Sophia Vergara is a successful comedic actress and a now a good businesswoman reaping the fruits of her success. Her character on “Modern Family” though, is questionable to me on how it reinforces stereoptypes of latina women. Brazilians are not Hispanic. However, we are all Latins in the sense our countries were colonized by the former Roman Empire. Even though we share many cultural similarities, we are lumped as one by most Americans.
The character is ditzy, obsessed with her physique and looks, wears too tight – too sexy outfits, too much make up, is uncultured (and proud of it), never learns English properly, blindly religious and superstitious. It is true that many Latinas fall into that description, but it is not one we are proud of. A woman who marries a man old enough to be her father to give her financial security (in real life that marriage would never be blissful) and who has no interest in studying and getting a job (or even helping her husband in the family business) is not a good role model for Hispanic women in this country.
Some immigrants may think that using their bodies so they can latch on to a financially secure man and have a good life is the example to follow. Some young women may get the message that all they have to do it dress sexy/slutty and all men will fall to their feet. Staying ignorant is ok; not having a career is ok. Just producing babies will guarantee a man’s financial support for years.
Worse than always trying to be sexy to keep men entranced, is the portrayal of dittziness and ignorance as “feminine” qualities. I hope the American audience does not think every latina woman is like that. I hope young Latinas don’t think that’s the road to success or some dubious financial security. I hope that when Latinas come to mind, more people think of Sonia Sotomayor than Gloria Pritchett.
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