In the essay “The Myth of The Latin Woman: I Just Met A Girl Named Maria” by Judith Ortiz Cofer she discusses how latin women get treated and how they are perceived. Cofer herself being a latin gets into detail on how she’s been discriminated against, objectified, and stereotyped. Cofer argues that Latin women are objectified by society based on stereotypes. Cofer’s birth place is Hormigueros, Puerto Rico however she spent most of her younger years in Paterson, New Jersey but before her parents finally decide to settle down I Augusta, Georgia.
Being that Cofer is Puerto Rican and comes from a family who believes in embracing their roots and culture as a younger child she always felt different and as thought she would stand out. In one occasion while attending high school it was announced to be Career day the next day and to come into school in business attire. Cofer posits “It quickly became obvious that to the barrio girls, “dressing up” sometimes meant wearing ornate Jewelry and clothing that would be more appropriate (by mainstream standards) for the company Christmas party than s daily office attire”(92).
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As Cofer recalls she wasn’t the only latin girl who had trouble finding something appropriate to wear. She goes on to describe how the other students mustVe looked down on them and how the nuns were using them as examples. Cofer says “On that day at school, we were simply made the negative models by the nuns who were themselves not credible fashion experts to any of us. But it was painfully obvious to me that to the others, in their tailored skirts and silk blouses, we must have seemed “hopeless” and “vulgar. (92). This is when Cofer knew she was out of place the moment she saw the way others looked down on her because of her tight skirt and Jangle bracelets. The stereotyping of people begin at an early age however when you’re a young latin girl such as cofer it opens your eyes to the true unjust way of viewing Latin women. Simply because Cofer’s clothes weren’t as fancy or classy as the rest of the classmates they all looked at her a certain way for wearing tight clothes, too much Jewelry, or too many colors.
This is what Cofer s arguing objectifying latin women by stereotyping them and trying to make them out into something they are not can damage them psychologically and make them feel and think as if they don’t belong when they are not the problem the problem is society. Thought Cofer overcame whatever came her way in her youth she still deals with it as an adult. Cofer describes of a time when she goes away with a colleague to a metropolitan hotel and some time after they finish at the theater a man in a suit approaches them ready to belt out a ballet to Cofer. She posits “…
Stepped directly into our path. With his champagne glass extended toward me, he ex-claimed, “Evita! ” Our way blocked, my companion and I listened as the man half-recited, half-bellowed “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina. ” When he finished, the young girl said: “How about a round of applause for my daddy? ” We complied, hoping this I would bring the silly spectacle to a close”(94). Not only I this insulting but this is degrading considering Cofer explains how said man goes on to sing a dirty version of “La Bamba” and replacing the name with Maria and rhyming it with an STD.
This is appalling because the man was obviously stereotyping Cofer whether or not she may have looked Latin the simple fact that he calls her out on it and insults her in front of a crowd of people all the while he’s thinking its funny not taking into consideration Cofers feelings. This however wasn’t the first time something like this acquired to Cofer. In Cofer’s youth she was asked to a dance by a boy and she says yes so they go to prom and she had a good time until he started trying to do things Cofer wasn’t approving of. Cofer states “…
The boy who took me to my first formal dance leaned over to plant a sloppy overeager kiss painfully on my mouth, and when I didn’t respond with sufficient passion said in a resentful tone: “l thought you Latin girls were supposed to mature early” … “(92). This is a horrible part of “the myth” where young boys and teenage boys always want the Latin girls because they think theyll get some kind of action for some reason Latin girls are more “mature”. Mature in the dictionary now under adjective the first thing you’ll read will be “Fully developed physically; Full-grown. She was now mature woman”. This is what that young boy was referring to however why was the fact that she’s Latin make it more important for Cofer to mature than any of the other girls in class. This is exactly what Cofer is referring to when she states that society is objectifying Latin women by stereotyping them. Cofer is not the only Latin woman dealing with this however she is dealing with it little by little from writing about it to show people otherwise. Society stereotypes Latin women in many other ways everyday in T. V. shows, in movies, in music videos and so much more.
One good example from a T. V. show today would be ‘Family Guy where they have a maid who’s name you don’t find out until after youVe seen her in a few episodes. Her name is Consuela and you find out that she’s Mexican and has many kids and on top of that she can barely speak English. It doesn’t stop there though because Latin women get objectified in music today for example this song called ‘Latin Girls’ by Black Eyed Peas. Some of the lyrics read “Call your friends and call your cousins cause I know you got dozens of them Marias, Elizabeth, Sonias, and Blancas “.
This pretty much sums up how Latin girls are iewed and relates exactly to what Cofer is arguing on societies objective stereotypes towards Latin women I myself have been objectified much like Cofer in her youth and I can tell you that it is not a nice feeling to know that this is how others view you simply because you’re a Latin girl. In Cofer’s essay she goes on to tell you life lessons she’s learned as well as things that have occurred to her because she is a Latin woman. Cofer argues that society objectifies Latin women by stereotyping them. This happens more often them many people realize today in music, movies, and T. V shows.