Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FFB: Women in Media

Tee: J Crew
Blazer: New York & Co.
Skirt: Gap
Belt: Ann Taylor
Scarf: Target
Flats: Naturalizer
Earrings: Target?

This entire look was based on a picture of this hair.


That is a true story. I pinned that image I don't even know how long ago and now that my hair is so terribly grown out that I can't wear it down, I've been trying to find a look other than my traditional high bun.

But, enough about my crazy hair. I've been slacking on my Feminist Fashion Bloggers posts for the past few months, but I've been thinking a lot about this month's topic: Women in the Media and Popular Culture.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and, of course, I'm thinking of this from the perspective of a Latina who grew up primarily in the States. So, there's my bias. I've been thinking a lot about the representation of women of color in the media quite often these days and thinking about how that plays into my own sense of identity and self expression. Too heavy for a style blog? Perhaps, but let's take it there today, shall we?

I've been thinking about this as I (finally) got caught up on Glee. I think Glee has one of the more diverse casts on television, but one of the issues I have with the show is its reliance on stereotypes for so many of the characters (Mercedes, for example). I think they try. I think there are some characters that are actually complex. As a Latina, I have to mention Santana. While that's one of those names that non-Latinos think are legitimately Latino and I am kind of weird about having believable names, I do like that they've developed her character a bit. The thing that bugs me, though? She's so spicy, that Santana, with all that attitude.

Because, you know, that's what we Latinas are: spicy. And all of us "ethnic" girls are angry, or at least attitude-y. (Either that or subservient women oppressed by machismo - but that's a different post. Also another post: the label "ethnic" for people who are not white.) I grew up seeing these images - not often, of course, because for the first twenty years of my life, I didn't see many Latinas on tv or in movies - and I've fought so hard against being the stereotype.

Because, really? When all you see is that woman with the attitude, who gets mad and spouts off in Spanish for everyone's amusement, it does get to you. Is that how you want to be represented all the time? I'm lucky that I had a family that held up other images, but what about kids that don't have that? You get a little angry that you're constantly portrayed as a one dimensional angry woman. Self fulfilling prophecy....

I often tell B that what I want to see is Latinos on tv just living. And I guess there are some shows like that (Ugly Betty), I just don't watch enough tv to really know. Ditto for the movies. Even more for books. When I write a book, I'm not explaining any of my Latinas. Does that make sense? They're just going to live and be. Maybe they'll be angry, maybe they'll be pushy, but they'll be a whole lot more besides. You know, like me and all the other Latinas I know.


  1. Hey! I just joined FFB (and I'm your 100th follower, too!). Great post. It is truly enraging to see how women of color get pigeon holed in the media, and you are right- the feisty latina is a popular and overplayed trope. In my FFB post I discussed representations of Native women in fashion- maybe it will interest you?

  2. Yes! You are totally rocking that hairstyle, you look gorgeous!

  3. On tv, no one ever really just lives. Almost all of the characters, no matter what the race or ethnicity are trapped in some kind of stereotype. I'm Italian and Greek and my life has never been anything like that of the sopranos or my big fat greek wedding (can't think of any tv shows prominently featuring greek people) and I never felt like the people around me expected me to behave like that.

    But, it might be nice for some True diversity amongst our media, since for so many, it is what they live and breath and is their truest reality.

  4. So, are you writing a book? I want to read it ...

  5. So much fun happening in your outfit. The pattern mixing, the stripes peeking out of the blazer, the mix of tan and look awesome!

    I really loved Ugly Betty. Not that it's what your post was about, I'm just saying. I'm Italian and from Jersey, so people like to ask if I'm anything like Snooki. Stupid Jersey Shore.

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  6. Great post, and I loved to read your perspective on this issue. One thing I'm left wondering about is this: I do think that members of (suppressed, disadvantaged, or supposedly-but-not-truly-equal) minorities are more likely to have had negative experiences because of their minority membership, and they have a right to be angry about it, and showing them voicing their justified anger at what's wrong in our society could be done from an empowering angle, couldn't it? Though I guess that's not what's happening here, the anger is just explained away as part of a stereotype... I'd absolutely love to see more non-stereotypical characters that "just live" and whose minority membership is not made into their role (which also happens to gay / lesbian / characters, and to "token female" characters in general - with "female" being, of course, the only "minority" that isn't one).

  7. I will be heading over to check it out - definitely sounds interesting.

  8. Thanks! Usually I don't have enough hair to do cool stuff with it, but this worked out decently well.

  9. You're right - there are too many stereotypes on television. I have felt like I've been expected to act on those stereotypes - although I've noticed it more for my students in the States.
    But yeah, there's a need for more diversity. Bones is the one show I can think of with a diverse cast that's as close to "just living" as tv gets.... I must not watch enough tv, though.

  10. I do love that you noticed all the details in my outfit, because I loved the look. :) And yeah, stupid Jersey Shore! Hahaha!

  11. I do think that there's a level of empowerment in the anger, but I'd also say that in my own experience, the minute I express it, there's a lot of eye-rolling with a kind of "here's that feisty Latina" attitude that just dismisses it. And, yeah, I notice this all the time with GBLT characters and with so many of the female characters on tv and in movies. There are a lot of these conversations at my house; we have a hard time watching movies because I'm tearing these issues apart.

  12. Love the hair, I am so useless at doing anything with my hair, hence the reason it is nearly always down. I love the colours in your scarf too

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  13. you perfectly recreated the hair! this is such a cute outfit, love the photos :)


  14. Glee infuriates me for many reasons, but the main one is that it praises itself for being so diverse, but it relies heavily on stereotypes that are offensive. Tina and Mike's characters also often behave in very stereotypical ways. Even its portrayal of the white female characters is riddled with more general stereotypes about women. I've also noticed that some of the time, if a show does have a main character who is a POC, they'll go in the opposite direction and completely "whitewash" them. Is it too much to ask for shows to write multifaceted characters?

    PS: Love the hair!


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