“I want a little girl. I envision us in our living room, our hips swinging as a a merengue ripao blasts through stereo speakers. The beat changes to a familiar salsa — “Hasta Que Te Conosi” by Marc Anthony — and we sing loudly, as if we are the ones on stage at Madison Square Garden. I look at her caramel skin, curly hair, and wide eyes as she twirls and laughs happily. I am bursting with pride and joy. I wish for her what I wished for myself as a young Latina — that she loves herself deeply, accepts herself and her quirks, and realizes she is worthy of greatness. I snap out of my reverie, spin her quickly as the rhythm of the congas speed up, and say, ‘Mamita, you are a strong, beautiful and smart Latina. Don’t let anyone put you inside of a box. You, amor, are meant to be free.'”
This is the beginning of my story for Hip Latina on why I decided to change the narrative of being Latina with the #TakeBackLatina campaign. I have a son, but I am a proud mujer that lives for collaborating with women and elevating our voices. I believe in sharing authentic Latinx experiences. It is up to me — us — to free ourselves from the mental prison and conditions that convince us to be a certain kind of Latina. I don’t want to live by anyone else’s rules or in anyone else’s image. I say “fuck you” to constant images and messages of sex that appear when searching #Latina on Instagram. I say “there’s more to being Latina” when Googling “Latina”and my search turns up articles of “how to date a Latina.”
“For years, I’ve struggled with what it means to be a mujer Latina in love and life. I’ve fought within myself about myself and my behavior, and questioned where it all stems from. My childhood. My upbringing. Mami.” It’s a story that many Latinx share: Mami was submissive in her relationship and, inadvertently, taught me to be the same in my relationship. She muted her voice, crying rather than communicating, and I began expressing myself in the same manner with Boo. “She was taught by her mother (and her mother by her mama) to be the very mujer that I became.”
It’s not just our ancestors that hone Latinas into becoming una ama de casa that cater to the men in their lives. “The media is also to blame; they portray Latinas as submissive and catering and fiery sexpots that explode in an instant.” I don’t want that pressure. I don’t want any Latinx to feel that they have to fit into a mold created by others. And I don’t want that for your daughter or my future daughter.
This is why I decided to #TakeBackLatina. In order to encourage and uplift a generation Latinx and leave a legacy, I knew I had to start by changing my narrative. This is why I continue to share my story. It starts with me, with you. And I don’t want to be anyone but myself. I – you- deserve to live my life they way I see fit.
So join me as I continue to #TakeBackLatina. Post a photo on Instagram in all your Latinx glory. Be the Latina you are and say fuck it to everything and everyone else.