We have a really big problem with positive female self-images in Latino culture. The main culprit, Latino media, has contributed to an impossible standard of beauty created by men which idolizes whiter, taller, thinner, voluptuous european looking women. TV programs like Nuestra Belleza, the various beauty pageants, las noticias (the news) and all of the novelas reinforce the idea that this what Latina women should aspire to look like if they wish to be beautiful. See video below.

The reality is Latina women don’t actually look like this, so many women (not just Venezuelans) resort to plastic surgery and other body modifications to achieve this standard of beauty. When it is not achieved, women feel ugly and depressed. This practice is not only detrimental to positive self-images in Latino culture but it also diminishes the real beauty that exists in more indigenous and African looking women who tend to be shorter, browner, and bigger. Both Latino and American media exclude these real women from pretty much everything in the same way only mixed, lighter skinned black women were featured in early cinema and tv in the US while everyone else was literally invisible. A century later, we are still struggling to see ourselves accurately represented in the media.

Latinas come in all sizes and colors and we are all beautiful. Unfortunately, this unrealistic view of Latina women distorts what we really look like to both ourselves and the outside world and promotes a fetishization of an ideal that is essentially fake. As media consumers, we have to demand more from these content creators. If want to see ourselves reflected in media in a way that is more real, and values natural beauty of all kinds, we have to start with changing our own cultural standards of beauty. We have to stop obsessing over what we look like and trying to achieve an ideal that only serves the interest of capitalists and men. Talking more openly about these practices and the media that encourages it is a first step, but we ourselves have the ability to create our own media that is more accurate, inclusive, positive, and reflective of our true selves. So let’s celebrate all of our own unique beauty that exists inside and out and say FUCK YOU to these false Latino media ideals.

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