Identity Appreciation In The Myth Of The Latin Woman

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

In the essay “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria”, Judith Ortiz Cofer discusses her childhood and transformation into adulthood. She emphasizes the way people would acknowledge and act towards her just for being hispanic and her Puerto Rican heritage. Ortiz Cofer communicates her point of view when it comes to stereotypes/prejudices that she and other women of Hispanic and Latin backgrounds are placed in. One example that she brings up is when a drunk man started singing “Maria” from “Westside Story” to her just because she was latina. This made her feel extremely uncomfortable and this man immediately assumed that it would be fine to sing this song to her just because she was latina. She reacted in a “reserved and cool” manner which was a normal way to react given the circumstances that she and the man were in (Ortiz Cofer 370). If she would have reacted in a loud or aggressive way, given the man was drunk, things could have ended rough.

Ortiz Cofer thinks back on her childhood and remembers different ways some people would connect with her, being a latina, and others, being non latinas. She finds these cultural biases and interactions to be similar as if “the Island travels with you” (Ortiz Cofer 371). Ortiz Cofer the explains how she “agonized” over the choice of what she was going to wear for career day (Ortiz Cofer 371). She “had no models on which to base [her] decision” about what clothing items to put together for career day and ended up putting on “a composite of” various role model and experienced choices (Ortiz Cofer 371). Her Italian American friend later confessed to he that Latino girls in her school typically stood out on career day for wearing ‘everything at once’ (Ortiz Cofer 372). Ortiz Cofer carries on to uncover the myth of the Latin woman as being a “good domestic” or stereotypical cleaner/maid or a stay-at-home housewife by revealing, how when one of the first times she was presenting and reading in front of an amatuer audience she was confused by one of the guests as a waitress (Ortiz Cofer 374). She was the main featured speaker and this random lady who asked her for some coffee ended up finding herself embarrassed by her culturally insensitive prejudice and ignorance. Ortiz Cofer realizes that this woman did not deliberately ‘profile’ her, but she did confess that this and all other prejudices that come with being latina is something that she will need to overcome and not let get to her (Ortiz Cofer 374). She would still need to speak up and prove these stereotypes and prejudices of others towards her Latin culture wrong.


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