Proud2Bme | Hey, Media: Not All Latinas Have Curves

Hey, Media: Not All Latinas Have Curves

By Nicolette Hinojos--Being Hispanic, I am supposed to have sultry curves, a full behind, and an overall exotic quality. At least that’s what media put into my head growing up.

As it is, Hispanic women are underrepresented in television, movies, and music, but when we are, it's women like Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Penelope Cruz, Naya Rivera, and Sofia Vergara who are in the spotlight. These women have the curves, the fierceness, and an exotic quality that would make anyone swoon. I would watch these women among others on television (still do) and I believed I would get older and look like that. Of course things didn’t turn out the way I planned.

When I went through puberty, I couldn’t wait to wake up one morning, look in the mirror and see the new me. It would be like Christmas morning and my present would be a new image of myself, all beautiful and confident. Instead, as time went by I would see all my friends and others I knew filling out and I wasn’t part of it. It left me confused and a bit mad. If I were a "true" Hispanic girl I should have larger breasts, a behind that would fill out any jeans, and curves to last for days. I sadly got none of this; it was unfair. What I did get was a flat bum, flat chest, and wide hips that looked out of place. My self-esteem dropped immensely and I couldn’t deal with the fact that I was different from those beautiful women I saw in the media. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t find a Latina who looked like me, which led me to believe that having the body shape that I had was frowned upon.

I didn't see anyone who looked like me on TV, which made me think that all women of my ethnicity had to be one way. I also heard that message from almost everyone else. In my teens I went through the boy crazy stage, but hearing guys talk about how they only liked girls with big boobs and nice butts pushed me further into my self-consciousness. There was no winning and it seemed like every day I would find something that was wrong with me.

All of these feelings haven’t completely gone away. I am going to be 21 and I still have self-esteem issues. I can have on the most amazing outfit with my hair just perfectly done, but I will position my binder over my stomach to hide the imaginary fat. Or when I’m standing I will secretly stick out my butt just a little so it’s not completely obvious. It really wasn’t until a few months ago when I started taking a class about the portrayals of men and women in the media that I started to look at myself in a different light. I learned that the portrayals of women are stereotypical and they never really represent a whole population. This is why I thought all Hispanic women were curvy and exotic. Not all of us are made like that--only those the media chooses to show. I am starting to learn that I may have a flat butt, no boobs, and weirdly wide hips, but that is just who I am. What I need to do is stop focusing on what’s wrong with me physically because honestly it’s exhausting. Tearing myself apart day after day is unhealthy and by doing this I am forgetting about all my features that are beautiful. The media will most likely keep showing us exaggerated images of how we “should” look, but what we can do is to focus on how being different can be the most amazing thing ever.

Nicolette comes from a small town in California’s central valley. Last fall, she moved to LA for school. Some of her hobbies include finding new music, watching tons of TV, and writing. She is studying to become a journalist.

Image courtesy of Pixomar /

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

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