National Association of Hispanic Journalists

In high school, you have school newspaper or journalism clubs after school, but what happens when you go to college? Latino journalism students have a place of their own and it’s called college chapters of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. I attend the University of Texas at Austin and I happily report our group has activated a chapter thanks to the collaborative efforts students.

A college chapter of NAHJ provides its members with many opportunities to grow as a journalist. The chapter matches its members with a professional mentor from the city’s chapter of NAHJ. Members also plan various workshops to sharpen their members’ skills in various subjects, from photography to creating a podcast. Recently, my chapter hosted a multimedia workshop on online photography for students in any major. NAHJ also provides tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to students interested in becoming a journalist.

NAHJ’s college chapter president at the University of Texas at Austin Eduardo Gonzalez, is very passionate about the organization. “I started to meet different people who shared the same aspirations to grow professionally, [and] learn with people with whom we share culture and language with,” Gonzalez said.

Our chapter’s main goal is to get all of its members to attend the national convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists which has taken place in New York City, Washington D.C. and Denver, CO. Speakers at past conventions have included Hillary Clinton, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, and then Texas Governor George Bush. Activities at the convention include cyber labs to help journalists learn about new media, such as podcasting and blogging.

The national convention hosts hundreds of media outlets and young journalists like myself get an opportunity to meet future employers from newspapers, television stations, radio and more. It’s also a chance for an aspiring reporter like myself to meet veteran NAHJ members including John Quinones from TV’s 20/20 or Soledad O’Brien, CNN’s first Latina anchor.

For more information on your local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists go to www.nahj.org.

March 2011

Soy Unica

Latinitas showcase their unique beauty in this Soy Unica photo essay.

Tips to a Perfect Prom

Latina Prom Dress - LatinitasWith spring rapidly approaching, many high schools are preparing to have the perfect prom night that is, probably, as important as getting a good grade on that math test next Friday. It takes some planning but achieving a great and fun prom night is possible. Here are some tips in order to prepare for prom.

Tip # 1 Finding the Dress
Like a wedding or a quince, one of the most vital things about the night is THE DRESS. “Start looking early for the dress!” says Brittney Brown, a  2010 high school graduate. Now, finding the perfect dress can be a challenge. But don’t fret. There are great, affordable and unique styles for every type of Latinita. Do not be frightened or overwhelmed by amount of dresses out there. First, think of your personal style. Is it trendy, cute, edgy?  Do you like bright colors or floral prints? It’s important to have an idea of what kind of dress you would like to wear.

Look at dress catalogs or at what dresses celebrities are wearing to the red carpet. When you have an idea, look around. Go to the mall and look at what they have. Outlet stores also offer a good variety. Also, older primas (cousins), siblings and friends may have great dresses hidden in their closet.  For girls interested in a vintage dress, the local thrift stores and vintage clothing stores may offer great prices for a historic dress. A great way for finding out about these places is by asking friends and family, doing an online search or reading up on local magazines and newspapers. Finally, if you know exactly what kind of dress you want, you can have it tailor made. Depending on how much you are willing to spend and how much they charge, it’s possible to have a dress that no one else will have that night.

Tip #2 Accessorize
As important as the dress is, it really does not transform into the perfect outfit without the accessories. That means picking the perfect shoes, jewelry and hand bag that will making you shine.  Once you have decided on the dress, pick out items that will enhance the dress. High heel shoes would be a good idea, but select some that are comfortable enough to dance in. If you do not want to wear high heels, some cute flats or small heels could be an option. Decide what kind of jewelry would look good with the dress like a pearl necklace or dangling earrings. Pick a small hand bag like a clutch to carry the essentials like lip gloss and money.

Tip # 3 Planning with Friends
Coordinate with your friends or your date to see if you may want to go to dinner before or after prom and make reservations. Buy your prom tickets when they are available and plan how you will get to prom. Edith Munoz, a 2009 high school graduate, said she had to “rent a limo with friends, which was weeks before and putting the money together.”   If you have a date to prom, you might also want to look into taking professional pictures for the night. Making arrangements and good communication with your friends will avoid any confusion to make it a perfect prom.

Tip #4 Get Perfect Hair & Make-up
Find a hair stylist and make an appointment for the day of the prom in advanced as some hair salons might be booked for the day. Heather Portillo, a recent high school graduate recommends testing out your up do before that day. “I didn’t like my up do for prom and I couldn’t do anything to change it that day so my advice would be to choose a hair stylist that you trust and test out some up dos beforehand so you won’t have an up do that you don’t want when it’s too late to change.” Have some up-do styles ready for the hair stylist. You might want to think about whether you want your hair to be up or down, curled or straight.

Also, a few days before, if not that day, treat yourself to a manicure, a pedicure and/or a facial. Have your make up done by a professional or by a friend or family member that knows how to do good make up. If you have to do it yourself and do not usually wear makeup, there are tons of tutorials on youtube.com and other websites to help. Usually, mascara, lip gloss and blush can make a difference and looks great.

Tip # 5 Have fun!
The most important tip would be to HAVE FUN! Remember that you have invested a lot time and effort for this night. Make the most of it. Nicole Foix Romero, a recent high school graduate says, “prom is about having fun and not caring about the drama.” Don’t forget your camera and remember to take a lot of pictures. You will create a lot of great memories that night.  Dance the night away, enjoy the company of great friends and cherish the moment.

 

Women Making History

When this country was founded, women had no rights. They were not educated and considered property to men. They were not allowed to vote or take part in poliPoststics. If they worked, they had little control over the money they earned. Women were completely dependent on men and confined by double standards. Since then, women have taken great steps in order to gain equal rights as women. Today, women are allowed to vote and run for office, earn a college degree, take on a career and are recognized as individuals. This is mostly due to the efforts of feminists who fought and demanded equal rights and continue the struggle for women’s equality.

According to Webster dictionary, feminism is “the movement aimed at equal rights for women.” There have been several movements in the U.S. supporting women’s rights throughout history. The women’s suffrage movement, a struggle that lasted 100 years, gave women the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment was finally passed in 1920. The movement started in the 1820s, before the Civil War but officially began in the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha C, Wright, and Mary Ann McClintock. At the convention, women declared they should be able to pursue an education and earn a living, but most importantly they passed a resolution which stated that “it is the sacred duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.”

Suffrage Movement – Getting the Right to Vote
The most influential women suffrage movement leaders, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, continued advocating for women’s right to vote during and after the Civil War that freed black slaves and gave all male citizens the right to vote when the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were passed. Although, the women’s suffrage movement died down during the Civil War, the campaign continued and gained strength. The National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was formed in order to seek an amendment in the U.S. Constitution and convince state legislatures to amend state constitutions. In 1910, the states in the west like Idaho and Utah began granting women the right to vote in the state and eventually on August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. On Election Day, November 2, 1920, women voted for the first time in U.S. history. After the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920, NAWSA turned into the present League of Women Voters. These women paved the way for women to have a political voice. In 1917, Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, became the first woman elected to Congress.

The struggle continued for women after gaining the right to vote since sexual discrimination continued. Women had unequal pay at work, were excluded from powerful positions and were still restricted to double standards imposed by society. During World War II, when men took off to fight in Europe and the Pacific, women took on the jobs that the men had left behind. They began working industrial and manufacturing jobs to supply arms and weapons during the war. Rosie the Riveter, a powerful propaganda icon, represented the women that worked in factories with its written message, “We can do it!” After the war was over and the men returned, women were forced to go back to their housewife duties. Women continued to be discontent about the inequality that continued and eventually the Women’s Liberation Movement gained strength.

Feminist Movement – Women’s Liberation
The Women’s Liberation Movement, also known as the Feminist movement occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1963, Betty Friedman wrote “The Feminine Mystique,” a book about women’s unhappiness with their lifestyle, and suggested that women were still unequal. The book became a bestseller and began the “second-wave” feminist movement (the women’s suffrage movement being the first.) During this period, the civil rights movement was also going strong and served as a model for the Women’s Liberation Movement as women organized in order to fight for equality. In 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded by Friedman in an effort to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that would mean gender equality. The movement also supported welfare programs for pregnant women, infant care and birth control.

The ERA was passed by legislature and needed to be passed in 38 states within a seven year period in order for the amendment to become part of the U.S. Constitution. It was passed or ratified in 25 states during the first 9 months. The movement was strong and had many supporters as well as opponents. The opponents thought that the amendment would disadvantage women because it would threaten the traditional American family. Many of these anti-ERA supporters thought that feminists were angry, man-hating and hairy legged women which are common stereotype that still remain. The opponents also started a movement against the ERA and stopped the amendment from becoming a law. The ERA was 3 states away from becoming part of the U.S. Constitution. The feminist movement was still successful in raising awareness to gender inequality and empowering women to continue the struggle for equal rights.

Feminism Today
In 2011, the struggle for equality continues. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women make 75.5 cents to every dollar a man earns. Women are not equally represented in the U.S. government since most elected officials are men. Today, women only make up 17 percent of the U.S. Congress. Our society still emphasizes certain gender roles and behavioral norms that place limits on the expectations of women. NOW still continues to convince legislation to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Following the steps of great feminists that have made great strides for women’s rights, women must continue the struggle to live in a fair and just society.

March 2011

Latina Beauties

For years, Latinas have worked hard to break beauty barriers in the U.S. Now that we have managed to forge our own identity in American society, a part of me is thrilled with what Latinas have achieved and the role models that are now available for many young girls. On the other hand, I can’t help to think that this progress is not enough.

Through women like Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek, Latinas have won Hollywood over with their sexy curves and most importantly their undeniable talents. They have redefined Latina image all over the world. At the same time, their images have formed a stereotype of Latinas as all having dark hair, golden skin and sensual curves. However, this image does not necessarily represent every Latina.

Alyssa, age 22, does not fit this stereotype. Her blond hair and light eyes make her stand out in her Hispanic community of El Paso, TX. Even though her entire family is Mexican, people often mistake her for Caucasian. “I am an image of being different. You don’t have to look a certain way. You don’t have to fit a certain stereotype,” she said.

Despite the fact that Alyssa does not fit the “typical” Latina image, people still try to place her within the Latina stereotype. At times, people have attributed her curves to the fact that she’s Latina. When she was younger, some of her friends would call her names because she looked “white.” “It was frustrating because they defined me based on my skin color,” she remembers.

Because of this, she embraced her Hispanic culture and was inspired to educate people about it. She wanted people to get to know her, so that they might be able to make “more precise judgments.”

“Every individual defines who they are. It doesn’t matter what type of skin, body. It matters what’s inside,” Alyssa said. “I could choose to be Hispanic and not tell anyone else, but I choose to embrace it.”

There are many Latinas in the media who are not associated with Latin American culture because their complexions do not fit the classic Latina stereotype. Like Rosario Dawson, a black Latina who is part Puerto Rican and Cuban, does not fit this stereotype. Actress Zoe Saldana, who recently appeared in the blockbuster hit Star Trek, is also a black Latina of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent. Despite the fact that she is proud of her Hispanic heritage and that she is a Spanish speaker, she is mostly cast in African-American roles.

Another example is Alexis Bledel who is Mexican-Argentinean-American. Bledel starred in the show Gilmore Girls as a Caucasian teen. Hardly anyone is aware that she is a Spanish speaking Latina, and she has not been cast in any Latina roles.

These young actresses are successful Latinas in Hollywood, but their ethnicity goes unnoticed in the media. Consequently, these examples of a diverse Hispanic women go unnoticed by the public as well, limiting the role models available to them.

In her book Hijas Americanas, Rosie Molinary dedicates an entire chapter to Latina beauty, titled “Maria de la Barbie.” Molinary recognizes the need for diversity in the way the Hispanic culture is shown in the media. “Latinas need to see that we do not all need to look like Hollywood’s Latina trendsetters to be compelling and influential,” she writes emphasizing that the best way to show Latinas that “there is no perfect prototype is to show women the range of possibilities among us.”

We should keep in mind Latinas come in all shapes, colors and sizes. We cannot be defined by a generalizations or ideas of what we should or should not look like. If we learn to love ourselves, flaws and all, we can teach other women to do the same through our example.

Molinary writes something everyone should keep in mind about Latino culture: “An important point to make is that there is no typical anything. Just like there is not one typical white, Asian, or black girl, there is no typical Latino — and no typical Puerto Rican, Colombian, or Mexican either. Having just one image of Latinos — when there are twenty-plus countries and immeasurable amounts of culture mixing — is impossible.”

What is special about Latinos is our different cultures from different countries with different histories. Despite the efforts to limit our image, but we come in all shapes, colors and sizes. We are diverse and cannot be defined. As Molinary recommends,we cannot assign generalizations to any ethnicity. The beauty of being human is that we are all unique and that there is only one of you.

March 2011

Chapters for Student Journalists

In high school, you have school newspaper or journalism clubs after school, but what happens when you go to college? Latino journalism students have a place of their own and it’s called college chapters of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. I attend the University of Texas at Austin and I happily report our group has activated a chapter thanks to the collaborative efforts students.

A college chapter of NAHJ provides its members with many opportunities to grow as a journalist. The chapter matches its members with a professional mentor from the city’s chapter of NAHJ. Members also plan various workshops to sharpen their members’ skills in various subjects, from photography to creating a podcast. Recently, my chapter hosted a multimedia workshop on online photography for students in any major. NAHJ also provides tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to students interested in becoming a journalist.

NAHJ’s college chapter president at the University of Texas at Austin Eduardo Gonzalez, is very passionate about the organization. “I started to meet different people who shared the same aspirations to grow professionally, [and] learn with people with whom we share culture and language with,” Gonzalez said.

Our chapter’s main goal is to get all of its members to attend the national convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists which has taken place in New York City, Washington D.C. and Denver, CO. Speakers at past conventions have included Hillary Clinton, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, and then Texas Governor George Bush. Activities at the convention include cyber labs to help journalists learn about new media, such as podcasting and blogging.

The national convention hosts hundreds of media outlets and young journalists like myself get an opportunity to meet future employers from newspapers, television stations, radio and more. It’s also a chance for an aspiring reporter like myself to meet veteran NAHJ members including John Quinones from TV’s 20/20 or Soledad O’Brien, CNN’s first Latina anchor.

For more information on your local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists go to www.nahj.org.

By Leslie Rangel

Women Making History

When this country was founded, women had no rights. They were not educated and considered property to men. They were not allowed to vote or take part in politics. If they worked, they had little control over the money they earned. Women were completely dependent on men and confined by double standards. Since then, women have taken great steps in order to gain equal rights as women. Today, women are allowed to vote and run for office, earn a college degree, take on a career and are recognized as individuals. This is mostly due to the efforts of feminists who fought and demanded equal rights and continue the struggle for women’s equality.

According to Webster dictionary, feminism is “the movement aimed at equal rights for women.” There have been several movements in the U.S. supporting women’s rights throughout history. The women’s suffrage movement, a struggle that lasted 100 years, gave women the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment was finally passed in 1920. The movement started in the 1820s, before the Civil War but officially began in the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha C, Wright, and Mary Ann McClintock. At the convention, women declared they should be able to pursue an education and earn a living, but most importantly they passed a resolution which stated that “it is the sacred duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.”

Suffrage Movement – Getting the Right to Vote
The most influential women suffrage movement leaders, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, continued advocating for women’s right to vote during and after the Civil War that freed black slaves and gave all male citizens the right to vote when the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were passed. Although, the women’s suffrage movement died down during the Civil War, the campaign continued and gained strength. The National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was formed in order to seek an amendment in the U.S. Constitution and convince state legislatures to amend state constitutions. In 1910, the states in the west like Idaho and Utah began granting women the right to vote in the state and eventually on August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. On Election Day, November 2, 1920, women voted for the first time in U.S. history. After the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920, NAWSA turned into the present League of Women Voters. These women paved the way for women to have a political voice. In 1917, Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, became the first woman elected to Congress.

The struggle continued for women after gaining the right to vote since sexual discrimination continued. Women had unequal pay at work, were excluded from powerful positions and were still restricted to double standards imposed by society. During World War II, when men took off to fight in Europe and the Pacific, women took on the jobs that the men had left behind. They began working industrial and manufacturing jobs to supply arms and weapons during the war. Rosie the Riveter, a powerful propaganda icon, represented the women that worked in factories with its written message, “We can do it!” After the war was over and the men returned, women were forced to go back to their housewife duties. Women continued to be discontent about the inequality that continued and eventually the Women’s Liberation Movement gained strength.

Feminist Movement – Women’s Liberation
The Women’s Liberation Movement, also known as the Feminist movement occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1963, Betty Friedman wrote “The Feminine Mystique,” a book about women’s unhappiness with their lifestyle, and suggested that women were still unequal. The book became a bestseller and began the “second-wave” feminist movement (the women’s suffrage movement being the first.) During this period, the civil rights movement was also going strong and served as a model for the Women’s Liberation Movement as women organized in order to fight for equality. In 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded by Friedman in an effort to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that would mean gender equality. The movement also supported welfare programs for pregnant women, infant care and birth control.

The ERA was passed by legislature and needed to be passed in 38 states within a seven year period in order for the amendment to become part of the U.S. Constitution. It was passed or ratified in 25 states during the first 9 months. The movement was strong and had many supporters as well as opponents. The opponents thought that the amendment would disadvantage women because it would threaten the traditional American family. Many of these anti-ERA supporters thought that feminists were angry, man-hating and hairy legged women which are common stereotype that still remain. The opponents also started a movement against the ERA and stopped the amendment from becoming a law. The ERA was 3 states away from becoming part of the U.S. Constitution. The feminist movement was still successful in raising awareness to gender inequality and empowering women to continue the struggle for equal rights.

Feminism Today
In 2011, the struggle for equality continues. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women make 75.5 cents to every dollar a man earns. Women are not equally represented in the U.S. government since most elected officials are men. Today, women only make up 17 percent of the U.S. Congress. Our society still emphasizes certain gender roles and behavioral norms that place limits on the expectations of women. NOW still continues to convince legislation to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Following the steps of great feminists that have made great strides for women’s rights, women must continue the struggle to live in a fair and just society.

Tips to a Perfect Prom

With spring rapidly approaching, many high schools are preparing to have the perfect prom night that is, probably, as important as getting a good grade on that math test next Friday. It takes some planning but achieving a great and fun prom night is possible. Here are some tips in order to prepare for prom.

Tip # 1 Finding the dress
Like a wedding or a quince, one of the most vital things about the night is THE DRESS. “Start looking early for the dress!” says Brittney Brown, a 2010 high school graduate. Now, finding the perfect dress can be a challenge. But don’t fret. There are great, affordable and unique styles for every type of Latinita. Do not be frightened or overwhelmed by amount of dresses out there. First, think of your personal style. Is it trendy, cute, edgy? Do you like bright colors or floral prints? It’s important to have an idea of what kind of dress you would like to wear.

Look at dress catalogs or at what dresses celebrities are wearing to the red carpet. When you have an idea, look around. Go to the mall and look at what they have. Outlet stores also offer a good variety. Also, older primas (cousins), siblings and friends may have great dresses hidden in their closet. For girls interested in a vintage dress, the local thrift stores and vintage clothing stores may offer great prices for a historic dress. A great way for finding out about these places is by asking friends and family, doing an online search or reading up on local magazines and newspapers. Finally, if you know exactly what kind of dress you want, you can have it tailor made. Depending on how much you are willing to spend and how much they charge, it’s possible to have a dress that no one else will have that night.

Tip #2 Accessories
As important as the dress is, it really does not transform into the perfect outfit without the accessories. That means picking the perfect shoes, jewelry and hand bag that will making you shine. Once you have decided on the dress, pick out items that will enhance the dress. High heel shoes would be a good idea, but select some that are comfortable enough to dance in. If you do not want to wear high heels, some cute flats or small heels could be an option. Decide what kind of jewelry would look good with the dress like a pearl necklace or dangling earrings. Pick a small hand bag like a clutch to carry the essentials like lip gloss and money.

Tip # 3 Planning with friends
Coordinate with your friends or your date to see if you may want to go to dinner before or after prom and make reservations. Buy your prom tickets when they are available and plan how you will get to prom. Edith Munoz, a 2009 high school graduate, said she had to “rent a limo with friends, which was weeks before and putting the money together.” If you have a date to prom, you might also want to look into taking professional pictures for the night. Making arrangements and good communication with your friends will avoid any confusion to make it a perfect prom.

Tip #4 Hair/Makeup
Find a hair stylist and make an appointment for the day of the prom in advanced as some hair salons might be booked for the day. Heather Portillo, a 2010 high school graduate recommends testing out your up do before that day. “I didn’t like my up do for prom and I couldn’t do anything to change it that day so my advice would be to choose a hair stylist that you trust and test out some up dos beforehand so you won’t have an up do that you don’t want when it’s too late to change.” Have some up-do styles ready for the hair stylist. You might want to think about whether you want your hair to be up or down, curled or straight.

Also, a few days before, if not that day, treat yourself to a manicure, a pedicure and/or a facial. Have your make up done by a professional or by a friend or family member that knows how to do good make up. If you have to do it yourself and do not usually wear makeup, there are tons of tutorials on youtube.com and other websites to help. Usually, mascara, lip gloss and blush can make a difference and looks great.

Tip # 5 Have fun!
The most important tip would be to HAVE FUN! Remember that you have invested a lot time and effort for this night. Make the most of it. Nicole Foix Romero, a 2008 high school graduate says, “Prom is about having fun and not caring about the drama.” Don’t forget your camera and remember to take a lot of pictures. You will create a lot of great memories that night. Dance the night away, enjoy the company of great friends and cherish the moment.

By Sonia Rangel

Latina Beauties

For years, Latinas have worked hard to break beauty barriers in the U.S. Now that we have managed to forge our own identity in American society, a part of me is thrilled with what Latinas have achieved and the role models that are now available for many young girls. On the other hand, I can’t help to think that this progress is not enough.

Through women like Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek, Latinas have won Hollywood over with their sexy curves and most importantly their undeniable talents. They have redefined Latina image all over the world. At the same time, their images have formed a stereotype of Latinas as all having dark hair, golden skin and sensual curves. However, this image does not necessarily represent every Latina.

Alyssa, age 22, does not fit this stereotype. Her blond hair and light eyes make her stand out in her Hispanic community of El Paso, TX. Even though her entire family is Mexican, people often mistake her for Caucasian. “I am an image of being different. You don’t have to look a certain way. You don’t have to fit a certain stereotype,” she said.

Despite the fact that Alyssa does not fit the “typical” Latina image, people still try to place her within the Latina stereotype. At times, people have attributed her curves to the fact that she’s Latina. When she was younger, some of her friends would call her names because she looked “white.” “It was frustrating because they defined me based on my skin color,” she remembers.

Because of this, she embraced her Hispanic culture and was inspired to educate people about it. She wanted people to get to know her, so that they might be able to make “more precise judgments.”

“Every individual defines who they are. It doesn’t matter what type of skin, body. It matters what’s inside,” Alyssa said. “I could choose to be Hispanic and not tell anyone else, but I choose to embrace it.”

There are many Latinas in the media who are not associated with Latin American culture because their complexions do not fit the classic Latina stereotype. Like Rosario Dawson, a black Latina who is part Puerto Rican and Cuban, does not fit this stereotype. Actress Zoe Saldana, who recently appeared in the blockbuster hit Star Trek, is also a black Latina of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent. Despite the fact that she is proud of her Hispanic heritage and that she is a Spanish speaker, she is mostly cast in African-American roles.

Another example is Alexis Bledel who is Mexican-Argentinean-American. Bledel starred in the show Gilmore Girls as a Caucasian teen. Hardly anyone is aware that she is a Spanish speaking Latina, and she has not been cast in any Latina roles.

These young actresses are successful Latinas in Hollywood, but their ethnicity goes unnoticed in the media. Consequently, these examples of a diverse Hispanic women go unnoticed by the public as well, limiting the role models available to them.

In her book Hijas Americanas, Rosie Molinary dedicates an entire chapter to Latina beauty, titled “Maria de la Barbie.” Molinary recognizes the need for diversity in the way the Hispanic culture is shown in the media. “Latinas need to see that we do not all need to look like Hollywood’s Latina trendsetters to be compelling and influential,” she writes emphasizing that the best way to show Latinas that “there is no perfect prototype is to show women the range of possibilities among us.”

We should keep in mind Latinas come in all shapes, colors and sizes. We cannot be defined by a generalizations or ideas of what we should or should not look like. If we learn to love ourselves, flaws and all, we can teach other women to do the same through our example.

Molinary writes something everyone should keep in mind about Latino culture: “An important point to make is that there is no typical anything. Just like there is not one typical white, Asian, or black girl, there is no typical Latino — and no typical Puerto Rican, Colombian, or Mexican either. Having just one image of Latinos — when there are twenty-plus countries and immeasurable amounts of culture mixing — is impossible.”

What is special about Latinos is our different cultures from different countries with different histories. Despite the efforts to limit our image, but we come in all shapes, colors and sizes. We are diverse and cannot be defined. As Molinary recommends,we cannot assign generalizations to any ethnicity. The beauty of being human is that we are all unique and that there is only one of you.

By Helen Rodriguez

Teen Mom TV Show

I’m sure many of us have heard of the MTV hit show “Teen Mom.” Now in the second season of this production, it has attracted many young teenage viewers like myself. It is a reality series dealing with teenage motherhood. The show features four teen moms. On December 8, 2009, the show first aired on MTV with the four original teen moms, Maci Bookout, Farrah Abraham, Amber Portwood, and Catelynn Lowell. Society has obviously tuned in to watch this show, and it has become controversial.

Is “Teen Mom” encouraging young teenage girls to get pregnant? Parents think that “Teen Mom” is somewhat encouraging girls to have a baby. Some argue that the popularity of the show and the fame of the teen mother reality stars is making it look cool to get pregnant. I do not see it like that. In my personal opinion, “Teen Mom” is just a way of informing teenage girls of what they can get themselves into if they become parents in their high school years.

In the first season of the show, Farrah Abraham was an easy going teenage girl. Farrah was a varsity cheerleader in high school, aspired to be a model and made good grades. She basically had life in the palm of her hands until she found out that she was pregnant. Her daughter, Sophia, will never be able to meet her father because he was killed in a fatal car accident before her birth. As you can imagine, Farrah is left behind with the heartbreak in her past. Basically, Farrah was an ordinary girl just like you and me. She wanted to go out with her friends, and she wanted to have a social life. When Sophia came around, she made this very hard to do for her mother. Then again, there is no one to blame, but herself.

“Teen Mom” is not encouraging girls to go get pregnant. It is just showing them the lessons that come with life as a teen mom. I mean these girls on the show are lucky, just to be on this show they are obviously getting paid by MTV. Therefore, that does not mean that is going to happen to you if we just go out and get pregnant. This show has a message. If you dig deep enough to find this message, you can really understand where these girls are coming from. It’s a struggle to be in a position like these girls. I mean they are teenage girls just like us. I strongly believe these girls want to have a social life and want to do the things many of us teenagers do. Many of these girls may not even have a boyfriend to call the “father” of their child. It is pretty much raising a baby on their own, while struggling their very best for finish high school. Believe me these girls do not have it easy. Their parents may be there along the way, but in the end it is their responsibility to raise their children on their own. Their parents did not make this decision for these teenage girls. There is only one person who put them in that position and that is themselves.

To me, the show it is not encouraging teenage girls in any way. “Teen Mom” provides life lessons that help us see how hard it is to be in the shoes of a teen parent by showing girls how the life of a teen mother can be and shows us the struggles of getting yourself in that position. It teaches us to think about what we want our future to be like. As a 16 year-old teenage girl myself, I attend high school and many of the girls at my school are pregnant. Pregnancy is a big issue in our society. What I have learned from the show is that being a parent to a child at an early age is a struggle and that being a parent is a huge responsibility. I cannot stress that enough. At this age, many young teens can barely take care of themselves in all reality. We should want to live our lives by going in the right path.

By Ariana Diaz

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