Cali Girl: An Exploration of a Traditional American Archetype

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Cali Girl: An Exploration of a Traditional American Archetype It may have been the Beach Boys who first sang, "I wish they all could be California Girls," but it was Diamond David Lee Roth of Van Halen that created and really cemented the notion in the cultural psyche of America that a big-chested blonde is the perfect facsimile of a California girl. As a result of defining feminine beauty in those terms, any other phenotype was (perhaps is still today) considered less than ideal. In other words, if a woman did not have blonde hair, white skin, doll-like features, and a big chest she was considered flawed, falling short of that ultimate female archetype. "Senior Picture Day" by Michele Serros is a short story that explores how women have dealt with trying to conform to a "California Girl" standard of beauty. It is the purpose of this paper to demonstrate how the protagonist in "Senior Picture Day" struggles to accept her plight as a Mexican-American woman living in a society that lauds 'valley girl' beauty. From the outset of the story the reader gets a sense of the protagonist's unease about her looks. Her insecurities about her nose are explicitly addressed. "But today of all days there's one think I have to remember to do and that's squeeze my nose"¦ My nose has actually become smaller, narrower. It looks less Indian. I look less Indian and you can bet that's the main goal here" (Serros, 33). The reader realizes that this young girl wants to change her

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