Revisiting the 2002 hit Real Women have Curves, there are many aspects to this movie that really spoke to me and inspired me greatly. For those not familiar with the movie, it is about a teenage Mexican-American, Ana, conquering Mexican and American social norms. Along the way, she battles family duty and deciding whether she should continue her education.
The main actress, played by America Ferrera, is a first generation Mexican- American living in East Los Angeles. Freshly graduated from high school, Ana’s mother expects her to work in her sisters sewing factory. Her professor though, Mr. Guzman, played by George Lopez, sees a lot of potential in Ana and convinces her to apply for college. Ana goes ahead and gives it a try, but with the knowledge that her family will disapprove of it and not afford it.
As the plot progresses, we can see that she is continually insulted by her mother about her “longas” (flab stomach) and hates working in her sister’s factory, but one unforgettable scene stood out to me while she was there: Ana was getting too hot from the steam of the machines, so she decides to take her top off to cool down. Her mother immediately yelled at her to put her top back on, but Ana ignored her. Instead, she persuaded the other women to take off their tops and to embrace their bodies. This scene shows women of all sizes to be proud of their bodies, and, in this moment, Ana realizes who she is. This one scene is a big realization in the movie and it helps girls realize that a woman is more than her body type. This short scene can really influence a young Latina growing up who is told that the only way to be beautiful is to be thin. Ana proves that this is not true and embraces her appearance.
Seeing a strong, independent Latina get an education, love herself, be smart, and have the courage to move on really just hit home with me. As a young Latina, I never saw anything like this in Americanized television; it was nice seeing someone just like me for a change.
Aside from fighting the norms, Ana’s romantic interest and the way she handled it moved me. Ana has a little romance with a white boy from class. At first she doesn’t even realize that he liked her, but later he asks her on a date. What I found very inspiring and just awesome, is how Ana did go along with the romance and cherished her time with him, but she put her goals first when it was time to go to college. Ana decides to end things; the way she ended it and why is what I found inspirational. She ended things with him on a good note, and she ended things because she was going to go to college and start life all over again. Way to be independent, Ana!
Through the hardships and being accepted to college with a full scholarship, Ana realizes what every woman should realize: to embrace her body in any shape or form and to follow her dreams. After watching this movie, I was so inspired by Ana and how she took on the world. She became independent and didn’t let her culture, a boy, or even her mother stop her from loving herself and following her dream to go to college.
Every growing Latina should watch this movie. In fact, I wish I had seen this movie when I was fresh out of high school! It really would have changed my outlook in life. Even as a college senior about to graduate, it really inspired me and proved how strong and independent us Latinas can be.