Latin Looks: Images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. Media

By Clara E. Rodríguez | Go to book overview

This leads to some basic questions. Have Chicana film characters been identifiable? For the most part, yes, although there are often problems in distinguishing Chicanas from Mexicanas, other United States Latinas, and Spanish-surnamed Native Americans. Has there been a Chicana filmic image separate and distinct from Latinas in general? The answer is yes during the 1930s and 1940s when Lupe Vélez and Dolores Del Rio were making their special, personal mark and during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s when Latinas in the old west were clearly Chicanas. But the answer is no since 1970, as the Chicana film image has essentially been subsumed within a larger urban Latina image, including Chicanas, Puerto Ricans, and other nationally indistinguishable Hispanics. Have Chicana film images run to types? Certainly, although those types have varied over time. Have these types resulted in filmic stereotypes? A cautious yes, based on the fact that within each era there has been so little diversity in Chicana roles.

Has this affected the public perception of Chicanas? I am certain of it, based on the general research documenting the impact of films on viewers' beliefs about the attitudes toward ethnic groups. However, I leave specific impact research to my social and behavioral science colleagues. Finally, how do Mexican-American women feel about the Chicana film image that has been created? Ask Marfa, ask any of them.


NOTES

Reprinted by permission of the publisher from Chicano Cinema. Research, Reviews, and Resources, Keller, Gary (Ed.) ( Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ: Bilingual Press/Review, 1985). Copyright © Bilingual Press/Review, 1985.

I would like to thank the Research Committee of the University of California, Riverside, Academic Senate for an intramural research grant which supported research for this article, and my colleague, Charles Wetherell, for his incisive comments on an early draft of the article.

1.
For discussions of the history of women in film, see Marjorie Rosen, Popcorn Venus. Women, Movies and the American Dream ( New York: Coward, McCann and Georghegan, 1973), and Molly Haskell, From Reverence to Rape. The Treatment of Women in the Movies ( New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974). However, these two books almost totally ignore the theme of Latinas in film.
2.
Ruth C. Peterson and L. L. Thurstone, Motion Pictures and the Social Attitudes of Children ( New York: Macmillan, 1933), pp. 35-38.
3.
Irwin C. Rosen, "The Effect of the Motion Picture 'Gentlemen's Agreement' on Attitudes Toward Jews," Journal of Psychology 26 ( 1948), pp. 525-36.
4.
Bradley S. Greenberg, "Children's Reaction to TV Blacks," Journalism Quarterly, 49 (Spring 1972), pp. 5-14.
5.
For example, according to Moving Picture World, audiences responded to Across the Mexican Line ( 1911) by hissing the Mexican villain and applauding the actions of Anglos. Moving Picture World, VIII ( May 27, 1911), p. 1201, cited in Blaine S. Lamb, "The Convenient Villain: The Early Cinema Views the Mexican-American,"

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Latin Looks: Images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. Media
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 11
  • Part One - Latinos on Television and in the News: Absent or Misrepresented 13
  • Notes 19
  • 1: Out of the Picture 21
  • 2 - Hispanic Voices: is the Press Listening? 36
  • Notes 53
  • 3: Distorted Reality 57
  • Part Two - The Silver Screen: Stories and Stereotypes 73
  • Notes 79
  • 4: Visual Retrospective 80
  • 5: Citizen Chicano 85
  • 6 - Stereotyping in Films in General and of the Hispanic in Particular 104
  • References 119
  • 7 - Chicanas in Film: History of an Image 121
  • Notes 139
  • 8: From Assimilation to Annihilation 142
  • 9: West Side Story 164
  • 10: Keeping It Reel? Films of the 1980s and 1990s 180
  • Part Three - Creating Alternative Images: The Others" Present Themselves" 185
  • 11 - From the Margin to the Center: Puerto Rican Cinema in New York 188
  • Notes 199
  • 12: Unofficial Stories 200
  • 13: Type and Stereotype 214
  • 14 - Two Film Reviews: My Family/Mi Familia and the Perez Family 221
  • 15 - Hispanic-Oriented Media 225
  • Notes 236
  • References 236
  • Part Four - Strategies for Change 239
  • 16 - Promoting Analytical and Critical Viewing 240
  • Notes 247
  • Notes 250
  • Notes 253
  • 17 - Questions and Reflections About the Reading in This Book 254
  • 18: What We Can Do 261
  • References 271
  • About-The Book, and Editor 275
  • About the Contributors 277
  • Index 279
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