As soon as I Google “spicy Latina,” I am bombarded with photographs of over-sexualized Latinx women in promiscuous positions with barely any clothing to cover her curvy body. In fact, I can just search for “Latina” and get the same results. Expressing sexuality is a wonderful thing and the women posed for these photographs should not be shamed for that, but the Western culture should recognize that fetishizing an entire racial community is disgusting, demeaning and downright racist.
Often in media, the “spicy Latina” is portrayed as a seductive woman who wears almost exclusively nothing but form-fitting dresses with a short temper whose sole purpose is there to offer sex for the white male protagonist, simply because her race is seen as exotic and otherworldly. Although many people may think being called “spicy” is flattering, believe me, it’s not. It just feeds into the tropes that we are hyper-sexualized help that cannot go beyond being the maid, the home-wrecker or the sex toy.
There are hardly any outlets for Latinx women to express themselves as being more than the “spicy Latina.” Every corner of pop culture and media stamps us as such. Even in Spanish television and news, we are degraded as objects to be lusted after. I can’t watch Despierta America or Noticiero Univision without seeing the hosts or meteorologists wearing skin-tight clothing that feeds right into the “spicy Latina” stereotype.
We, as an entire community of women, deserve better than to be equated to food that is also often described as “juicy” or “exotic.” We deserve better than the senseless thought that we are nothing more than food in which this plate is simply lusted after, used and easily tossed away. It demolishes the diversity Latinx women have by reinforcing the stereotype that we are only good for our sexualized appearance.
It is degrading when I see this demeaning stereotype everywhere I look. I personally have never met a Latinx woman who believes her sole purpose in life is to be a sexualized being. Instead, I have come across ambitious and inspiring Latinx women who strive for their biggest goals and dreams. It is disappointing and disheartening when I don’t see these type of women in the media.
I want to see an accurate representation of Latinx women in the media that displays the realities and diversity we have to offer. I want to be able to relate to the tenacious Hispanic student experiencing higher education as a first generation student. I want to see the supportive Latinx family strive for the best possible life for their children. I want to see the successful Latinx CEO continue to dominate business while keeping true to her heritage.
We are women. We are not a flavor and we are not objects of your degrading racial fetishism.