The essay “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria” by Judith Ortiz Cofer is about deprivation that Latin women go through everyday due to stereotypes that society make up. Stereotypes play a big role in the way that individuals are identified by society. Cofer describes her personal experiences of being a Latin woman, and her struggles that she has to face because of the stereotypes. Cofer tells us of some incidences that happened throughout her life. Like going to London for a summer to Oxford University, where a man sees her on a bus, drops to his knees and sings his own version of “Maria” from West Side Story. Even though she was aggravated, she tried to be calm while everyone around her were amused by the young man’s song. She describes how growing up during 1960’s in New Jersey, she suffered from “cultural schizophrenia” which meant she was forced to keep on with her heritage. Being a Latin woman you’re raised strictly and they have high expectations. Mothers encouraged their daughters to act like mature women. Cofer explains another stereotype, such as the “hot tamale”, where woman are viewed as sexual objects. Woman are usually misinterpreted because of the way they are dressed. Some men treat Latin woman without respect. She talks about when she was at a hotel. A man approached her and began to sing the song of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” in the tune of “La Bamba”. She was offended by the man’s song. People view Latin’s as house maids,
In several cultures, women are seen as archetypes more than men. The proposition of women are instantly idealized and glorified and instantaneously ignore the true complexity of a woman. Countless of these superficial images can be seen across various cultures where the societies within these cultures define what it means to be a female and what type of behavior is and isn’t acceptable within those parameters. The persistent restatement of these stories throughout these generations reinforces the gender system. Women who step out of the norm in these societies are then held punishable for their actions. Alicia Gaspar de Alba pinpoints the three archetypal roles that are given to the women in the Mexican and Chicana cultures. These are,
Identity is a group of characteristics, data or information that belongs exactly to one person or a group of people and that make it possible to establish differences between them. The consciousness that people have about themselves is part of their identity as well as what makes them unique. According to psychologists, identity is a consistent definition of one’s self as a unique individual, in terms of role, attitudes, beliefs and aspirations. Identity tries to define who people are, what they are, where they go or what they want to be or to do. Identity could depend on self-knowledge, self-esteem, or the ability of individuals to achieve their goals. Through self-analysis people can define who they are and who the people around them
In the essay of Judith Ortiz "The Myth of the Latin Women: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria" was an essay I believe many students were able to relate, understand, and reflect with the arguments she pointed out. Judith Ortiz seemed passionate in her essay because it was a narrative of a situation she went through. While reading Judith 's essay it was easy to comprehend what she was trying to make her audience understand. Judith 's tone throughout the essay was form, reflective, and informative. The imagery she gives us in her essay when talking to about Latin women made easy for students to image
In “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria,” the incidents on the bus, in the hotel, and at the poetry involved prejudice and stereotypical misconceptions of Puerto Rican women. While Cofer was on a bus trip to Oxford University, a man “broke into an Irish tenor’s rendition of “Maria” from West Side Story” (Cofer 103). This implies that Latinas dealt with people who automatically assume that a Latina’s name is “Maria” or “Evita” based on a fictional movie. While at a hotel with a colleague, a middle-aged man called Cofer an “Evita” and he “began shout-sing a ditty to the tune of “La Bamba”---except the lyrics were about a girl named Maria” (Cofer 107). Then Cofer realized that “[she] was just an Evita or a Maria: merely a character in his cartoon-populated universe” (107). The men that sung stereotypical songs viewed Cofer as a sexual object and referred to her as an image displayed by the media.
Common stereotypes about women in the Mexican-American culture include that women are uneducated, good housewives, and very fertile. Many parents still believe it’s the woman’s job to stay home and be the homemaker. The concept of gender, which is socially constructed, is reinforced since birth. (Sociology Lecture 08/24/2015) Ana was caught in the middle of gender politics. Her mother oppressed her daughter so she can become a grandmother. The film “Real Women Have Curves” deals with gender stereotypes and struggles of poor women living in East LA. Carmen was trying to have Ana chained to the notion of women being inferior to men. Carmen believed men to be superior, whereas Ana thought differently. However Ana strived to liberate herself from traditional cultural norms by pursuing her college education. Her mother’s negative influence only caused Ana to rebel.
You can see how Maria’s El Salvador is empty of people, full only of romantic ideas. Jose Luis’s image of El Salvador, in contrast, totally invokes manufactured weapons; violence. Maria’s “self-projection elides Jose Luis’s difference” and illustrates “how easy it is for the North American characters, including the big-hearted María, to consume a sensationalized, romanticized, or demonized version of the Salvadoran or Chicana in their midst” (Lomas 2006, 361). Marta Caminero-Santangelo writes: “The main thrust of the narrative of Mother Tongue ... continually ... destabilize[s] the grounds for ... a fantasy of connectedness by emphasizing the ways in which [Maria’s] experience as a Mexican American and José Luis’s experiences as a Salvadoran have created fundamentally different subjects” (Caminero-Santangelo 2001, 198). Similarly, Dalia Kandiyoti points out how Maria’s interactions with José Luis present her false assumptions concerning the supposed “seamlessness of the Latino-Latin American connection” (Kandiyoti 2004, 422). So the continual misinterpretations of José Luis and who he really is and has been through on Maria’s part really show how very far away her experiences as a middle-class, U.S.-born Chicana are from those of her Salvadoran lover. This tension and resistance continues throughout their relationship.
Both of these essays reflect on facing prejudice with a particular audience in mind: Cofer’s intended demographic is white men, while Staples is addressing society as a whole, but particularly white women. Cofer wants men to know that Latina women are not the sexual deviants they are stereotyped as; they are not simply the “whore,
Stereotypes are dangerous weapons in our society. “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria” is a short essay in which the award winning poet and professor of English, Judith Ortiz Cofer, wishes to inform and persuade the audience that labels and stereotypes can be humiliating and hurtful. The author targets the general public, anyone that doesn’t understand that putting someone in a box because of a stereotype is wrong. Cofer starts out the essay by telling the reader a story with a drunk man who re-enacted “Maria” from the West Side Story, and how angry that made her feel. She continues by explaining how she grew up in the United States being a Puerto Rican girl trying to fit in, but always being labeled as an island girl. Cofer carries on by explaining why Latin people get dressed and act a certain way. Then she recalls some more stereotypical incidents.
As human beings, we like to put labels on people around us to help us identify them. Most of these people around us are strangers and we do not know any personal detail about them. We tend to identify them based on their appearance, rather than who or how they are as people. We are often unaware of the impacts our labels have on these people. In the essay “ On being a cripple” by Nancy Mairs and “ The Myth of a Latin woman : I Just Met a Girl Named Maria” by Judith Ortiz Cofer, the writers have successfully portrayed the feelings that arise in people’s mind based on the way they are identified. In both the essays, the writers tell us how they have been incorrectly labeled and judged by society based on their social, physical and racial appearance, how they are tired of it and how they have come to accept and make peace with it.
This highlights that Chicanas prefer Chicanos more than they prefer each other; they perpetuate gender hierarchy by constantly placing males above females. Chicanas fear the criticism they will endure if they defy gender boundaries. Joan Riviere addresses this phenomenon in her essay “Womanliness as a Masquerade. Her essay explores the discomfort that woman feel when they act outside of the boundaries established by a male dominated society. In one example, she describes a
“Beautiful and Cruel” marks the beginning of Esperanza’s “own quiet war” against machismo (Hispanic culture powered by men). She refuses to neither tame herself nor wait for a husband, and this rebellion is reflected in her leaving the “table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate (Cisneros 89).” Cisneros gives Esperanza a self-empowered voice and a desire for personal possessions, thing that she can call her own: Esperanza’s “power is her own (Cisneros 89).” Cisneros discusses two important themes: maintaining one’s own power and challenging the cultural and social expectations one is supposed to fulfill. Esperanza’s mission to create her own identity is manifest by her decision to not “lay (her) neck on the threshold waiting for the ball and chain (Cisneros 88).” Cisneros’ rough language and violent images of self-bondage reveal the contempt with which Esperanza views many of her peers whose only goal is to become a wife. To learn how to guard her power
In this article, “The Myth of the Latin Woman” Cofer has talked about many incidents from her life where she was talked about, from a young girl the adult life. Ortiz Cofer is so ardent about this topic of stereotyping Latin women because she was a native women of the Puerto Rico area who really grew up in the United States. There is how she witnessed firsthand how hurtful stereotyping could be. In “The Myth of the Latin Woman”, She has repeated use of Spanish words in the essay to shows her audience how proud she is of the Latin heritage. she continuously uses other words, such as Puerto Rican, and Latina to stress the names she heard growing up. Because she has been brought up to love her Latin culture, she was often stereotyped here in the United States. As you can see, this is why she became so involved with trying to bring people so much awareness to the
Living as a Latina in the United States of America is tough. Racial stereotypes follow minorities everywhere they go, even in the classroom. The average American has a typical image of what a professor should be like; which most refer to this image as a white graduate male. These perceived images should not exist because professors come in many different genders, sexualities, and races. In “A Prostitute, A servant, and a Customer-Service Representative: A Latina In Academia,” professor in the department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race studies, Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo, uses emotional appeals and language to inform and create awareness of social and racial stereotypes, as well as how profiting is a priority amongst universities.
The relationship between the gender roles reflected in telenovelas and the the role of women in Latin American countries is a matter of parallelism. This is because as Judith Butler, the author of the book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, emphasized that it is “impossible to separate out ‘gender’ from the political and cultural intersections in which it is invariably produced and maintained”. Gender is undeniably socially constructed, and is a product of the values deemed important by that society being constantly reenacted and reinforced. In that sense, telenovelas are also another medium through which beliefs in gender can be relayed to the audience, forming what is called the “imaginable domain of gender” as they either perpetuate or go against ideal hegemony (Beard 2003).
“To believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same” is one of many definitions for a stereotype. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary makes it seem like it’s nothing at a;l and something small and innocent when, in all honestly stereotypes are cruel and wrong. Using stereotypes in our daily lives should not be allowed because it causes people to think less of themselves and limit themselves from one 's full potential. Having these stereotypes in our minds really limits our thoughts and opinions about certain things or people. Both essayist Judith Ortiz Cofer, and Brent Staples have personally experienced stereotyping and people thinking wrongly of them. In Cofer’s essay “ The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria” and Staples “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Spaces”, they talk about what they have been through with racial stereotyping and what affects it has them, personally. But even with those stereotypes in play they both prove that stereotypes do not determines someone 's future and people are able to prove stereotypes wrong.