Uncovering the Stereotypes of the Latin Woman

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Uncovering the Stereotypes of the Latin Woman
Being a victim of stereotyping is difficult for anyone to deal with. In the essay, “The Myth of the Latin woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria,” author Judith Ortiz Cofer reflects on her experiences being stereotyped as a Latin woman. There are numerous stereotypes that Latin women are subjected to. Cofer shares a few of the ones she has had to face throughout her life. Cofer was judged based on her clothing, her maturity level, and her job. With all of these stereotypes, Cofer comes to her own conclusions on how they came about.

Clothing in the Latin culture is a means of expression. Cofer explains that woman and girls often wear brightly colored outfits, specifically dresses and skirts. Cofer describes that, “As young girls, it was our mothers who influenced our decisions about clothes and colors,” (245). Cofer describes how Puerto Rican women dress in island -influenced clothing. The mothers of Latin girls who grew up on the island were used to the custom of wearing bright outfits and showing a little skin. Ostentatious to some, is custom to these women. Unfortunately, the media twisted this tradition, making it translate into “Hispanic women as the hot tamale or sexual firebrand” (245). Cofer clarifies this common stereotype that the “mixed culture signals,” (245) are the cause for many of the stereotypes for Latin women. The clothing that Latin women wear also has an influence on how others might see them. In this society people assume that with bright clothing and bare skin showing it means a woman is mature, but thats not always the case.

Another stereotype that Cofer experienced was that of the level and rate of her maturity. Latin women are often seen in a seductive way. Some people may mistake the way they dress as a sign as someone who is older, more mature, and more experienced than their actual age. “When a Puerto Rican girl dressed in her idea of what is attractive meets a man from the mainstream...
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