Beauty at Any Cost

As a teenager with Hispanic roots, Victoria Banuelas has experienced first-hand the physical demands of a Hispanic female. Banuelas is a high school junior who feels that while in El Paso her “culture” focuses on the importance of being “religious and educated”, but soon found “that experience opened [her] eyes to reality” and that she was the minority in a society that is all about “appearance, brands, and other luxuries”.

In a recent report released by the Young Women’s Christian Association, also known as the YWCA, “Beauty At Any Cost” outlines the “narrow beauty standards” representative of beauty products, cosmetic surgery, and diet programs. These social beauty norms are adopted in one way or another by most young girls in our society.

The YWCA report stresses that “every woman in the United States participates in a daily beauty pageant, whether she likes it or not”. From the overwhelming advertisements (in magazines and on television) about the best mascaras or the most beautiful nail polish to reality shows such as “Dr. 90210”, which focuses on cosmetic changes like breast augmentation surgery, girls don’t stand a chance.

“Girls are taught that only one type of beauty is acceptable,” Dr. Ann Branan Horak, a Women in Literature and Religious Studies Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), declares. Dr. Horak expresses that this superficial standard “creates incredible pressure to become the acceptable version of beautiful”, which also becomes “incredibly damaging” to how females feel and see themselves.

Dr. Horak stated that the image of beauty for most of society is “tall, white, and thin” and the outside of a girl is all that is seen and focused on. This shows how the idea of beauty is really shallow and wrong, especially for Hispanics and other minority girls whose physical features may not always fit the “normal” beauty standards.

Still, most beauty products, such as make-up, nail polish, and fragrant lotions, are no secret to females of any age. In fact, if we were to walk down the toy aisle of our local grocery store or shopping center there is sure to be several sets of play make-up and children’s vanity sets. How can this not send a powerful message to young and impressionable girls?

Banuelas believes that it is every female’s personal choice whether or not to buy or wear make-up. However, Banuelas states that while “society promotes it as important to be beautiful…beauty products are not necessary.”

The popular beauty industry represents an unrealistic view on life and the expectations put on girls. Solange Guillaume, a junior at UTEP, shares her satisfaction in wearing make-up almost daily and carrying a travel size bottle of her favorite fragrant lotion, Black Raspberry Vanilla.

Guillaume admits, “These things (beauty products) are not a necessity, but I like the way it makes me feel; pretty and girlie…The problem is really when girls overdue it,” says Guillaume about breast augmentations and other cosmetic surgeries.

It may be said that young girls and women feel the need to wear a certain “beauty mask” in an effort to gain (or keep) approval. But where is the line drawn? Will the popular phrase “no pain, no gain” continue to hold value in a world where beauty equals success, self-worth, or love?

Intern Spotlight, Lupe Anchondo

Latinitas interns are a major force in the advancement of our outreach and empowerment of young women. Everyday interns for Latinitas contribute their time and knowledge to different areas of the organization.

Literally transcending the border between classroom and career, UTEP Graphic Design sophomore Lupe Anchondo is using the skills as she learns them in class as a graphic design intern.

Previously a club leader during the spring semester, Lupe applied for a fall internship.

“[Latinitas] gives girls like me great opportunities to expand themselves in a variety of ways,” Lupe said.

She has taken advantage of the opportunity and has created bilingual flyers, brochures, and other club materials for Latinitas, trying her hand at new techniques she’s learning everyday in her graphics classes. Additionally, Lupe sees this as a way for her to see if graphic media really is her calling.

“I applied for this specific internship because I wanted to get the experience I need to see if this is the career I want to pursue,” Lupe said.

Latinitas’ interns play a unique, individual part in our success. Working towards the common goal of empowering young Latinas, our interns are committed to the organization and its members. From outreach, writing for the magazine, designing materials, editing, taking photographs, all the way to initiating PR tactics and strategies, marketing, fundraising, creating curricula, or planning special events, Latinitas interns are spreading the word and gaining experience for their own future successes.

Member Spotlight, Ytzel McDaniel

Ytzel McDaniel is a high school senior and teen reporter for Latinitas Magazine. She decided to become a teen reporter for the magazine after the encouragement of a friend. “A good friend of mine interned with Latinitas. She enjoyed it so much and she encouraged me to give it a try. I truly enjoy the friendly atmosphere in the office and how welcoming Marisol and the girls have been.” Ytzel feels that an organization like Latinitas is important because it counteracts negative media images. “Growing up is hard especially with television and magazines feeding young girls ‘what they should be.’ An organization that promotes self confidence is incredibly important. I hope to gain experience mainly as well as find out if journalism is the correct major for me when I go to college.” In addition to her involvement with Latinitas, Ytzel also volunteers at the local animal shelter, the El Paso Zoo and community clean-ups. She is also active on her school campus with groups such as Skills USA, DECA and Key Club. Her future goals include graduating from high school, continuing her education to get a masters degree and becoming a reporter.

Author: Soledad O’Brien

Award winning journalist Soledad O’Brien talks about her memoir, The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities, in an exclusive teleconference organized by Las Comadres, a Latina organization to empower women to become engaged in their community.

O’Brien, a Harvard University graduate, is a CNN anchor and special correspondent. She has provided breaking news to viewers of Hurricane Katrina, the South East Asia earthquake and most recently the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Her critically acclaimed documentaries include Black in America, in which we explores various issues in the black community and Latino in America that takes a look at how Latinos living the U.S. are reshaping America and how America is reshaping them. Her newest book and memoir narrates her reporting experiences and how her upbringing has affected these experiences. She is a lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalist (NAHJ) and named 2010 Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).


Soledad O’Brien was born to immigrant parents, her mom is Afro-Cuban and her dad is from Australia. During the time that her parents decided to marry, interracial marriage was illegal in Maryland and had to travel to D.C. to marry since the laws there were less restrictive. O’Brien was born and raised in St. James, New York, a predominately white neighborhood in the North Shore of Long Island.

For O’Brien, writing her memoir was a “terrifying and great experience.” She adds, “It’s never easy to talk about where you come from.”

From the book, she hopes that her audience sees the value of immigrants and sees that people love America and reach out to people. She displays a positive outlook and claims that “we’re in a good time.”

O’Brien contributes her success to her parents who “expected to make the best of their abilities and be a good human being.” All of her siblings graduated from Harvard University and are outstanding professionals.

“I feel very grateful that I had a very boring middle class existence,” she says, “I never pretend that I had a rough terrible childhood.”

Her memoir discusses growing up biracial in a predominately white neighborhood. Growing up she explains that her parents made her feel comfortable with her identity. “My mom used to say ‘don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not black and you’re not Latina.’ Who’s the they, I said, and she would say, ‘well you’re going to understand that one day.’’

She understood when an interview with Jesse Jackson on CNN angered O’Brien. Jackson claimed that there were no black anchors on CNN. When O’Brien reminded him that she was an anchor, he replied, “You don’t count.” The comment angered her and more than anything she became angry at herself for her reaction that made her question her racial identity.

Since O’Brien documentaries deal with race and ethnicity. She believes that his comment was an opportunity to start asking questions and conversations like “what is black enough?” or even “are you Latino if you don’t speak Spanish?” Starting conversations about these important topics is one of her main goals. “It’s rewarding when people value your work and that people are interested in being part of this debate,” she says. ” I want to start conversations and push people in these conversations.”

When asked why there was a lack of coverage of Latinos, she explains that there is a lack of Latinos in the newsroom. “People represent their community,” she says. If Latinos are not present in the newsroom, then the stories about the Latino community will not be covered.

For any aspiring college student journalists, she advises them that “it’s going to be a long haul” and that it’s a “matter of sticking it out.” She adds, “Think you’re going to change tomorrow, you’re not. It will be frustrating, but do it anyway for the next group. There are people out there [before you] that have done it in a tougher state in worse circumstances.”

O’Brien continues to report and anchor at CNN and is a positive role model to women. Her memoir, The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities is available at bookstores nationwide.

May 2011

Becoming a True Latina

My heritage isn’t something that is hard to tell. It wouldn’t be like trying to guess my age or even my height. I’m Hispanic! 100% Hispanic. My skin color tells it all. My voice, in Spanish at least, is always a little bit squeakier like when I say, “Hola, me llamo Regina” I always picture a small tape recorder fast forwarding my voice.

My whole family was born and raised in Mexico City. Where they reside now, wasn’t something that they wanted, but life forced for them to leave. My mom and dad married each other and moved to Austin, Texas. Although it would seem obvious that my heritage came from them, the actual “Hispanic” side of me was brought out of me thanks to an uncle of mine, el Tio Ernesto (uncle Ernesto).

My uncle is a not-to-tall 50-year-old resident of Mexico City who we all love. He knew how to show me and make me fall in love with what my heritage is. I am Hispanic, I am a Latina and I am Mexican. He taught me how to scream “Viva Mexico!” with pride, and affection that one only feels when they say I love you to their mother. He taught me how to eat tacos like a real “taquero” would, as he says. He taught me how to eat it with tortilla, cilantro, onion and a nice cold Coca Cola in your right hand and taco on the left. He taught me how to stand the spiciest of the spices without a drop of water and how to put on our soccer teams jersey even if we lost.

My Hispanic skin, eyes, and hair came from my parents. The part that makes you be truly proud of who you are, came from my uncle Ernesto. He knows everything about the history of Mexico. No matter what, he always points out something monumental to me. “There’s that president, who did this and this,” he’ll say. “Here in this part of town, you will find the greatest meat, or cheese” or whatever that town is known for. He shows me what Mexico is, who Mexico is, and what the family side of Mexico is like. I love him for showing me that because I know now that no matter where I am at or no matter where I have been, I will always have his house in Mexico to go to. That is the strongest feeling a true Mexicano has – the sense of Family. You know that no matter who you are or what you came out to be, your family will always be there. I don’t know at least half of my mother’s side of the family, but I know they love me. And I love them.

My uncle Ernesto definitely game me the ability and knowledge that it takes to be a true Hispanic, Latina and Mexicana.

By Regina

My Hero, My Dad

My hero is MY DAD.
He is the most unselfish person I know
The one who lets me be selfish
The one who listens to me
The one who never buys for himself because he thinks of his daughter and kids first
The one who has no favorite dish because he likes all
The one with steel boots and smells like oil when he gets home
The one with big hands, dark skin
A big teddy bear full of sarcasm and happines
He never reacts in selfish act
The one with a childhood who some would drive to a dark mean shadow
He drives to Waco by himself to drive my sister to college
The one who goes in the middle of the night for my school projects
And the one who wakes me up in the mornings
The one who drives me anywhere I need to go
The one that offers me his carrots
The one who put up and down my middle school science project
Who took me to my dance performance
Who took me to the music for jazz to rock
Who mailed my application
The brother, soldier, husband and father
The one who I love so much.

By Elizabeth Gonzalez

10 Tips for Healthier Looking Skin

We have all been through a time when we had an awful pimple or pimples that just wouldn’t go away. Acne can be embarrassing and here are a few simple tips that could help get rid of unwanted blemishes.

Tip 1: Drink Water
Drinking water is incredibly good for your body overall. This may sound like a broken record, but its true eight glasses a day could lead to a better heart and skin. If water isn’t really your thing, try cutting lemons or cucumbers and adding them to a pitcher of water. Let the water sit overnight in the pitcher with the fruit. In the morning, your water will taste more like lemons or cucumbers than water.

Tip 2: Learn Your Complexion
How can you fix a problem if you don’t know what the problem is? Everyone has either dry, oily, or combination skin. You may have dry skin around your nose or oily skin on your forehead or possibly both. If you know what type of skin you have, you can make sure to get the right kind of treatments and products.

Tip 3: Keep a Daily Routine
Find a face wash and toner that you feel works for you and stick to it! There is no need to spend tons of money on ridiculous face products. Clean and Clear, Neutrogena, and St. Ives are all awesome brands of face washes. They are all easily found at any Walgreens, Target, or Wal-Mart, and are all under $12. Even just plain soap and water are good as long as you wash your face regularly.

Tip 4: Go Hot to Cold
When washing your face, use hot water first and then cold water. Hot water opens up the pores and will help all the soap get in to clean your pores. The cold water will help close up the pores.

Tip 5: Toothpaste is the Secret Remedy
Putting toothpaste on a pimple helps to get rid of the redness and will dry the pimple up. Toothpaste has sulfur which is why it helps to make the pimple smaller. Leave the toothpaste on overnight. In the morning, moisturize your face because it will dry out your skin a bit. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have all night a few hours can do the trick.

Tip 6: Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!
Sleep is vital in keeping your skin looking healthy. Pre-teens and teens should be getting roughly around 9 hours of sleep reports Getting enough sleep helps keep you looking young and fresh!

Tip 7: Moisturize
Keeping your skin hydrated is very important. Also it’s good to get a moisturize that has sunscreen in it. The sun can do a lot of damage to our skin and it’s a good idea to buy a moisturizer you can wear daily that has at least SPF 15.

Tip 8: Exfoliate
To keep your skin soft and fresh, exfoliate your skin with a face wash scrub at least once a week. St. Ives apricot scrub works wonders and cost around $6.

Tip 9: Know the Difference
Acne can come in different forms and each one has a different treatment. Minor acne is usually divided into the categories of non-inflammatory acne such as blackheads and whiteheads and inflammatory acne like a papule or pustule (commonly called a zit). A blackhead is a blackish bump or plug on the skin, and a whitehead us a tiny white spot. They are very difficult to pop and could lead to scaring. If you have blackheads, trying to cover them up with makeup could be making your problem worse. Pilling on foundation is NOT the answer! The best way to get rid of blackheads is using products with Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) such as Olay Blackhead clearing scrub. Papules are inflamed, red, tender bumps with no head and should not be squeezed. A pustule appears as a red circle with a white or yellow center. Lotions with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are great for treating papules and pustules.

Tip 10: Be Careful When Popping
There is a right and wrong way to pop blackheads. According to the right way is, “wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Next, cover your face with a warm, wet cloth for 10 to 15 minutes. Pat your face dry, then wrap tissues around your fingers to prevent slippage. Use GENTLE pressure to press down then up around the sides of the blackhead. If nothing happens after one or two tries, stop. That means the blackhead isn’t ready to come out yet. Whatever you do, don’t pinch, use your nails or press too hard. This can damage your skin and might even lead to scars!”

If you have acne, you are not along. According to, over 85% of teens suffer from acne. You don’t have to live with pimples, oily skin or anything else that makes you feel less than amazing. Caring for your skin is the easiest way for you to keep up with not having unwanted pimples. Most of all though love yourself! Most acne is a result of puberty, and I promise it will go away soon as you grow older.

By Ytzel Monae McDaniel

Pro Choice or Pro Life?

It was not until last year that my own views on abortion began to change. A friend of mine made me realize just how important it is to have the right to make your own decision. I had always believed that abortion was immoral and cruel, and still to this day abortion would not be my decision. The reason that I am pro-choice is because even though abortion would not be my choice it is a decision I would like to make. I would not like to have the law tell me I can or cannot take control of my own body.

When comparing women to men, we draw the short end of the stick a little more often than men do. Women should have the ability to take control of their own bodies and even out the playing field by being able to do something about unwanted pregnancies. It is sometimes forgotten that it takes two to tango, and women are more often left with the burden of raising a child. If the guy is a jerk, it’s very easy for him to walk away from the situation. Sure the government makes them pay child support, but that is only a small amount of help needed in raising a child.

So many young girls are getting pregnant. As children themselves, they haven’t the slightest idea how to raise a child. Some girls are lucky enough to have their parents’ or family’s support and wisdom to help them along with having a child. What about those that don’t? I am seventeen and I remember freaking out after learning that baby bottles have to be boiled after washing to disinfect them or the baby could get sick. It is small things like that that make me know there is no way that I am old enough to be having a child. Also, I have seen how the psychological trauma of having parents who were too young when they conceived the child can affect the child. Often if the parents are young, there is a small resentment towards the child for being the reason they themselves missed out on normal experiences. This behavior is not healthy for the child and it might be better that the child isn’t born into a household like this. Some teen parents really do love their children and are great parents, but nonetheless they were not prepared for the child.

Making abortion illegal does not mean that abortion will suddenly disappear. It only means that abortion could be potentially dangerous for women. Outlawing abortion means that there could be back alley clinics that are not sterile and safe. Drugs are illegal but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. The safest thing for women to do is to take birth control. If schools and parents educated their children more when it comes to birth control and made it more available to young girls, there could be less teen pregnancies. MIT researchers found, “only 5 percent of women who need contraception are not using a form of it. However, they account for 47 percent of the 3 million unwanted pregnancies that occur each year in the U.S.” If more sexually active women used birth control more regularly, that number could be reduced. Now, I do believe that abortion should not be used as a form of birth control.

Although morally abortion still goes against my principals and the way I was raised, I would never dream of taking this option away from any woman. I do not know their circumstance or situation. This topic is not just black and white; there is a lot of grey area. I do not believe it is right to tell women that they cannot take control of their bodies. That is the choice they have to make, and there should be a choice.

By Ytzel Monae McDaniel

I Was Bullied

It’s Monday morning and the sound of an alarm clock goes off. A young girl wakes up and gets ready. She has breakfast, grabs her backpack and says goodbye to her parents before leaving to go spend the next seven hours at school. When she arrives at school, she passes the hallways through a sea of people pushing and shoving her out of the way. She walks into her class and is teased by the girls sitting behind her because of her clothes. Her whole school day is filled with kids making fun of her and calling her names. It happens every day. When the day ends, she goes home and cries herself to sleep. The next morning, she wakes up to the sound of the alarm clock and the same bullying happens again.

In 1995, about 160,000 children missed school because they were afraid of being bullied, according to the National Education Association. Bullying is when a person causes harm to another person on purpose. It can be physical, such as hitting, or verbal, such as name-calling, saying hurtful things or spreading rumors. People who are bullied are more likely to suffer from depression and have low self-esteem. They may even want to drop out of school because of the bullying.

Kimberly, age 19, was physically bullied growing up. “I was raised in an air force base and experienced my share of bullying with this girl who was very mean to me,” Kimberly said. She believes one reason she was picked on was because of her ethnicity. She is Hispanic and the bully was African-American. “One day, she even threw a rock at me, which caused my arm to bleed,” Kimberly said. Although Kimberly was hurt, she realized something important. “I looked down at my bleeding arm and realized that although our skin colors were different, the color inside of us was the same. We all bleed the same.” Kimberly realized that there was nothing that made her bully better than her. “Some people change, but some of them will always be bullies.”

There are many reasons why kids bully: jealousy, problems at home, peer pressure, fear of also being bullied, and a desire to be in control.

Kimberly learned her bully was acting out because of problems she was having at home. “I found out that my bully was hurting me because I got a better grade than her on a test,” she said. “ It turns out that she was having a rough time at home and getting good grades was the only thing that was making it better. So because I got a better grade than her, she took it out on me.”

What Can Be Done?
Many kids believe they are powerless against a bully, but there are ways to stop it. It all begins with speaking up. Tell an adult, such as a parent, close relative, teacher or principal. Tell them about what you or your friend is experiencing. If they know there is a problem, they can do something about it. Bullying is a serious issue, and it is one that young people have the power to fix. We can all make a difference and stop the cycle of bullying.  

By Josiane Amezcua

Quiz: Are You a Gossip Girl?

Are you gossip obsessed?

Can you be trusted with important or embarrassing information? What do you do when others turn their backs? Take this quiz to find out! Jot down your answers and quiz yourself.

1. Your crush finally asks you out, you…
A. Send out a bulletin on MySpace.
B. Call your BFF immediately.
C. Write about it in your diary.

2. You hear your abuelita and mom talking about your favorite aunt, you…
A. Run and tell her. She has a right to know!
B. Ask you mom later what it was about.
C. Tell your abuelita and mom to talk to your aunt directly.

3. When you hear that your friend’s crush is going to ask her to a quinceañera, you…
A. Go tell her congratulations! Before he can even ask her.
B. Tell all your friends immediately.
C. Make sure you call her after and say congrats!

4. Your main source of celebrity news is…
B. What you hear people talking about.
C. Yahoo!

5. Your abuelita finally tells you the family secret to making tamales, you…
A. Tell your friend’s mom who has been asking you for it.
B. Try to find a way to make money off of it.
C. Don’t even tell anyone. They will just want you to tell them.

6.  Your friend tells you that her parents are getting divorced, you…
A. Try to work her story into your English essay on marriage.
B. Tell your other friends to comfort her.
C. Tell her that she can call you anytime she needs to talk.


Personality Types:

Mostly A’s: Gossip Girl
People must be careful with what they tell you! You live for gossip; the juicier the better. Just remember that it isn’t so fun when the gossip is about you, so try to respect other’s privacy. XOXO.


Mostly B’s Social Gossiper
You might enjoy the occasional chat by the water cooler, but you realize that there’s more to life than spilling other’s people’s business. Just don’t let it become a major part of your friendships.


Mostly C’s Secret Keeper
Your lips are sealed! Your friends can trust you with their deepest, darkest secrets without having to worry about others finding out. Hopefully, you have others you can confide in too!