The Portrayal of Latinas in the TV Industry


(Image courtesy of Vanity Fair)

Famous “Spicy Latinas”, Sofia Vergara posing for Vanity Fair.

For a long time, Latinas have been portrayed as “exotic,” “angry,” or “crazy.” All over the media, Latinas are seen wearing skin-tight clothing on top of their hourglass figure, five-inch heels, and perfect makeup. These gorgeous brunettes with dotty personalities and voluptuous figures are often called “Spicy Latinas.” However, the stereotype also focuses on one type of personality – women are always shown to have volatile emotions and display erratic behavior. 

Unfortunately, this trope has become so common now in the television industry that Latina women find it difficult to move away from the “Spicy Latina” stereotype. In typical TV shows, they are sexualized in many ways, from what they wear down to their thick accents. 

In the hit TV series “Modern Family,” Sofia Vergara, a well-known actress, plays the role of Gloria “a Latina trophy wife that is always in high heels, sexualized clothing and is hot-headed.” 

In the show, the character Gloria is often seen making jokes because of her accent and how she portrays so much “emotion.” Gloria has a thick Spanish accent which causes her to stand out from other characters all the time. She can be seen as loud, dramatic, and obnoxious to her husband and the people all around her. In the show, she has long hair and wears revealing clothes, heels, makeup, and occasionally hoop earrings.  

Even on the recent hit show that focuses on high school students and all of their plights, “Euphoria,” we meet Maddy, who is, of course, a “Spicy Latina.” Maddy eventually begins dating a classmate who turns out to be abusive and toxic. Throughout the first season of the show and even the second, we see Maddy consistently fall into the negative stereotypes of being a “Spicy Latina.” We see how she lets her boyfriend abuse her because she believes that she has to depend on him, and the only way out of her current life is to play into his fantasy. The show portrays Latina women as not their own person but as women who are exotic and solely rely on men. 

All of these tropes and portrayals of Hispanic women have negative effects. We consistently see Latina women portrayed as objects who are not worthy of being treated like actual people. Instead, they are seen as fantasies, and for many Latina women, they are faced with the looming stereotype that they will be angry, volatile, and promiscuous. When Latina women see how they are on the media and television, it causes disappointment and anger because people are being fed lies. Latina women, in reality, are not all loud, emotional, angry, money-hungry, obnoxious, and exotic as portrayed online. These negative stereotypes of Latinas being hyper-sexual harm our young girls, and it normalizes violence and sexual harassment.