Antonio Banderas, The Latin Lover, & Other Latin Stereotypes

Antonio Banderas, The Latin Lover, & Other Latin Stereotypes

Let's Not Get Comfortable Being a Stereotype
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Being an English major has taught me so much. Not only have I read dozens of books, written dozens of essays, but what has stuck with me the most has been the lessons taught in class. This summer, I had the opportunity to take a course, Latino/as in Children's Literature and Film, this by far has been one of the best classes I have ever taken.

Throughout this course we were required to watch children's movies, popular titles such as The Lion King, Thumbelina, The Road to El Dorado, The Emperor's New Groove, The Book of Life, and the trilogy of Spy Kids. We were also required to read theory and children's books. This class was so packed with information, class felt overwhelming sometimes. The minute I found out we were required to watch these films, I couldn't help but think what was so important about these titles. I only seen these movies as just a form of child entertainment.

First class I remember the professor acknowledging that exact question. He explained that although these movies are made for kids, they are made by adults, it isn't just a children's movie. As much as one may think it's just an innocent movie, and "don't think so much about it", that's the problem. So many of us are blinded by being entertained, we just consume the movie, and do't have time to think about what is really important. This class taught me how to deconstruct a movie like I have never thought of doing before.

Since the primary subject of this course was the way Latinos and Latina, were represented in children's film, I was shocked to the analysis of each of the characters, plots, and music. As a child, I watched these films, and even as an adult I watched these movies without even thinking about the way Latinos were portrayed. Through our analysis, we were portrayed as savages, less intelligent, stereo-typically "spicy", darker in skin color, darker hair, heavy fake accents, big mustaches, just to name a few. In Spy Kids, we have Antonio Banderas, casted as Gregorio Cortez, there are many times when he enters, guitar stricken music is in the background. Is it a coincidence? I think not, producers, directors and editors know what they are doing, and they either play with that stereotype or counteract it.

Antonio Banderas is known for being the Latin lover, and although there is a lot of stereotype around his character, the counteract of the stereotype is he is also perceived as being extremely smart. Is Machete's character a coincidence? No it's not, in Spy Kids he is known to be the best inventor for spy equipment, yet he isn't acknowledged for it. Let's think about it, if Machete wasn't dark, had an accent, with long black hair, his character would've had some acknowledgement for his accomplishments. Some characters were played by Latino actors, and some also played by Americans. It was mostly focused on Latino actors being portrayed as the less of, in retrospect with the white savior.Many of these films played too much with the stereotypes many face every day, as a class we couldn't help but ask "Is this okay?"

As an audience, we need to be careful about the way in which we watch things. How do we process the film in front of our eyes? How do children process it? Are we being conditioned to laugh at the stereotype or are we fighting the stereotype by laughing at it? There''s nothing wrong with watching films with stereotypes, it is more the concept of understanding the fact that there is layered information being broadcasted. As a viewer its our job to understand what is being shown on that screen.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Dear Marvel, You Really Need TO Do Better With Representation

This is simply a poor attempt at more diversity.

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SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Avengers "Endgame" hit theaters and shattered records across the world with making an amazing $350 million in North America and an even more stunning $1.2 billion worldwide. In fact, 'Endgame' has already destroyed records set back "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Avatar," and even the first part of the movie, 'Infinity War.' Fans went in expecting a mix of emotions and for the most part, the movie definitely delivered. However, there is one thing that some fans are severely disappointed in.

Directors like the Russo Brothers hyped up an "exclusive gay character" and "Marvel's first openly gay character" in the 22 movie franchise. But fans weren't happy with what they received after all of this hype beforehand. While representation is representation sometimes it's simply not good enough. In this movie, Steve Rogers (Captain America) goes to a counseling group with others to deal with such a huge loss in their world and lives. This is where we meet the "exclusive" gay character, who barely even has a name. He's an unnoticeable character if you're not paying attention, has no relevance to the plot, and doesn't make any kind of difference in the movie at all. He talks about how he finally went out on a date, with a guy, and how eventually they both cry while reflecting on their lives after the snap. While they call this "exclusive," we call this pretty close to queerbaiting.

Making a big deal over a background character and parading him around for his sexuality isn't what we would call representation. While it's always cool to see an LGBTQ character on the screen in such a huge series, this character is still just a minor character and has no relevance and is literally never seen again. He is on screen for less than five minutes before we never see this character again. This is what you call representation? A minor background character with no importance whatsoever? No thanks!

What we are looking for is at least someone that has something to do with the plot, not just there to say they've done it and market to the LGBTQ community. Marvel needs to do better when it comes to this. Their big deal over a minor character lost our respect more than it gained because this excitement was only a money grab more than an actual attempt at diversity. When we have characters like Valkyrie, who is Bisexual in the comics, we want to see more major characters gain this diversity. Even Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson agrees, "we gotta move faster" as no person should be excluded from being a superhero for any reason, even sexual orientation.

So Marvel, while you're here breaking box office records, don't forget to do better at giving the LGBTQ community the representation they deserve, and the representation we all want! And until you do, we'll just be here looking over Brie Larson's and Bev Johnson's support of Captain Marvel and Valkyrie!

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