Essay on Stereotypes of Hispanic Women in Cinema

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The Latina women, even throughout the era resistance cinema, have not been able to make much progress in overcoming the degrading stereotypes that Hollywood has created for them. Despite the many advances that minorities have made in the cinema in recent years, Latina actresses still take on the roles of the "dark skinned lady" and other such stereotypes with strong sexual connotations. It is often debatable whether or not the role of the Latina has undergone dramatic changes since the days of Dolores Del Rio and Carmen Miranda dancing with the fruit baskets on top of their heads. However, in recent years there has been an emphasis by various Latinas in the film industry to combat such stereotypical roles and redefine themselves…show more content…
This character began to appear in the 1930’s, at the same time that an audio component was introduced into cinema. The audience was not however interested in the voice of the vamp but rather for her appearance and sex appeal. She was often depicted as exotic and sensual. As Tara Osorio writes, "In early cinema, Hollywood represented Latinas as ignorant, and valued their striking appearance and figure rather than their intelligence, character, and personalities." (Tara Osorio) With the introduction of musicals into cinema, there were many opportunities for vamp roles. There were three particular women in early cinema who were infamous for portraying the vamp character. Carmen Miranda, Dolores Del Rio, and Lupe Velez were typecast in such roles and were seen in the majority of films produced in these decades. This character represented an image that was offensive and insulting to many. The character did not have many diverse elements and was a rather one-dimensional figure. It was even more damaging when you take into account that the same role was repeated, often by the same actress in a myriad of films. As one actress Rita Moreno describes after she had played a similar spitfire character fourteen times in eleven years. "It’s really demeaning after you’ve won the Oscar to be offered the same role over and over again. They only wanted me to drag out my accent-and-dance show over and over again." (pg.174, Hadley-Garcia) The filmmakers
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