Sofia Vergara’s character in Modern Family has been ticking me off a bit these days.
It’s probably because of how she portrays the “latina” women. For starters “latina” is all about perspective. All women that live on this part of the world are “latinas” because in one way or another we’re from Latin America. Meaning roughly Central and South America.
Just to be nice, if you consider yourself “latina” and don’t even know Spanish because you were raised in the States it’s okay. Remember that at the beginning of my post I said it was about perspective and there is a fine line there somewhere. To be honest, there are a great number of “latinas” that have been honored for their distinguished work and probably didn’t even speak Spanish either. Some of them were part of the National Women’s History like Linda Chavez-Thompson, Dolores Huerta, Jovita Idar, Sonia Manzano, Ellen Ochoa, and so many others.
I think “latina” women should be from Latin America, but that’s only my perspective.
Coming back to Sofia……
Sofia is in her forty something actress and model (which is gorgeous by the way) and as my grandmother and her peers would say “esta bien conservada”. Which roughly means she’s looking great despite her age.
Each time I would listen to this common phrase of my elders I would think about meat. It’s kind of a coincidence that she was showcased like one when she was asked to twirl in front of that crowd in an award ceremony.
If you stop and consider our background it is easier to understand the concept of being a “Latina”. Everyone in your family has rocket high expectations that are almost impossible to meet most of the time. I’m sure that Sofia has had her share of those too, but it is what it is.
Divorce wasn’t an option for any of my cousins or myself and when one of my youngest cousins got a divorce it was an embarrassment (which is very wrong by the way). My “mamita” would say, “las mujeres decentes no se divorcian”, because “las divorciadas” were seen as easy ladies. It was worst then having the scarlet letter on your chest.
In a sense woman in show business also suffered the prejudices las abuelas had for the divorcee. But, decency is not about a profession or a marital status, but about your particular set of values. My generation is blessed because we have the opportunity of breaking those chains of prejudice that sadly mirror men’s prejudices.
Sofia is often portrayed as a sex goddess and that’s fine because that is her bread and butter, however it’s not that easy for the rest of Hispanic women when sex has been a taboo topic for so long in many of our households.
We are a bit more curvier than usual, it comes maybe with the “latina” thing. However, if you are a plain Jane those curves are going to go on “loco” mode after a few pregnancies and the cooking that goes on in our households. Them being super “sabrosas” or good doesn’t help us taming them down.
For all of us that don’t have the time for exercise or diets we’re just a bunch of nicely rounded ladies.
The writers and producers of Modern Family stereotype us to deliver “comical” punchlines. In a society where television establishes a fine line between real and fantasy it can turn bad for any given group who suffers discrimination or prejudice.
It’s not easy trying to make in a world where the perception that men are worth more than women, imagine if you add the Latina perspective to that equation.
I’m sure Sofia as an actress has also dealt with her fair share of Hollywood machismo and to an extent she overcomes it every day. Specially in a world where women producers are so scarce.
My major concern is that men can get the wrong idea and it’s really enough with what women have to deal as immigration numbers go higher and higher.
The thing is that there not in show business but, some are engineers, teachers, nurses, accountants, women in the military, etc. etc. etc., and they have to cope with all those awful stereotypes which are reinforced by Hollywood productions.
My heart goes out for all of those who are coming across the border looking for jobs in service and elsewhere because they are aliens in the United States.
How many are maybe taken advantage of because men think they are some sort of twisted version of Sofia Vergara’s character.
So you see my dear friends, “latina” women are just like any other gal just with some more curves then others and I’m not even sure that’s a good thing. None the less, next time you catch a glimpse of Modern Family just don’t think of us when you see her, she’s only playing a character that was made up by someone that thought it was really funny and maybe it is in a way because they’ve got some Emmy’s to prove it.
Please, next time you think about a latina don’t conjure Sofia’s image, but look around and find yourself a better example it’s as easy as a Google search.
Be kind to yourself and others and find the good in life and the people who surround you.