Velvet Barrios pp 265-282 | Cite as

Resisting “Beauty” and Real Women Have Curves

  • María P. Figueroa
Part of the New Directions in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)


Popular culture can be seen, and has been interpreted by some, as a structure of dominance that perpetuates and enhances a dominant ideology invested with the social construction of whiteness, and correspondingly with capitalist cultural commodification. When we examine the representation of Latina bodies in mainstream popular culture, or even in Latina/o popular culture that crosses over or that is produced by the mainstream culture industry, this interpretation becomes an accurate and problematic statement about the abject state of the female body in the popular imagination. This essay will examine hegemonic social constructions of “beauty” in juxtaposition with portrayals of Latina bodies in three kinds of texts: Latina magazine, the cultural icon of Selena, and Jose-fina López’s play, Real Women Have Curves.


Feminist Issue Dominant Ideology Illegal Alien Beauty Ideal Undocumented Worker 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    Maria Camargo Heck, “Ideological Dimensions of Media Messages,” in Culture, Media, Language ed. Stuart Hall et al. (New York: Routledge, 1992), 122–134.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Henry A. Giroux, “White Squall: Resistance and the Pedagogy of‘Whiteness,’” Cultural Studies 11.3 (October 1997): 376–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 6.
    Gloria Anzaldua, ed., Making Face, Making Soul /Haciendo Caras Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color (San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 1990). I would also like to thank Dionne Espinosa for pointing this out in an earlier draft.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Frances Negrón-Muntaner, “Jennifer’s Butt,” Aztlan vol. 2, no. 2 (Fall 1997), 181–194.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    Kathleen Tracy, Jennifer López (Toronto: ECW, 2000), 75.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    See Gloria Anzaldúa, “Border Arte: Nepantla, El Lugar de la Frontera,” in La Frontera/The Border: Art About the Mexico/United States Experience (exhibition book), curated by Patrick) Chávez and Madeleine Grynsztejn (San Diego: Cen-tro Cultural de la Raza and Museum of Contemporary Art, 1993), 107–114.Google Scholar
  7. 19.
    Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), 16.Google Scholar
  8. 21.
    Josefina López, Real Women Have Curves (Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Publishing Co., 1996).Google Scholar
  9. 24.
    Suzie Orbach, Fat Is a Feminist Issue (New York: Berkeley Books/Paddington Press, 1981). López dedicates Real Women to Suzie Orbach.Google Scholar
  10. 32.
    Becky W. Thompson, A Hunger So Wide and So Deep: A Multicultural View of Women’s Eating Problems (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), 92.Google Scholar
  11. 40.
    M. Teresa Marrero, “Real Women Have Curves: The Articulation of Fat as a Cultural Feminist Issue” in Ollantay 1.1. (January 1993): 69.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alicia Gaspar de Alba 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • María P. Figueroa

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations