Entertainment

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

HBO

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.”

The Internet Is Thirsting For Maluma And J.Lo As A Couple Following News They’ll Star In A New Movie Together

Entertainment

The Internet Is Thirsting For Maluma And J.Lo As A Couple Following News They’ll Star In A New Movie Together

maluma / JLo / Instagram

It looks like Maluma is ready to add actor to his resume. The “Felices Los 4” singer has just been confirmed to play Jennifer Lopez’s cheating husband in the new film, Marry Me.

And the Internet let out a collective..uffff.

It’s confirmed that Maluma and Jennifer Lopez, two giant Latino icons, will play alongside each other in a new movie.

Credit: @viralrosariook / Twitter

Translation: Maluma is on his way to the big screen. He’ll play a Rockstar in “Marry Me” and Jennifer Lopez will be his wife. And there will be a third played by Owen Wilson will be a math teacher.

They’ll be playing an engaged couple in the new film, Marry Me.

Credit: @Glucmx / Twitter

The plotline sounds like it has hints of Selena, Lopez’s breakthrough, plus 2018’s A Star Is Born—which recently found another pop star (Lady Gaga) playing a…pop star. And considering Lopez just recovered from an epic power outage at Madison Square Garden in real life, she’s bound to take this role on as a natural.

But since he cheats on her and J.Lo marries someone else…we can’t help but wonder how big Maluma’s part will be.

Credit: @clubcritica / Twitter

In it, a pop star (here, played by Lopez) gears up to take the stage and marry her famous fiancé (Maluma) at New York City’s Madison Square Garden—only to find the man being unfaithful with her assistant. As the official description for the movie states, she then proceeds to have a meltdown on stage…and then picks a random guy from the audience (Owen Wilson) to say “I do” to instead.

Some on Twitter were giving a shout out to J Lo for helping get more Latinos on the big screen.

Credit: @JustJared / Twitter

Films, especially big Hollywood films need wayyyy more Latino representation and including a Colombian singer in the mix is a great move on behalf of STX Studios.

After his record with Madonna and collaboration with J Balvin, among others, Maluma is quickly becoming a household name and this role with J Lo will only help propel him to even more success.

While others were just happy (read: thirsty) to see Maluma up there on a big giant screen.

Credit: @JustJared / Twitter

Maluma already gives his fans plenty to see on his Instagram but imagine all of that man up on the big screen?! Yea, we are too.

READ: Here Are 25 Maluma Thirst Posts That We Definitely Double Tapped

Selena Gomez Is Fighting To Make Sure That Everyone Can Speak Openly And Honestly About Getting Help For Their Mental Health

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Is Fighting To Make Sure That Everyone Can Speak Openly And Honestly About Getting Help For Their Mental Health

selenagomez / Instagram

Selena Marie Gomez (born in Texas in 1992) has been in the public eye for as long as she can remember. She has been a role model for young girls as a singer and an actress and now is involved in more risqué films such as Spring Breakers, a delirious film by indie filmmaker Harmony Korine. Besides having a strong onscreen persona, Gomez has been in relationships with the likes of Justin Bieber, which of course turned the paparazzi attention and cameras to her. Suddenly, when she was barely a teenager her every move was being followed. Her life was sort of predestined to be great when she was named after the great late Selena Quintanilla. However, she has had to deal with divorce (her parents separated when she was five-years-old) and with weak health, as she was diagnosed with lupus, an auto-immune disease, which ultimately forced her to get a kidney transplant. She found strength in her mom. Gomez has said that her mother “was really strong around me. Having me at 16 had to have been a big responsibility. She gave up everything for me, had three jobs, supported me, sacrificed her life for me.” That must provide so much strength for a woman of barely 26 but who has gone through more in her lifetime than many 50-year-olds.

This must not be easy for anyone, even more so for a Latino woman. Gomez knows that she has a microphone and that she can get to other girls and women. “The older I get, the prouder I am to be a woman in the industry. When I was younger and running around all the time on tour, I don’t think I took the time to notice how being a woman in my position is really a gift. I want to make sure I utilize all that power,” the young Latina star told Into the GlossShe has used this position of privilege to raise awareness on mental health issues, including suicide prevention, both as a celebrity and as a producer. She is also a supporter of associations such as Make A Wish (which grants children diagnosed with life-threatening conditions), the Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. 

Selena Gomez fights for friendships above anything else: girl power.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Gomez values friendship and spreads the word. She has such loyal friends that one even donated a kidney when Gomez needed a transplant. She says: “People are put into your life for seasons, for different reasons, and to teach you lessons”: Selena, we couldn’t agree more.

She gets politically enraged when it matters.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Gomez knows that a lot of mental health issues concerning young women are related to the policing of their sexuality and reproductive rights. She gets political when she feels the need to, particularly with issues concerning the mental health and general wellbeing of young women like herself. 

She asks her fans to be strong, but to also look for help when needed.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Her advice: “I’ve learned there’s power deep down inside yourself, and you can find it when you don’t give up on yourself and when you ask for help.” This is so real it hurts: even someone like her, who in the eyes of her fans might seem to have it all, needs to be humble and honest in reaching out to others when the world seems bleak. There is always someone who cares if you are OK. 

She stands up for migrants.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Gomez doesn’t get political often, but when she does she always stands up for the minority communities. She has been a vocal advocate for migrant rights and the rights of women. She even wore a 1973 necklace as one of very few Latina celebs speaking up for abortion rights.

She even takes a stand from DACA recipients and Dreamers.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

She has used her social media accounts, which have followers in the millions, to call her fans to action. She is clearly showing the world that she does care and she is paying attention. 

She delivers a message of self-acceptance, which led her to produce 13 Reasons Why.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Gomez’s mother, Amanda, had her when she was just 16, and then raised her by herself. She was also the one that gave Gomez the book on which the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why is based. The show was controversial because it spoke about mental health issues and suicide, topics that are fundamental to discuss with young vulnerable populations but that remain a taboo. However, Gomez’s message is optimistic. She has said: “I promise you that each and every one of you is made to be who you are and that’s what’s so attractive and beautiful.” Preach! 

13 Reasons Why put mental health issues at the forefront of public media debate.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

“I get it all day, every day, that I’m not sexy enough, or I’m not cool enough, or if I did this I would be accepted… I promise you that each and every one of you is made to be who you are and that’s what’s so attractive and beautiful. Please don’t forget that, even when it gets hard,” she said in an interview for the Huffington PostAnd this is exactly the message that she conveys in her project. Taking on Jay Asher’s literary world, she and the series creative team were able to show mental health and suicide from all possible angles. 

She takes fame with a grain of salt.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

She has been famous for a big portion of her life, but she knows that todo es pasajero, and that at the end who you are does not depend merely on adulation: “You are not defined by an Instagram photo, by a ‘Like,’ by a comment. That does not define you.”

Body positivity is her mantra.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

“I feel very empowered and confident and comfortable with where I am. And I think it took me a long time to get there because, you know, the past year was so interesting because I’ve never been body-shamed before… I did gain weight, but I don’t care,” she said at On Air with Ryan SeacrestThis is a great, positive message for someone who is followed by millions of young women throughout the world, particularly in a day and age when standards of beauty are twisted and self-love is hard to achieve. 

She is an active advocate of girl power.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Perhaps following the example of her mother, who basically raised her alone while holding down as many jobs as necessary to make ends meet, Gomez says: “I don’t want to become little or hurt or a victim. I want to be strong for girls…I just want them to know that there is an option of standing up for yourself.” Additionally, she was named a United Nations Ambassador in 2009, and in this role, she has worked particularly in empowering vulnerable children by helping provide clean water, education, and medical services. 

You learn from your mistakes.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Perhaps most importantly, she knows that many see her as a role model and that this brings a huge deal of responsibility. “I’m human, I’m not perfect. I make mistakes all the time, but I guess my job is to keep those mistakes to myself, which I’m already fine doing and just try to be the best I can be for those kids,” she told E! Online.

READ: “13 Reasons Why” Does Much More Than Glorify Suicide, Selena Gomez Explained

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