Latina Beat

Our chicas share what it means to be a Latina and so much more.

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QUINCE It’s your day! The quinceañera has been a tradition for many generations, but today’s quinces are not your mother’s traditional quinceañeras. Today, Latinitas push the limits of this coming of age celebration with new and exciting trends. With elaborate dresses and themes, this day is as diverse as the girls who put them on. What’s your story? Does your quince stay true to traditional customs? Are you adding new twists to this tradition? Tell us about your special day.


CULTURE Looking for writing, poetry and essays that describe or reflect cultural history, traditions, holidays and experiences. Submit stories on how you express your culture and what you know about the origin of your family. First person stories of how you define your culture are welcome!


MI BARRIO Where we live and how we see it tells so much about ourselves. Mi Barrio invites writers to submit profiles of the neighborhoods, towns, cities, states and even countries of origin. Include the name of the place, Tell us what you like to do for fun there, what makes your hometown special, what is the weather like, are there any special landmarks there? What is the history of your hometown. What type of hometown do you live in? (urban, rural) Why do you like it? What can visitors do in your hometown?


FAMILIA As Latinitas, we have a diverse background. Some of our families have been here for generations and we can trace back our roots to some of the earliest Spanish settlers. Others of us can remember our journey crossing over to a new country. Ask your parents, Tias and abuelos to get a better idea of how your family came to the U.S.A. Write an essay describing your family’s story of coming to America.


PASSPORT Travel writers, here is your forum. Describe a trip you have gone on. For stories outside the U.S. tell us the following: an interesting fact (geography, animals), famous figure and entertainer that lives there, who is the current president of that country, what is the capital, languages spoken, currency used, what continent is it on. Also tell us three things that you were able to do at this travel destination that you couldn’t do in your hometown. What foods would you suggest that are native to this place? What new lingo did you learn at your travel destination? Describe a favorite memory of the trip. Finish this statement: If you visit this travel destination, you absolutely have to…What unique customs did you learn while visiting? Lastly answer, when travelling to this place, don’t forget to pack your….


MUNDO NEWS Share your feedback or connection to a major news story? Were you hit with an earthquake? Are you fascinated with Central American politics? Do you have something to say about a national issue. Send us your research, thoughts and in some way, connect it to being Latina.


Read one of our articles below!

From El Paso to Califas: Pachuco Subculture  by Veronica Martinez

The iconic chuca and chuco look can still be seen today, and this iconic trend is more than a fashion statement. There’s a rich history, like the Zoot Suit riots, that is tied to the pachuco and pachuca subcultures. A chuco or pachuco is a subculture that started in Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, TX– neighboring border cities. The subculture started in El Paso in the 1930’s and later on moved up to California, especially in Los Angeles. Along with other cultural trends, the pachucos led to creating a slang of Mexican spanish, caló, and helped pave the way for the Chicano Movement.


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Pachucos were often seen in zoot suits, these were very oversized pants and coats, and were often called zooters. The clothes were inspired by the 1920’s Chicago gangsters. Chucos were often associated with gangs, although most of them were not related to any illicit activities. The clothes were more about the trend and for dancing. It would have been very hard to dance to the music emerging from swing and bebop of the 1940’s in tight pants.

When the pachuco trend started, the trend also led to questioning one’s identity. Being bicultural has always been difficult for Mexican-Americans. Si no eres de aqui ni eres de ella, so how do you prove your American pride? Chicano boys signed up for the army during WWII as much as the Anglo boys did.According to Senator Robert Mendez, more than 9,000 Latinos died during World War II. However, statistics are problematic because, unlike African Americans that served in segregated units, Latinos were counted with the white males that served.

Now, about the chucas. These girls were tough, ok? In the way that they were cool, strong and non-traditional girls. Since girls were expected to stay at home, chucas defied society’s standards and would often go out and spend time with their Mexican-American boyfriends and other chucas and chucos. Women were constantly told by their mothers that they should stay at home, out of trouble, and out of those short skirts.

Chucas broke a lot of the social rules during this era. Women, at least a respectable woman, was expected to be at home, but pachucas often appeared in public with their boyfriends and wore loose pants like their male counterparts. Yeah, stay home flipping tortillas? No, thanks.

The history of chucos and chucas are an important part of our Mexican-American culture. The next time you see the word “zoot suit,” know that it’s not just a piece of clothing. It is a way of life that helped pave the way for Mexican-Americans in the U.S.

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