Hijas Americanas

I chose these three questions from the questionnaire because these are the ones that stung a little when I read them, because they felt so oddly specific to me. Questions that seem that they were written just for me to answer, about struggles and experiences I never even knew I had. I am choosing to put all of my insecurities on the table to answer them, and I hope that my voice will be able to compensate for all of my fellow Latinas who feel too ashamed to admit it. I hope that my answers can give readers a sense of familiarity and comfort, just to know that we are all in this together, and our pain is shared. 

1.) What messages have you received about your style, hair, skin, body size, shape, and clothing?

The earliest memory I have where I first realized that I was insecure about my appearance was in elementary school. Being an early bloomer and going through puberty at 9 years old put me in a position to be bullied by my peers. The first time I recieved a comment about my appearance was from a girl in my class who had noticed my leg, arm, and facial hair. Of course, as a child, I never even noticed it because I never was told that it was a bad thing to have, but the feeling of everyone turning around to stare at my hairy legs, arms, my bushy eyebrows and the little mustache on top of my lip was enough to make me want to crawl into a hole and die. I remember her asking me, “Why are you so hairy? Are you a boy? Only boys have mustaches.” And I didn’t know how to answer her. Something that I had never noticed before turned into me constantly plucking and feeling the hair on my body, and I remember coming home crying to my mother, begging her to let me shave my legs and my arms. All I wanted to be in that moment was hairless, so that I would never get called a man or be teased ever again. The comments didn’t stop there either. As I transcended into middle and high school and began to experiment with my appearance, I learned what beauty standards were. I was given weird looks when I wore my naturally curly hair, being told that it looked like I got electrocuted, and that it was messy. When I would straighten it, I would get loads of compliments of how I look so much better and neater. I straightened my hair nearly every day for 5 years, giving my curls extreme heat damage. 

2.) What do you believe are the beauty ideals in the Latino community?

With rising trends on TikTok about Latinas, I have noticed that the beauty standards for us Latinas are very toxic. Latinas called “fresas” are the ideal type that is the most desireable, and a fresa is described as a Latina woman who has a petite hourglass figure, straight long black hair, along with false eyelashes and long nails. The other one is “pan dulce”, which is used to describe mid-size Latinas. However, it is still only exclusive to girls with hourglass figures who are just slightly plumper with a large behind. The third one, and the least desireable one, “torta”. Used to describe plus size Latinas with no curves, this is often used as a derogatory term towards plus size Latinas and it is basically another way of calling them fat. However, toxic beauty standards have existed way before these TikTok trends. Latinas with more “euro-centric” features, such as straight hair, up-turned noses, full lips and curvaceous bodies have always been more desireable than Latinas with ethnic features, such as downturned noses, darker skin, and curly or kinky hair. Usually when people express attraction towards Latinas, it is through very biased lenses for conventionally attractive Latinas who fit in the descriptions I previously mentioned. Even with Afro-Latinas, they are rarely recognized in these beauty standards. Dark skin and kinky/coily hair are not celebrated at all when it comes to Latina beauty standards, and they are left out as well. 

3.) Have you ever seriously considered or had plastic surgery? If so, on what and when?

I have considered plastic surgery many times. I have wanted to reduce my butt size and get rid of my hips, as well as wanting to get some of my ribs removed to get a smaller waist. Latinas are known for having very voluptuous, curvy bodies with large hips and plump behinds, but there was a moment in my life where I did not want any of that. I was mostly influenced by Asian beauty standards, since I am also a big K-pop fan. I wanted to be stick skinny, with no curves whatsoever so I could wear any kinds of clothes I want. I also wanted lighter hair, with a perm to keep it straight and I also desired lighter skin. I have also wanted breast implants since I consider myself to be disproportionate. Body image is something I have always and still struggle with, and I cannot confidently say that I am 100% confident in my looks. There are still times where all I want to do is just go under the knife and have all of my insecurities cut off.

Leave a Reply