Archive for June, 2007
A close friend was recently in Leon, Nicaragua and was struck by the mannequins on the street. It seems they had something to their physique that most US mannequins don’t.
What I love about being Latina: The glow of my skin, the shape of my body, the value in la familia, the traditions that flow through mi sangre
What I love about being Americana: the opportunities that are presented to me every day of my life
My biggest challenge in growing up Latina in America: overcoming cultural traditions and pursuing my dream
My biggest support in growing up Latina in America: Latina role models who communicated great inspiration through the examples of their own lives
Why I am beautiful: because God made me in His image alone, with every curve, with every strength of being a woman, and blessed me with a Light to shine before others.
I’ll be reading from Hijas Americanas, answering questions, and signing this week in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Come join me on June 27 at 7:00 p.m. @ Internationalist Bookstore, located on 405 W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and/or on June 28 at 7:00 p.m. @ The Regulator Bookshop, located on 720 Ninth Street, Durham, North Carolina. For those of you who have read the Danny Says post (if you haven’t it, look for it now because it’s a great story), Cousin Danny will be at the Durham reading which will be very fun! Hope to see you there if you are from those parts. If so, make sure to say hello!
Thank you to the folks who came out to the JosephBeth reading on Thursday night (what a beautiful bookstore) and the Malaprops reading on Friday night (Malaprops is still just as cool as I remember it). I really enjoyed the discussions after each reading. This is all really fascinating, complex stuff. Anyway, one of the questions I have had regularly is what most surprised me in my research. About four things really surprised me, and I’ll periodically share those things with you here. Today’s item of surprise: how little sex education happens in Latino families and the consequences of that fact. Of the women that I interviewed, only 6% had parents who talked to them about sex in any way that constituted an attempt at sex education (And to be clear about this 5%, see page 92 of Hijas to see how my sweet Papito delivered the talk as even those types of experiences counted in the 5% because I was trying to quantify how many of the women in the research had parents who even broached the subject—no matter how overtly or covertly). (more…)
So, my roommate right after college once told me something that has stayed with me for ten years. Heather was a big time soccer player and around the age of ten or so, her mom said something about how strong and able Heather’s body was and how that would serve her well. In order to have the strength she needed to be the soccer player that she wanted to be, she might not have the same body type as other girls who didn’t participate in sports, but her body was going to be exactly what it needed to be to do what she most wanted. Heather went on to become a big time collegiate, Division soccer player—a forward—and she never suffered from body angst. There was never a moment where she wanted her body to look different or be different because her love was soccer, and she saw her body as a vehicle of strength and not an object to admire. Last night, at a reading, we talked a little about the pressure of bringing up girls today while our TV and magazines wallpaper their mediums with images of Lindsey, Paris, Nicole, and the Olsen twins, while Disney flaunts The Princess conglomerate, while Barbie is still a draw. When I left the reading, I was reminded of my Heather’s story and its significance. At a young age, Heather found something that she loved to do and she engrossed herself in it. Because she was so focused on this thing that she loved, she didn’t really have time to focus on whether or not she was thin enough, tan enough, blonde enough. She needed to practice, to run, to eat well, to sleep enough, to not put anything that would hurt her body into it. It’s no surprise that Heather was one of the healthiest people I knew, but there was no effort to it. She was just living a life guided by choices she had made at a much younger age. It is also no surprise that Heather’s beauty and body standards were all of her own making, and that she was one of the most confident people I knew because she had determined what she wanted rather than let someone else do that for her. So, here’s a question for you.
Just received an e-mail with this news from a friend in Asheville, NC: the reading I am doing at Malaprops Bookstore there tomorrow night (Malaprops is a cool, cool book store. Check it out sometime if you are passing through western NC) was highlighted as a smart bet in this week’s Mountain Xpress. But before I get to hit the road tomorrow on my way to smart bettedness, I am reading tonight at JosephBeth Booksellers (4345 Barclay Downs) in Charlotte (last call for scheduled Charlotte readings) at 7 pm. Next week will take me to North Carolina’s Triangle area, the week after I’ll hit Winston-Salem, and then I’ll head into South Carolina. The Hijas road trip is beginning!
What I love about being Latina : The Hispanic family is united and in everyone’s business. The women in my family keep the web united. Everyone helps each other and sacrifices anything for one another. In addition, I love the food. We pass on recipes through generations. The best events are when we cook together, watch telenovelas or share stories.
What I love about being Americana : I treasure the opportunities that America offers. Here, I was able to go to school, I can achieve my goals and aspirations, and I can become anything I want to be.
My biggest challenge in growing up Latina in America : Learning the language. After I finally learned the language and learned the American Way, the other challenge was learning the culture. But I don’t want to assimilate into the American culture. I love everything about my roots. I don’t understand why families are not united in America. I know that independence is success in America, but I would not exchange my culture for anything.
My biggest support in growing up Latina in America : Other Latinas. I look up to Latinas that keep the Hispanic culture alive while becoming successful in the American life.
Why I am beautiful: I am beautiful because I have a big heart. I care so much for my family and friends. I am always volunteering for a cause that I believe in. I am a giver and it is satisfying when I have made a difference in someone’s life.
So here it is: the I Can Rescue Me soundtrack that I will use in some of my workshops this fall to celebrate the spirit of the strong woman. You can check it out at: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=258398528 I did notice that ITunes cut two of the songs so if you download the mix and want to add the two that are missing in order to have the complete first collection, add Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks and Independent Woman, Part 1 by Destiny’s Child. Enjoy! And let’s start the suggestion list for I Can Rescue Me II. I am also working on a Giving Up Beauty soundtrack with songs like “No Mirrors in My Nana’s House” by Sweet Honey in the Rock, Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, Video by India Arie, Woman as Salvation by Jackopierce, True Colors by Cyndi Lauper, Redneck Woman by Gretchen Wilson, and Unpretty by TLC. I’d love suggestions for that one, too. Alright, keep yourself safe, know your beauty, and love your body.
Come catch a reading of Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina at 7 pm on June 21 at JosephBeth Booksellers in Charlotte, NC or Friday at 7 pm at Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville, NC. Next week I head to North Carolina’s Triangle area, and I’ll be hitting South Carolina in July. Have suggestions on places I should go? Send them my way, and I’ll see if I can work them in as we make plans. If you make it out to a reading, definitely come say hello—I want to meet you! And if you are anywhere near a signing, please come by. Nothing is harder for someone who is not a natural salesperson than standing at the door of a bookstore and trying to talk focused shoppers into stopping long enough to hear about your book. Even if you aren’t near me and an Hijas book signing anytime soon, make me a promise right now that you will always stop and greet the author standing at the door of any bookstore that you darken. You don’t have to buy the book if it doesn’t grab you, but do stop and say hello, listen to the spiel, and wish him or her luck or whatever. I talked Girl Scouts, internal medicine, about every war from the Crusades until the current Iraq/Afghanistan conflict (Men love it when I tell them I used to be a high school history teacher), nut allergies, 6th grade reading lists, used bookstores, dog rescues, twin sisters, how one person can have three dads (and how much more common that is than you think), and Jodi Picoult with people who didn’t end up buying Hijas last week, but I think they had just as good a time talking about those thing as I did (and I know they loved Carly’s desserts!). So chat up the next author you see making the circuit. He or she will thank you for it!
Hello! I have been thinking lately that it would be cool to start a Yahoo Group for women who want to engage in discussing these issues (and other life issues, too). It would be an informal e-mail group that one could join and toss a question or comment out when you have it and then get advice and insight from women around the country (world, even, I guess). If this is the sort of thing that would be interesting to you, let me know by posting a comment and sharing with me what your vision for it would be—or what needs, wants you would like met with it. I want to gauge interest this week and go from there so post your thoughts by Friday, June 22 at 11 pm EST. Thanks!