#Latinas and Brown Women in Social Media

Although I stay away from the pan ethnic label that is Latinx, and identify as Chicana or brown, I know when someone says something negative or positive about Latinxs, they are speaking about me and my community. So when you type in #latinas on any social media platform, whether it be Twitter or Instagram, and it’s filled with porn, misogyny, stereotypes and memes of craziness and attitudes, I know that what it is, is the sexualized and ignorant image of what people believe and see me and my people as.

I am an 18 year old Chicana who has spent 85% of her life hating herself, which I know is rooted in the lack of representation of my ethnicity. My people were never portrayed as beautiful. And now I am learning how to love myself.

Growing up, I never really saw women or girls in media who looked like me. Girls who have thick eyebrows, big noses, tan brown skin, and hairy legs and arms. And if they were, they were never put in a positive light. They were the poor, the “putas” and the dirty, while the light skinned and white passing Latinas were always the praised and the leads.

In the meme, actress Diane Guillero (although she has been seen with cute arm hair and is not white passing) is the hairless “groomed” sexualized image of a Latina, while the other is the dirty and ugly.

When social media puts out memes and photos of praising these type of Latinas and brown women for their looks, attitude, and cooking skills, it does nothing else but sexualize us and support the patriarchy. When reducing us to nothing more than our outer selves it causes self doubt and cause fellow Latinas to support this image of themselves as well, to be deemed more acceptable. To shame those who don’t fit the acceptable stereotypes and those who are on the right, like myself. There’s nothing uplifting about it and reduces us to nothing more than our appearance and our housewife skills, when we are extremely diverse. For example, when a Latina blogger for PopSugar wrote the disrespectful article that was “Kylie Jenner is a mix of your favorite Latina Celebs,” which was all supported by the appearance and sexualization of Latinas. There is much more than dressing a certain way to be “Latina.” It just shows how imaginary we are seen as disposable.

Although with this disaster, there comes resistance. Resistance from Latina and brown women who will not support and take back their self image. The female gaze.

Latina women and brown women have been reclaiming the gaze and have began to love what the media shames them for, like myself. For example, have taken up the streets of twitter to spread a positive message. From the hashtags of #latinasarenot to brown women creating the #brownandUnbothered to fight colorism.

Latinas and brown women are much more diverse than what is represented. Those of us who fall in the Latinx label, whether identify or not, should be able to search it up and see it filled with accomplishments, positivity and everything but these things that pull us down. If you are a fellow brown person or Latinx, reclaim what has been stolen from you. Create hashtags and movements, spread the message that you are a multi dimensional person who must not allow to be teared down with nonsense. We are much more than our stereotypes, and whether we enjoy or fall into those things does not make us anything less, we all deserve respect.