de gallo, tamales, pozole (on special occasions when my aunts came over), etc. The rest of the time I have pasta, steak, hot dogs, pizza, fried chicken, etc. Almost all meals include tortillas. For the most part I enjoy food from both groups, but I didn’t like any kinds of sauce or toppings, except for cilantro or spaghetti sauce.
I used to wear pretty girly clothing as a little kid, but I got sick of dresses and constricting clothing after a while. Once I began to manage myself, I rarely wore dresses, kept a loose, low ponytail at all times, and wore much less pink. My mom only got really annoyed when I insist that I don’t want to wear a dress to a formal thing, but she often tells me to tie my hair up more tightly. It was pretty annoying.
My first language was Spanish, but it was almost completely replaced by English when I went into preschool. I can still understand Spanisn, and I can write in it a bit, but I can’t really speak it. The reason for this was that nearly all my relatives spoke it, so I picked up a bit from their gossip and debates. However, I didn’t want to risk looking like a fool, so I rarely even tried speaking to them. My Spanish grammar is okay, but I have a cruddy vocabulary and few opportunities to practice. My dad speaks to us in it half the time because his English isn’t the best, but it’s not enough. Honestly I just hope I can improve enough by myself so I can practice more with others, because I don’t want to be embarrassed.
I don’t really get much of this, since I go to school in a pretty diverse area. However, my Mexican friend told me that I was the “whitest Mexican” that she knew, which really hurt. She’s still a good friend, though.
Dating and Relationships
I was never really into boys as much as other girls, but my mom still told me to wait before dating. I’m in high school and I still don’t really see the appeal.
I’m a Roman Catholic. I was baptized and raised as one, and my mom still makes me come to Mass on Sundays. My grandmas were/are really religious, but my dad isn’t really. I went to a Catholic elementary school, and still do for high school. Despite this, being a Catholic is my choice and I wouldn’t change for the world.
I guess I don’t really think of myself as either American or Mexican, but as both. I just wish I could’ve learned more about my language and culture while I was young, but now it’s up to me. I sometimes fear that I’m not “Mexican enough”.
My parents really want me and my 4 siblings to get straight As in school, but I have like zero work ethic. My siblings and I are actually all above average intelligence, but it’s really hard to meet expectations. Any grade below a C could get you hit with the belt and sent to work. Still, it could be worse.
My knowledge of Spanish, though limited, actually helps during Latin class, and I placed in half the tests I took at a classics convention. I also really like geometry, algebra, science, and history.
Things I’m tired of seeing
Overly sexual Latinas- I get it, people can be sexual however they like. That doesn’t mean that every other Latina portrayed has to be some temptress.
Lazy Mexicans- While they exist, only a few I know are actually really lazy, and that’s only sometimes.
Luz Argentina Chiriboga is an Afro-Ecuadorian writer who was one of the first writers to address the duality African and Hispanic cultures. In her poetry and novels, she writes about women in ways that challenge preconceived stereotypes. Her short story “El Cristo de la mirada baja” won first prize in 1986 in the International Literary Contest of the Liberator General San Martín held in Buenos Aires.
Beginning in 1983, Chiriboga became involved in the Congress of Black Culture, participating in the event held in Cali, Colombia and the 1985 Congress in Panama. These conventions, inspired her to begin work on her novel Bajo la piel de los tambores (Under the Skin of the Drums). The novel, published in 1991, marked an emergence of Afro-Latina identity into what had been either a homogenized Hispanic literary tradition or an Afro-Hispanic tradition focusing on male protagonists. Not only did it introduce race, but the work encompassed topics often avoided in Hispanic literature, such as birth control, fetishism, sexual violence, and others. It received favorable critical attention, as as had a short story she published while she was working on the novel, called “El Cristo de la mirada baja”. The story won first prize in 1986 in the International Literary Contest of the Liberator General San Martín held inBuenos Aires.Chiriboga’s works challenge the stereotypes of women’s sexuality, and looks at desire, ignoring the traditions of propriety imposed by patriarchal honor codes and religious authority. She confronts stereotypical ideas of clerical purity by depicting their sensuality and lustful black women with characters who are asexual. Recognizing that men writing about women tend to poeticize them, Chiriboga uses her voice to raise consciousness. She also questions the duality of culture and what it means to be part of the African Diaspora in a country dominated by Latino and mestizo traditions. She has been a featured speaker at conferences and seminars throughout Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe, and has had her works translated into English, French, Italian and Quechua.
Shout out to my Latina girls that can’t speak or can speak very little Spanish. You’re still Latina and your identity is valid
shout out to my Latina girls that have a thick accent when speaking English and get made fun of.
Shout out to my Latina girls that feel left out from their family because they’re too “americanized”. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’ve been raised differently and that’s okay. Make your own culture.
Shout out to my Latina girls that have a lot of hair. It’s okay. it’s natural. You don’t need to change for anyone but yourself.
Shout out to my Latina girls that don’t have the large breasts or big butt that we seem to have become known for. Those traits do not define beauty. You’re beautiful.
Shout out to my Latina girls that are told by their parents that they have to find a husband at a young age. You don’t need to get married if you don’t want to. Go out and live your own life.
Shout out to my Latina girls that are told they’re perpetuating a stereotype by being emotional. Your emotions are valid. You are not perpetuating anything.
Shout out to my Latina girls that are told they are “too white” or “too black” to actually be Latina. Brown is not the only color. Being Latina is a culture and it is a spectrum. You’re still Latina.
Shout out to my Latina girls that are constantly mistaken for Mexican, even when you have said which country you’re from. Some people just group us into one group. You don’t have to deal with that.
Shout out to my Latina girls that don’t like to wear makeup. You don’t need to wear makeup if you don’t want to.
Shout out to my Latina girls that DO wear makeup. You’re rocking it and keep on being you.
Shout out to my Latina girls that have short hair. Short hair does not mean masculine. Rock that short hair and keep being you.
Shout out to Latina girls that are told to just jump back over the border and go home. You deserve to be here. Don’t let anyone make you think different
A new survey from Pew shows that, not only do a sizeable portion of Latinos in the U.S. believe that they have it harder now than they did a year ago, the amount that say it’s getting worse is growing.
According to the survey, 32% of Latinos say their situation in the U.S. has gotten worse in the past year. Only 15% said the same thing in 2013.
Meanwhile, 49% of Latinos say their situation is about the same, down from 58% in 2013. A much smaller portion of Latinos think their situation has gotten better — 16% — down from 25% four years ago. Read more (2/24/17 4:10 PM)
My mother is Black, Puerto Rican, Possible Native American (see below) and Danish. My father is Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and German. I have a look that a Military boyfriend once told me military intelligence called “One Village Over” because I could be dropped in lots of countries and blend in as a local.
Something that needs saying: Back in the day, in the South, it was safer to be Native American than Black. In some cases, people’s “Cherokee” ancestors may have been Black or Mixed Race people who wrote themselves down as whatever the local tribe was in self defense. This may not have always been the case, but I feel it needs to be said with all the romanticizing of ancestry and “my great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee Princess!” Holy crap. I’m a romantic, yes, and some stuff really is better with princesses, but your family tree isn’t necessarily one of those things.
Culture: My mother raised me more Puerto Rican than anything. I am very very stereotypically Western feminine in many ways and I was planning a Quince Años. Sadly, my 15th birthday would have been 09/26/2001. Yup, 15 days after the Twin Towers were hit. I felt it was heinously inappropriate, growing up in a DC suburb, to have a massive party and celebration of life that close to such a tragedy. So I cancelled.
I have regretted it ever since. I am the only girl cousin for a few generations. I watched, however, as my Latinx classmates went off to buy a pink dress, or white if you were super traditional, tried on tiaras and took waltz lessons. It always felt a little like my womanhood had been forgotten. I was coddled by my family until I was in my mid-twenties, and, even though I hit puberty shockingly early (9 years old), I was always the “baby”.
I am now nearing 30 and have decided to fix this. My mother and I embraced the writings of Jill Connor Browne in my teen years and I feel that “if no-one has (crowned me Quinceañera) by now, it’s high time I do it myself.” Being mixed race, I’ve always come at my cultural heritage at an angle, so the fact that I am not traditionally Christian, not a teenage girl, and using a Geeky theme seems oddly fitting.
“Where are you from?” (Virginia.)
“What race are you?” (Mixed. Most people don’t believe me if I tell them.)
“I just love *insert whatever race they think I am here* women!” (Just stop. That isn’t a compliment. Even if you get it right. Some women have a kink for being fetishized. Not me.)
People speaking Spanish to me. Sometimes they change it up and use Korean, Greek, Tagalog, Kreyol, or some other language I only know by sound. (I speak English, a tiny bit of Spanish, a little French and only enough German, Japanese and Latin to get in trouble at parties. Stop assuming I speak a language because you think you know my Ethnicity.)
Identity issues: I don’t JUST identify as Latinx. I am also Black and White. I have had doctors default to assuming I’m White, which might kill me if they misdiagnose me because “you can’t possibly have that disease! You aren’t Black/Spanish enough.” Of course, it’s just as troubling when they decide I’m Latinx and immediately hand me a doctor/nurse who starts speaking Spanish at me, because I forgot most of my Spanish when circumstances put me in a French immersion school.
Also, there is a stereotype that Latinx people are uneducated or are lazy about education and will find any excuse to slack off at school. I read everything I can. Always have. I come from a very well-to-do Puerto Rican family and my mother was a scientist’s daughter, so I was not allowed to be a lazy student. It always confused my classmates that I was in advanced English and History, but in Special Education Math and Science. Surely, if I was Special Ed., I must be a “lazy, troublemaking Latina”. At least one teacher had this impression as well, and seemed to go out of her way to treat me as such, as well as dismissing my depression as “needing to think positive”. I am still shedding that baggage and trying to teach myself that I am not stupid or lazy or a troublemaker.
Tropes/Stereotypes I’m tired of seeing:
“Spicy Latina” (I identify as Latinx. But, I was born shy, and sass and sex appeal do not come naturally to me. Latinx people can be confident and sexy and sassy, but please, make them more than that and don’t let that be all of them.)
Lazy Latino Criminal/in-the-making (Plenty of Latinx folk are studious and lawful. We aren’t all illegals and most illegals are just trying to make a living, so really? How lazy is that?)
Strident Catholic Latinxs (I was raised Episcopalian and am now Unitarian Universalist leaning towards Spiritualist/Low Christianity. My relatives in Puerto Rico are mostly Episcopalian, Baptist and Lutheran.)
All Latinx Witches are Brujos (Brujeria is Central American. Other cultures may have their own different syncretic faiths, because they have different cultures backing them. Yoruba is not Igbo is not Asante. Mexico is not Cuba is not Brazil.)