Monday, April 25, 2016

Core Post #5

The reading on Jennifer Lopez, “The Hollywood Latina Body as Site of Social Struggle: Media constructions of Stardom and Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Cross-over Butt’” by Mary C. Beltrán as well as the reading about Carmen Miranda “The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat” by Shari Roberts, reminded me of how Sofia Vergara is treated in today’s press. In Beltrán’s article, she discusses the English-language media’s obsession with Jennifer Lopez’s butt. When Sofia Vergara started on Modern Family, her body became a source of discussion or news outlet as well as a topic on the TV show. Beltrán furthers her point when she says that “non-white stars’ images have to resonate with white notions of ethnicity in order for an actor to achieve crossover status,” like the “fiery Latina” stereotype (79). Vergara is constantly being associated with her “fiery Latina” side in her public appearances as well as on Modern Family. Also in appearances, Vergara had to die her hair to a dark brown (she’s naturally blond) in order to get roles as casting directors didn’t think she looked “Latina” enough.

Beltràn also discusses Sarah Bartmann and the “exoticization and sexualization of the non-white body” in western and colonial culture (81). She compares the grotesque and disproportionate paintings and drawings to how the Entertainment Weekly portrayed Jennifer Lopez in their centerfold (81). This reminded my of how one person portrayed Vergara. 

 While these are parodies of her and specifically her body, she is still involved in them and points out in the first video how ridiculous the costume is and does have some control over the image. 

The discussion in Robert’s article about Carmen Miranda reminded of how Vergara is also constructed in relation to Colombia. Her accent is constantly a point of joke in real life when people interview her co-stars as well as on the show. There is an entire storyline dedicated to her not being able to pronounce words (“Halloween Season 2 Episode 6). Roberts talks about Miranda’s “extreme Otherness” which was “enunciated by her Other language” and people loved that they couldn’t understand what she was saying (10). While Vergara is not often as “homogenized” into all Latina culture as Miranda is, she is still othered as Colombia and on the show, they other Colombia as a backwards country. However, it does seem as Vergara, similarly to Miranda, has some control over her image. They did make the character Colombian because she was Colombian, instead of a different ethnicity as well as allowing her to ab lib her own lines and influence from her own personal experience( As her fame as grown, she went back to her natural hair color and became much more in control of her image to the media.

In this article, she also talks a lot about being Latina and how that influences her physique and such. However, this article is aimed at women who "aren't born with it" and "it" meaning Latina/Latino genes, so not a great improvement in English-Language media since Lopez's Selena Press tour.

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