Myths of a Latin Woman

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Melanie Allen
Dr. Elliott
EH 101
November 5, 2011
Facts of a Latin Woman
“Myth of the Latin Woman:/Just Met a Girl Named Maria,” by Judith Ortiz Cofer tells of her personal experiences as a Latin girl growing up in a large urban city in New Jersey during the sixties. She tells of her journey maneuvering through her childhood trying to find her place in a mixed cultural world and faces many stereotypes. Cofer later learns how to take the negative comments of others and turn them in to positives in her own life. There are many times she realizes some of these comments that are made toward her would never have been made to a Caucasian woman, but somehow finds a way to smile and thank them. Although it is not always easy, Cofer finds her place after facing the negativity of sexual harassment, being frowned upon for her way of dress, and being seen as nothing more than a domestic and is able to take this negativity and mold and shape herself into the successful adult she is today.

Living in a mixed cultural world, Cofer relies on her family and church to protect her but soon realizes how she dresses will cause her many problems with Americans. She learns quickly that the way she dresses gives males the idea that she is easy. According to Latin tradition, women are allowed to dress up for special occasions to give males the opportunity to express their interest in them but, according to Cofer’s customs, the men must never cross into obscenity (205). Americans are not taught these traditions, so it would be easy for these guys to misinterpret Cofer for something she is not. It isn’t only the boys who misinterpreted Cofer’s unique style of dress. The girls and women also frowned upon her choice of attire and viewed her as too mature for her age. As a young girl, Cofer is influenced by the women who had grown up on a tropical island where wearing bright colors and showing their skin was a way to keep cool as well as to look sexy (205). Cofer needs to realize she...
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