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The Issue of Stereotypes in The Story 'The Myth of The Latin Woman'

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In the story “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I just Met a Girl Named Maria” by Judith Ortiz Cofer, the author Cofer discusses the how people stereotype Latin American woman generation after generation. Cofer begins her story with her own experience on a bus trip to London from Oxford University, when a drunk man coming from a pub “bar”. He kneeled down and started singing “Maria” from “Wet Side Story. Throughout the story Cofer discusses her opinion on stereotypes of Latin American woman. Cofer reflects back on her high school days for career day, when teachers told them to come dressed as if for a job interview. (573) She talks about the difficulty of finding something “appropriate” to wear. Not knowing what to wear because of little to none role models to dress similar to for a “career day”. Cofer mention the stereotype Puerto Rican girls “dressing up” wearing ornate jewelry and clothing (573). Years later Cofer recalls a comment her friend (an Italian American) from business school made stating that Puerto Rican girls stood out for wearing “everything at once”.

Cofer tell us about the mixed cultural signals have certain stereotypes (575). People would refer to Hispanic women as “Hot tamales” or sexual firebrand. She explains how as young girls, they were influenced in their decisions about clothing and colors by the older woman. She also explains how on the island the woman don’t get sexual harass because showing your skin was a way to stay cooled off. On the island they could dress freer because in most cases they were protected by the traditions, mores, and laws of the Spanish/ Catholic systems of morality and machismo. They main rules was “you may look at my sister, but if you touch her I will kill you”.

Every race/ethnicity gets stereotyped, some are worst then others. No matter where you are from or what you look like people always “see” what you are trying to get away from. I honestly think stereotyping is wrong and needs to be put to a stop. Stereotyping is past down from generation to generation. I believe stereotyping is past down because someone in your family has to “teach” it or “physical show” it. For example, Cofer said a man from a ”bar” spotted her and as if inspiration went down and started singing “Maria” From “West side story”. Something had to inspire the man to do this to Cofer. Most thing in life you have to visualize before doing. She handled the situation very well by just mustering up a smile and walking away. Not everyone has that strength to handle situation that mature. Also towards the ending of the story a father called her “Evita” and continued to recite “don’t cry for me, Argentina”. Then his daughter said “how about a round of applause for my daddy?” by him doing this in front of his daughter its telling her it’s “ok” to do thing like this.

Your race does not put a “title” on how smart or how far you can go in life. You determine how far you want to go. You can do anything, you put your mind to as long as you work hard for it. For example, with Cofer education and proficiency with English, she is not typically in the “Latin American women” stereotype. Which is working a menial job, waitressing/ cooking jobs and factory jobs. Cofer is proving “The Myth of a Latin Women” wrong because she has a career of writing. Cofer mention she has a Chicana friend that is working on her Ph.D. in philosophy at a major university and her doctor stills shakes his head from the “bog words” she uses. Cofer believe since she doesn’t “wear her diplomas around her neck” for all to see, she will always be looked at as a “kitchen worker”. Cofer had an incident with an older woman at her first public poetry reading. The older lady assumed she was a waitress because she was Latin American and she had her poetry book in her hand.

Some people are very bold with their stereotyping and they make scene. Some people don’t intentional mean to stereotype. Some people stereotype in their head and treat you the way people are supposed to be treated. Stereotype is just a way to get under someone’s skins and bother them, by hurting their feelings. I personal don’t care about someone stereotyping me because I will prove you wrong and make you feel ashamed. I know who I am as a person and someone thinking different does not change that. 

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The Issue Of Stereotypes In The Story ‘The Myth Of The Latin Woman’. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from
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