Being Latina is Not a Trend
Latinas are known for a variety of things - from harmful stereotypes about being “spicy” or “toxica” to friendlier and newer interpretations of our attitudes as empowering and independent. However, with the rise of Latinas in media, politics, and more, it’s time to tackle the worst part of it all: being considered a trend.
We saw it happen with Hailey Bieber’s “brownie lips” to TikTok’s infamous “spa water” - Latinas are trendy to the white non-Latine world right now. Our food, outfits, and music have always had an influence on the world around us without the credit. It’s past time Latinas get credit for the cultural impact we’ve always had. It’s time to bring attention to how the entire rebranding of styles that have consistently defined our upbringing are now taking over our feeds in palatable ways to white non-Latines. The problem is that these “trends” are now considered acceptable to the masses but were originally rejected when worn on us.
The commercialization of being Latina isn’t new; the legacy left behind by immortal icons like Selena Quintanilla can’t be ignored both inside and outside of the Latine community, and the rise of Latine artists like Bad Bunny and Karol G continue to dominate the charts despite their music being released exclusively in Spanish. Nuestra comunidad goes far beyond music though - Latinas have always had a huge influence when it comes to beauty, fashion, and more. Characters like Maddy Perez on HBO’s ultra-popular teen drama, Euphoria, resonated with viewers who deemed her a problematic but ultimately layered queen (who looked amazing in all of her scenes!). Many even deemed her extremely relatable to their own bicultural experiences growing up Latina in the U.S.
Given how many of us are raised in Latine households with parents who taught us to actively take pride in our physical appearances, always making sure to be well-groomed and well-dressed for every occasion, it’s not a surprise that many things we grew up with and normalized are now adopted by others. Latinas have always been on point with trends, making sure to always be ahead of the curve with everything from hair and makeup to fashion. After all, we live by the motto, “antes muerta que sencilla.”
The problem isn’t that these things are popular to begin with but rather that it took applying our curly hair, red nails, and gold hoops to white-centric audiences for them to be considered cool or upscale. The “clean girl” aesthetic is a prime example of this: when slicked back buns, neutral makeup, and gold hoops made their way into the everyday routines of Black and brown women, it was branded as “ghetto”, “chola”, or generally considered lower class. Now that white influencers have awarded our former everyday looks as acceptable, they have become trendy.
The list of our influence as Latinas is long, but the credit we receive is short. It’s important to highlight where this influence comes from and give appreciation to the communities that began these trends even when they weren’t positively received. Because of the plight of Black and brown women in our community who wore these styles, other women can benefit off of the aesthetics we’ve been punished for maintaining throughout the years. This makes space for us to exist authentically, not needing to compromise bits of our culture for the benefit of the many. To these women we give thanks, and encourage others to continue practicing their truths. By continuing to express yourself in the face of adversity, we’re redefining what it means to be Latina, and encouraging others to show up authentically as their highest selves.