by Cassie Rodriguez
When I first signed up for Gender, Race and Media, I was so excited and thankful that I could finally take this class. Ever since I found out freshman year that our department even offers this class, I’ve always wanted to take it. However, as a recent transfer from the school of music, I wasn’t sure if my degree plan would allow for me to take more of the fun classes until later on. Or really, until my last year here. Upon finding out that GRM would be offered during a semester where it would actually fit in my schedule, I was overjoyed. And here is why.
This class and what we learn in this class are so much more important that we can even say. Especially now, when so much tension between races and genders exist, and the social climate of our nation is undergoing massive change. It is vital for us to not only be in tune with what is happening, but to also educate ourselves on the concepts of prejudice, stereotype and framing, all of which (and much more) we have covered in this class.
I walked into this course already knowing what I wanted to write about for my research paper. While I have never done a research paper of this volume before, I plan on doing my best to make my paper up to par. My topic is the sexualization of Hispanic women in media and what effects they have on younger media consumers and their views on these women. This is an issue that has been on my heart for quite some time, and I feel like it really needs to be looked at in greater detail.
It all started when I was looking for what defined a Latina and what defined a Hispanic woman, and more importantly what the difference is. This was maybe two years ago or so, but that was when I discovered the horror of simply searching that one word: Latina.
Latina. It has somehow become a dirty word, a filthy image. Latina. Just hearing the word can invite dirty thoughts nowadays. The meaning has evolved from a definitive term of proud heritage and feminine strength to something almost directly pornographic and explicit. I was appalled. Who said that this was okay? When did this happen? Why is this happening?
More importantly, how does this affect young women and how they view and value themselves? I feel like this is a very important discussion to be had, and I am very excited (but also nervous) to explore this topic in further detail. I also want to look at the positive aspects, and what is being done to stop negative views of Latinas and harmful stereotypes. Honestly, there is so much to be studied, but I have never felt like anything I have studied has been this important.