Entertainment

‘Real Women Have Curves’ Is The Body Positivity Message We Need Now More Than Ever

Shockingly, it’s been over 15 years since “Real Women Have Curves” hit the big screen, exposing the world to America Ferrera for the first time, as our Latina icon of body positivity and self-love. In a thousand ways, this film sparked real change in Hollywood and in our Latino-American culture. In a thousand other ways, from overbearing, manipulative Latina mothers to virginity as the measure of female value, it’s as if nothing has changed.

Let’s check out some unknown facts about the film and how its still offering an important lesson to young Latina women owning agency over their bodies. THe internet was still pretty new in 2002 so some of these might come as a shock.

The film is based on a play written by Josefina López.

CREDIT: @50playwrights / Instagram

The idea for the play didn’t come to her in an instant. It was a building fury beginning as an 18-year-old in her high school drama class when her teacher had something hard to say. In a recent interview, López shared her teacher’s response to her student’s embarrassment to wear a leotard:

“‘If you’re really serious about being an actress, you have to lose weight, because no one will ever cast you as the ingénue if you don’t lose weight.’ And I started to cry because I was always afraid to even think that I could be an actor, because I thought you had to be white, and I equated being white with being beautiful. When she told me that I cried, and then she started crying with me, and she said, “I feel so bad telling you this, because I was told the same thing. I’m not telling you this because I think you should change, but this is the way the business works. Men want to play the heroes in all the stories, so I guess women have to be thin enough to be lifted up into their arms to walk into the sunset, because men get to be the heroes of all of the stories.”

“If there are no stories about chunky girls getting laid, or being heroes, then I’m going to write those stories. “

CREDIT: HBO

That’s when an American classic was born. The similarities between López’s childhood and that of her protagonist, Ana García, played by America Ferrera, are poignant. Both struggle with society telling them to be ashamed of working class parents, of being dark-skinned, of being curvy, of being Latino.

There isn’t a single mention of outside society telling Ana she’s fat. It’s all from her mother, Carmen.

CREDIT: HBO

We have the studies today to back up López’ powerful claim that our mothers offer the most formative perception we will have of our bodies. I have never, ever, seen my own mother not be on some diet (“solo yucca because it’s mostly water”) or seen her eat a slice of flan without whispering, “ok just one bocadito,” as if anyone cared but herself.

Anyone else have a mami like that?

Their “que pesado” dynamic is relevant for all of us.

CREDIT: HBO

Carmen: Straighten up, walk like a lady. Even l, in my condition, I walk like a lady.

Ana: [mockingly] *Flips hair ~17 times* *Shakes hips so silly*

Carmen: Payasito

Lupe Ontiveros won an award at Sundance for her performance of Carmen.

CREDIT: HBO

Ontiveros, who died in 2012, always played women we loved to hate (“Selena,” duh). Her life was truly remarkable, though. She worked as a social worker for 18 years before she started taking some extra work, which turned into a long career in Hollywood.

Ana wants to go to college, but Carmen forbids her from “breaking the family apart.”

CREDIT: HBO

Much later, a movie called “Lady Bird” came out that read like a white version of López’s story. The mothers are overbearing and won’t let her go to college. López spoke through tears when commenting about the differences, however.

“I also deserve a place in Hollywood and the opportunity to continue telling impactful stories. I co-wrote a better version of ‘Lady Bird’ that challenges the status quo,” she said. “I wish my film had been appreciated [the same way].”

Carmen uses the guilt tactic for casi todo to control Ana.

CREDIT: HBO

At first Carmen succeeds in guilt-tripping Ana from going to college because of her abuelito, but she later decides that it’s just something she has to do. Her father gives her his blessing and her abuelito tells her that she’ll always be in his heart.

Carmen, meanwhile, never even gets out of bed to tell Ana goodbye.

Meanwhile, Ana’s older sister, Estela, is fighting to keep her factory going.

CREDIT: HBO

She’s sewing designer dresses for Bloomingdales that sell for $600 on the rack, and is paid $18 for each. She struggles to meet deadlines and pay rent alongside the mental health effects of knowingly being exploited. Her dream is to start her own line.

After Ana asks for a small loan from their father for Estela, she designs a dress just for Ana.

CREDIT: HBO

At first, when Ana sees the dress, she scoffs, “Come on, you know I can’t fit into this.” Her response is everything, and since 2002, the clothing industry has changed. There are “plus size” lines in so many stores from Target to Bloomingdales.

Personal opinion: we still need to redefine what “plus size” really is, because ‘regular’ sizes leave little room for athletic builds, curves and hips that are absolutely beautiful and normal for Latinas.

Ana and America Ferrera are the same person: dreamers.

CREDIT: Oscars / YouTube

In a memorable Q&A on the 15 anniversary of the film’s release, Ferrera talks about how the film changed her life:

“I could have never known that at 17, being one of six children to a single Honduran immigrant mother, growing up in the Valley, where months went by where we didn’t have warm running water, or running water at all, or electricity, having this dream of being an actress, coming from where I came from. My own family, my friends, my teachers, people would say to me, ‘That’s very unlikely.’ But I, with the naïveté of a young person, had been told there was nothing I couldn’t do and I believed it.”

All summer that Ana works in her sister’s “sweat shop”, she’s secretly applying to colleges.

The mother-daughter relationship is the most important to Ana, just like us.

CREDIT: HBO

Her mother is always making up maladies to manipulate her family to give her attention. She even wakes Ana up one night to share her secret: she’s pregnant. When Ana tells her she’s imagining things, her mom just averts her eyes and changes the channel, in the most passive aggressive Mexican mother way possible.

But the relationship that changes her is one with white boy Jimmy.

CREDIT: HBO

It literally blossoms while you hear Carmen in the background talking about a telenovela where a boy tells a girl, “he didn’t care what she looked like… that he loves her, that he wants her.” Spoiler: she gets pregnant and while she’s on a bus to Rio to elope, she sticks her head out the window to say bye to her mother…and is decapitated.

Carmen: “Ana, you better listen. That’s what happens to people who don’t listen to their mother.”

For the first time, Ana confides in someone outside her family what it’s like to feel fat and ugly in her mother’s eyes.

CREDIT: HBO

Mamis listen up, because Carmen is pretty brutal, but most of us didn’t grow up with mothers who straight up called us fat (gordita, claro, but it was loving). Studies show that even if your mother tells you up and down how guapa you are, when children witness their own mother’s criticize their own bodies, they learn to do the same. Monkey see, monkey do.

And she lives the life she wants to live.

CREDIT: HBO

She’s not having sex or trying to go to college to spite her mother. Ana is reclaiming her own body and future outside of what her family expects from her.

“Real Women Have Curves” gives us the most tender love scene to date on the big screen.

CREDIT: HBO

This wasn’t a passionate, aggressive sex scene. This was Ana telling Jimmy to turn the lights on first, “I want you to see me. See, this is what I look like.”

“What a beauty.”

CREDIT: HBO

This is the story that we need more of in 2018; one that shows a young woman affirming her consciousness around her sexuality. She’s rejecting the shame that she was raised with and is intentional and thoughtful about accepting, and sharing, exactly who she is.

We never rooted so hard for a teenager to run away.

CREDIT: HBO

Carmen: Why didn’t you value yourself?

Ana: Because there’s more to me than what’s in between my legs!

It takes so much courage and self-awareness to not let that mierda eat you alive. Ana won’t put up with any of it and calls her mother out on her fake pregnancy. The next scene, they’re at the doctor and it’s confirmed: Carmen is going through menopause.

The most iconic scene of the whole film is revolutionary even to this day.

CREDIT: HBO

While back then, seeing any women strip down to their bra and underwear was edgy and scandalous, this wasn’t a sexualizing moment for the women in Estela’s factory. This was pure empowerment and validation. It’s obvious that Ana is in full ownership of her body post-sex and casually takes off her shirt because it’s too hot in the factory.

Carmen starts to shame Ana, “Look at you, you look awful,” when the women rally around her and start complaining and comparing different parts of their bodies they don’t like. In the end, they all laugh about it and decide to just work sin ropa.

Even better, Ana finds her way out of the sweat shop and into Columbia University.

CREDIT: HBO

While college was the answer for Ana, and the hope for those of us who idolized her in this film, the education gap for Latinos and whites has only widened since 2002. Only 22 percent of Latino Americans ages 25 to 64 held a two year college degree or higher in 2016 compared to more than 30 percent of black Americans and half of white adults.

We need to do better to make Ana’s dream a more feasible reality.

We need more real stories of Latinos that mirror our own.

CREDIT: HBO

We’re doing better with shows like One Day at a Time and Jane the Virgin, but telenovela obsession is in our blood.

In the 15 year anniversary interview, America Ferrera shares:

“It is so painful sometimes to think about how little has happened for Latina women in film, or just people of color, since this film, and the way that it was received. But I think what keeps me going and a lot of women and people of color going is, if we don’t break down the doors that we can break down, then we’re not doing justice to the people coming behind us.”

Jennifer Lopez Wants to Play Batman One Day and Here’s What That All Latinx Cast Could Look Like

Entertainment

Jennifer Lopez Wants to Play Batman One Day and Here’s What That All Latinx Cast Could Look Like

jlo / Instagram

Jennifer Lopez has proven over her long career that she can do anything. Whether she’s acting as a musician, actress or businesswoman, she’s shown what talent and dedication can bring to her every role. In fact, JLo is hoping to one day bring that famous work ethic to another unexpected part. 

In a recent sit down for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” interview, JLo talked with the newly cast Batman, Robert Pattinson. During the captivating interview, the two began talking about how they choose the roles that they decide to take on. This brought up the topic of the upcoming “Batman” movie. When Lopez mentioned that she thought Pattison will make an excellent Batman, the actor countered by saying the Latina superstar would be a great Batman as well. To which, Lopez responded, “I could be Batman. Why not? I think as an actor, it would be fun to explore.”

This interaction got us thinking. We would love to see a “Batman” movie led by JLo as the Caped Crusader but an all Latinx cast would be even better. Gotham better get ready because here’s what an all Latinx “Batman” movie could look like. 

Jennifer Lopez as Batman

Instagram / @jlo

What does it take to play Batman? It needs to be an actor who has the athleticism to do justice to the Dark Knight while still having the charisma to play the Bat’s billionaire counterpart. Anyone who’s seen JLo’s on-stage antics knows she’s got the skills to wear the cape and it’s no question that she’s a charismatic individual. To top it off, with movies like “Hustlers” under her belt, JLo has proven that she can lead to big bucks at the box office. As far as we’re concerned, she can play the superhero whenever she likes. 

Diego Boneta as Robin

Instagram / @diego

The actor who plays Robin will need to have boyish good looks, the ability to bring some humor to the script’s dark moments and the same athleticism as Batman. His staring role in “Rock of Ages” more than proved that Diego Boneta’s got the moves and his time on “Pretty Little Liars” and “90210” have cemented him as a heartthrob. Sounds like we’ve got ourselves a Boy Wonder.

Edward James Olmos as Alfred

Instagram / @sterling_gold_

Who better to play JLo’s father-like confidant than the man who first played her dad on the big screen. Edward James Olmos is definitely a legend in his craft and would bring an air of wisdom necessary to play Batman’s trusted butler. He’ll also make sure Batman isn’t leaving the cave in any bustiers. 

Becky G as Batgirl

Instagram / @iambeckyg

With her role as the Yellow Ranger in the big screen adaptation of ‘Power Rangers,” Becky G has already  shown us that she’s got the skills to play a superhero. Her naturally spunky personality would also be perfect to bring the bold and sarcastic Batgirl to life in an all Latinx reboot.

Pedro Pascal as Catwoman

Instagram / @pascalispunk

If we are going to gender bend the role of Batman, we might as well do the same for the Bat’s love interest, Catwoman. His role as Oberyn Martell in “Game of Thrones” showed us what the actor can do with a staff. Just imagine that same skill applied with a whip instead and we’ve got ourselves a dynamite Catwoman. The possibility of seeing Pascal in a catsuit is an added bonus. 

Benicio Del Toro as the Joker

Instagram / @actorzrevolutionz7

Benicio Del Toro has a talent for playing bad guys and, if the bad guys are more than slightly unhinged, it’s all the better. No bad guy is a bigger nemesis to the Caped Crusader than the Joker and we can definitely see Del Toro in this role. Think of his performance as Jack Rafferty in “Sin City” mixed with his time as The Collector in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s the kind of energy he could bring to the Clown Prince of Gotham.

Cardi B as Poison Ivy

Instagram / @iamcardib

Let’s consider Cardi’s 2019 Halloween costume as her unofficial audition for Poison Ivy. A femme fatele that can have any man she wants eating out of the palm of her hand? That sounds like Cardi to us. Plus, the rapper would be rejoining her “Hustlers” costar JLo. Seeing them pole dance together was just the preview to them fighting each other in this all Latinx reboot. 

Oscar Isaac as the Penguin 

Instagram / @oscarisaacdaily

Oscar Isaac is another actor who has a history of taking on strange and thought provoking roles. Though he’s best known now for is time as Poe in “Star Wars,” he’s also played straight-up villians. His performances as Blue Jones in “Sucker Punch” and Nathan Bateman in “Ex Machina” truly show the range he can bring to a complex character such as the Penguin. Added bonus: he looks great in a three-piece suit. 

Here’s What Latinas Have To Say About The Ways In Which They’ve Dealt With Poor Body Image

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Here’s What Latinas Have To Say About The Ways In Which They’ve Dealt With Poor Body Image

Lupita Nyongo / Instagram

A study published by Girls’ Attitudes Survey in 2016, asserts that in the U.S. 40% of girls have poor body confidence. This is a statistic that highlights an endemic problem that extends beyond the United States and stretches across the globe and affects communities on different levels. In fact, recent studies have shown that Latinas in particularly experience complications with body at rates that are comparable to women who are not of color. These statistics say quite a bit how common the universal struggle with body image is and how incredibly silent and dangerous it can be. 

Fortunately, more and more women are speaking out about this issue. This is especially for celebrities in recent years who have been impacted by the toxic culture that have manifested from the exchange of opinions on social media in an extreme way. To highlight the ways in which Latina celebrities are addressing the issue, we scavenged the internet for their most profound comments about their body image issues.

Selena Gomez 

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Puma fam. In my Cali Sport. @pumasportstyle ❤

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“I experienced [body-shaming] with my weight fluctuation for the first time,” Selena said to Raquelle Stevens during a video podcast for an episode of Giving Back Generation. “I have lupus and deal with kidney issues and high blood pressure, so I deal with a lot of health issues, and for me that’s when I really started noticing more of the body-image stuff… It’s the medication I have to take for the rest of my life — it depends on even the month, to be honest. So for me, I really noticed when people started attacking me for that,” she said. “In reality, that’s just my truth. I fluctuate. It depends what’s happening in my life. No one owes anyone else an explanation about their weight, and no one should be shamed or made fun of because of their body. Still, Selena said the critics “really messed [her] up for a bit,” and made her rethink how much of her life she puts online. I’m very happy with living my life and being present. Because that’s it. Similar to me posting a photo and walking away. For me that’s it. I will do a red carpet, I will do whatever. I don’t need to see it. I participated. I felt wonderful and that’s where the extent of it is,” she said. “I don’t care to expose myself to everyone and hear what they have to say about it.”

Lupita Nyongo 

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Nature

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Speaking about embracing the color of her skin told The Hollywood Reporter recently that “There is a part of me that will always feel unattractive. That’s OK, because it will keep me grounded. I don’t need to be so full of myself that I feel I am without flaw. I can feel beautiful and imperfect at the same time. I have a healthy relationship with my aesthetic insecurities.”

America Ferrera

There’s no denying that America Ferrera, the actress who first caught our attention for her role in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” has played a huge part in the body acceptance movement. Speaking to Health Ferrera said “I’m just now starting to feel like I want to feel strong in my body again. I didn’t work out as much as I imagined I would during my pregnancy. I was in triathlon shape when I got pregnant. I had so much on my plate and something had to give.”

She later explained in the interview that more important than what she looks like, she wants to monitor how food makes her feel. “I just try to be aware of how does what I eat make me feel,” she told the magazine. “Do I feel better? Do I feel energized? Does this make me tired and not feel great? I try to go easy on myself…which is a challenge because, like so many women, I demand so much more of myself than I would ever demand of someone else.”

Amara La Negra  

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It’s Now or NEVER!

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“I used to hate my big thighs, my fat ass, my cellulite, my hips!” La Negra told the Miami Herald. “I was bulimic for three years and hospitalized twice. I always wanted to be skinny and tall like the Victoria’s Secret models. It took me a long time to accept that this is my body!”

Jennifer Lopez 

“It’s hard to avoid comparing yourself to others, and I’ve definitely been guilty of it myself,” Lopez told HELLO!. “I remember thinking I wasn’t thin enough because I had curves. But I’ve learned that being healthy and feeling great aren’t about having one specific body type; it’s a completely individual thing.”

“It’s hard to avoid comparing yourself to others, and I’ve definitely been guilty of it myself,” Lopez told HELLO!. “I remember thinking I wasn’t thin enough because I had curves. But I’ve learned that being healthy and feeling great aren’t about having one specific body type; it’s a completely individual thing.””It’s hard to avoid comparing yourself to others, and I’ve definitely been guilty of it myself,” Lopez told HELLO!. “I remember thinking I wasn’t thin enough because I had curves. But I’ve learned that being healthy and feeling great aren’t about having one specific body type; it’s a completely individual thing.”