Social media can be a Gemini-like platform like no other. While all at once managing to tear us down, its the same platform that can lift us up and teach us how to love ourselves.
Still, one of the worst offenses social media has created has been perpetuating a false idea that all women look, or rather should look one way. But this is an idea that most of us know can’t be farther from the truth: each individual’s body is different, and our curves are shaped by genetics, habits, life experience and the inevitable passing of time. And all of are beautiful. There is nothing more empowering than a woman that knows who she is, who wears her wrinkles as a trophy and a sign of a life well lived.
Yet, we know, there is this expectation that we all should look like 20-something supermodels. But like America Ferrara discovered in one of her early roles, real women have curves! Yes, small, big, uneven curves. Luckily, along with the judgmental influencers who populate Instagram and other platforms, there is an increasing number of women who have joined the body positivity movement. Body positivity is loving oneself as the first and most important step towards acceptance and change. Body positivity doesn’t mean that you have to be complacent if you have health issues or you could improve your daily habits: it is about acknowledging who you are, knowing your body and therefore knowing what it needs. It is also about being sexy in our own skin, knowing that sensuality does not derive from stupid ideas around acceptable and unacceptable body types, but around attitude.
Here are some Latina women who have embraced the body positivity philosophy and have decided to share the wisdom.
Read, reflect and smile.
This queen who silenced haters and called for bravery
Credit: Instagram. @slendertanes
Enough is enough! Basta! We have lived long enough trying, or being forced to satisfy an unreal, and frankly stupid ideal, of what the female body should look like. To them, we say: calladito te ves más bonito. In short: shut up and don’t project your insecurities on our gorgeous curves.
This lady who showed us that our bodies can be beautiful landscapes
Credit: Instagram. @sus_y_drlecter
The caption for this amazing black and white caption is empowering and honest. “I want to steer away from what is beautiful and be myself. I am what I am without worrying about how others see me. This makes me very happy”. And we are happy with you, reina hermosa.
This mami that teaches her kid the value of self-love
Credit: Instagram. @kikilawyer10 via @goodbyeflaca
This Panamanian queen is showing her little boy the real value of appreciating and loving one’s body. We can’t stress this enough: we have to talk to our chiquitos about what their wonderful bodies are capable of, how to take care of them and how to face the unavoidable doubts that all of them will face during their teenage years (or even before then, as some studies have shown recently).
This superstar that strikes a pose and tells the world: “I am sure you like what you are seeing”
Credit: Instagram. @camychocolate
Her gaze just hypnotizes us. This is a woman who is sure of herself, that wears her curves with pride and who faces the world con una actitud chingona
This super flexible mujer de primera
Credit: Instagram. @transforma_coach
This woman knows that every body type can get fit, and fitness not always means estar flaca como un palo. The message is clear: “Self-love is important in the process of bettering our relationship with our eating habits”. If you love yourself, you will kick ass, hermana, plain and simple.
This future mom who slays pregnancy
Credit: Instagram. @neniyah
Pregnancy is one of the most transformative life events a woman can go through, not only emotionally but also physically. This post sends us a really clear message: cellulite is nothing, especially when a life is growing inside you. Awwwww. Ternura por todos lados.
This body positivity advocate who has a message for all of us: be proud of your scars
Credit: Instagram. @thebigbad.co
If you don’t already, you should follow this body positivity advocate who takes the best photoshoots and delivers empowering messages. La moraleja de hoy: let your scars be part of you, don’t hide them, they tell the story of who you are and where you’ve been.
This muchacha who found inspiration in Dumplin’
Credit: Instagram. @flo.madera
Among their original productions, Netflix really le dio al clavo with Dumpling, a movie about body positivity in the world of beauty pageants. We love this quote from the movie, user Flo Madera made it her own. Yes, queen!
This amazing battle cry
Credit: Instagram. @nutricion_001
We love this illustration by @deditodesalchicha. It says: “No one should be at war with their own body”. Need we say more? If you have been at war with your cuerpecito, just stop, it makes no good.
This woman who celebrated her dignified muffin tops!
Credit: Instagram. @ara_mcallister
This photo tells the story of this woman, who met an old lady that told her she was very skinny when she was 7-years-old and commented on how “fat” she is now. Her F-U is well deserved.
This Dominicana who reminded us our bodies are amazing and do wonderful things
Credit: Instagram. @liztaveras_oficial
We often forget that by simply keeping us alive out bodies are already doing wonderful things. Come to think about it, our bodies are well-oiled machines that put thousands of chemical processes in motion and keep a balance that makes us who we are. That is nothing short of miraculous. “Love your body not because of how you look, but because what it is capable of doing”, is this wonderful woman’s motto.
And she serves us some more body positivity wisdom!
Credit: Instagram. @liztaveras_oficial
She says: “Do not change so you can fit fashion, make fashion fit YOU”. Easier said than done, but we promise we will try, querida.
This awesome young woman who decided to give the finger to society. Good on her!
Credit: Instagram. @dian_261
Body positivity sometimes comes with a bit of rage. After all, it is society’s unspoken rules that lead women (as well as men and non-binary individuals) to feel inadequate in their own skin. This woman’s declaration of independence is awesome: “I started feeling free when I realized that I would never fit the cookie cutter mold that society had reserved for me”. En otras palabras, everyone please mind your own business.
This woman who acknowledges that the body changes and we need to feel at home in it
Credit: Instagram. @alejandrared
Alejandra knows, like many of us, that bodily changes can be terrifying. She takes this at face value and then gives us a pearl of wisdom: bodies change because they want to protect us. We need to be grateful, love our bodies like a comforting, cozy home
And this beautiful illustration by @Pattysupercool
Credit: Instagram. @divinamujer_catalinapaz
We just want to shed a happy tear looking at this cute illustration. The motto: “You look so gorgeous since you love yourself”. And that is what body positivity is all about, amarte siempre y sin pretextos.
In 2017, a Pew Research Center study revealed that while there has neen an increase in the numberof Latino Spanish speakers at home, the overall number of Latinos who speak Spanish has declined significantly in the past decade. Ultimately, the finding revealed that while the Latino population continues to grow significantly a smaller percentage of Latinos actually speak Spanish.
For many of us, particularly those of us Latinos who don’t speak Spanish, these findings cause us to carry quite a bit of guilt. After all growing up, many of us were told that understanding the language of our abuelos and padres was vital.
For Latinos that have heard the words “¿No habla español?” and felt terrible, the blow Reddit conversation is for you.
“First of all: You’re not any less Latina for not knowing Spanish. There are plenty of Asian-Americans who don’t know their parents language, European-Americans and so on. It’s your culture and your identity and no one can tell you what you are and what you aren’t based on not knowing a certain language.
Secondly, as others have said, you’re in an excellent spot if you want to learn Spanish since you have so many native speakers at your disposal. I’d say use the resources from this sub to self teach yourself, and when you get to a certain level, tell your friends and family what you want to achieve and see how they respond. I’m sure most of them would love to practice with you and help you learn, and worst case scenario if they don’t want to, you can keep self teaching and just respond to them in Spanish at times anyway. I’ve lived abroad for a bit and will-power is a main component of language learning: when people try to speak English to me I don’t fall to the pressure and reply the best I can in Spanish. Not exactly a direct equivalent, but my advice. Buena suerte con su aprendizaje.” – Maxmutinium
“I have a buddy who is half Mexican. He even got a scholarship for it. He can’t even speak to his own grandmother because he doesn’t speak Spanish and she doesn’t speak English.” –MyParentsAre_Cousins
“Does anyone else who is Latinx and does not know Spanish feel this way?
Yeah. Oh yeah. Bilingual parents but it was always English in the home and even with high school and college classes I never quote got it. I’ve been told to my face that I’m not a real Puerto Rican because of it. I am very much one, but I feel very distanced from my own people because of it, from the language barrier, to the exclusion, to the culture difference with not being around Spanish speakers, to being bitter about the whole thing.
Are you trying to learn? If so, what’s working best for you to learn it?
Yes, but I don’t tell people because they’ll start saying stuff I don’t understand or make a fuss over it. I prefer learning on my own terms. Duolingo has been my choice and it’s helped a lot. I feel like I’m starting to be able to think in Spanish which from what I know is a big step towards fluency.” –jclocks
“I’m in the same boat in a lot of ways. My parents didn’t speak much Spanish to me as a child and I only learned a sprinkling of words. In high school I hated spanish class because it made me feel inadequate. At family events I felt like an outsider when people switched to Spanish. I also was really frustrated when people asked me why I didn’t speak it since the assumption was that I had somehow chosen not to learn.
Two years ago I decided to commit to learning it. I went to Ecuador and spent 6 weeks taking one-on-one classes and living with a host family. Afterwards I could have broken conversations, but more importantly I was able to get past my fear of speaking in front of other Latinos. I don’t have the opportunity to do another immersion trip again in the near future, so this year I decided to really invest serious time into learning on my own. I do 5 hours of conversation a week with iTalki; I listen to Glossika on my commute to and from work; I do Anki flashcards every morning and I read Spanish articles using LingQ. I shoot for 2 hours minimum of active practice a day and I supplement that with listening to music in Spanish and Spanish podcasts. Even when I watch stuff in English on Netflix I put on Spanish subtitles to gain a little more exposure.
It’s working. I don’t consider myself fluent yet, but that’s only because my goals have become more ambitious (I want to have native-like proficiency). I’ve put about 500-600 hours worth of study in since I started and I can have conversations and listen to Ted Talks in Spanish. It feels great and I’ve learned a lot about my culture and other Latin cultures as a result.
If you’re willing to put the time in (many experts think it takes more than a 1,000 hours to hit a very high level of proficiency) you can do it too. But you really have to create clear goals and habits built around your learning. Last year I was stagnant and it’s because I didn’t have goals and habits to really develop my fluency. And while an immersion trip with classes can really jumpstart the learning process you don’t need it to become fluent so long as you plug in hour after hour into active exposure and study. Also, if you had exposure to spanish as a baby, you probably have an advantage. There’s studies linking exposure to a language in the early months to a lifelong capacity to make out the sounds of that language better than people who weren’t exposed to it as children. That really helps when it comes to listening and to developing an accent. A lot of my tutors tell me I don’t have the gringo accent, which is also really encouraging.” –eatmoreicecream
“I feel like shit that I grew up with Puerto Rican family, and Spanish speaking ALL around me and still don’t speak it at 28. I also had bilingual childhood friends. The environment was PERFECT for me to grow up fluent in two languages.
Yet here I am close to 30 and I can’t speak shit. I keep telling myself I want to learn but now I feel bummed out that I’m aging past being able to sound “native” anymore.
Double this is my father was disappointed I didn’t know not too long before he died and I feel like all the people who assume I’m fluent in Spanish when they approach is him nudging me on and still nagging for me to learn lol. There’s a definite guilt and “I’m ignoring an entire part of my awesome upbringing” thing going on.
Edit: Missed too many words in the first one that made it sound like I felt like shit about growing up in the environment instead of about not learning Spanish lol. Edit edit: One of my worst regrets is from elementary school, where a teacher asked us what a really simple word in Spanish meant. I knew it of course, but I stayed quiet for whatever dumb reason. Pretty sure that was to test the potential to learn before teaching us the language another missed opportunity to plant the seeds in my young mind. HINDSIGHT IS 20/20 DAMNIT.” –IniMiney
“Forget about sounding native, that’s only something that’s in your mind. You’re never too old to learn a language! I picked up Russian two years ago almost and I’m 35!”- Effervescent_513
“Don’t feel bad, it’s not true that you’ll need sound native. You have to dedicate yourself to training your ear to hearing exactly the sounds, and teaching your speech organ to produce some the new sounds. I really recommend Mimic Method for this. I’ve not even finished the Spanish course and I was confusing Spanish Speakers on holiday because whilst I looked and was foreign what little I knew was pronounced well (sorry, I am widening my doorframes.” –Brutussaid
“I’ve been called white washed and Gabacha (sp?) Because I don’t speak Spanish but have been surrounded by it my whole life. I even married and had a kid with a Latino, and his whole family speaks Spanish too! The only ones in my family that don’t know are me, my brother and sister. It’s so hard. I know a little, but not enough to hold a casual conversation. Everyone is too fast. Plus we’re friends with a lot of Salvadorians and that’s even harder to understand! There’s no way my kid is going to grow up without knowing 2 languages at least. I feel so alienated, some of my in laws’ friends think I’m either quiet or mean because I can’t even understand half of what they’re saying. I have to have someone actively translate for me just to be included in everything.” –MoistCreamPuffs
“I 100% relate to you. I hope to one day marry a Latino that knows Spanish so that way my kid will grow up with learning the language and maybe my future husband can help me too. I too feel alienated when I’m constantly surrounded by Spanish speakers and I barely understand what they’re saying, but with that being said I think both you and I have a great advantage to learn the language because we know so many Spanish speakers. With the help of redditor’s advice, I’m more than confident that it isn’t too late for us to learn! We got this girl!” –lrvxoxo
“Being Latina and not knowing spanish is one of the worst things ever… like I literally feel like a disgrace to my heritage.
Spanish is the language of the conquistadors. It is not the languages of the natives in most of the lands that the language dominates.
Try not to be too hard on yourself.
It will take time, but you can learn. It’s never too late to start! There are many, many free and low cost resources. ¡Buena suerte!” –confusedchild02
“Spanish is the language of the conquistadors. It is not the languages of the natives in most of the lands that the language dominates.
The “conquistadors” are our ancestors too! It depends on the location too but Latin America unlike other parts of the world is a mixture from Spanish and the indigenous population in a bigger or smaller proportion. In other words it’s not like Spanish is a foreign language like French is in Africa and English is in India, it’s part of our culture as well and if you don’t speak it you do miss out a huge part of the culture.” –ffuentes
“Being Latina means she could be either 100% or 0% descended from indigenous people.
Though it’s irrelevant because the vast majority of modern Latin Americans have been speaking Spanish (or Portuguese) for generations, and very few identify with anything other than their nationality.” –Enmerkahr
“My ex was Mexican but didn’t speak Spanish. I studied it in school as a second language. He was no where near as good as me, but he had a really good foundation that I didn’t.
Something I struggle with as a non native speaker is that there are just so many words. If you remain consistent and study vocabulary, you’ll know a lot. But there are just so many things you don’t know because you have no reason to know.
Native speakers don’t really have that disadvantage. They’ve heard just about everything at some point even if they can’t recall it off of the top of their heads.
I’m willing to bet that if you started studying in a classroom setting, you’d be fluent in no time.” –TheMeanGirl
“You situation is favorable over mine as a white guy, I know very few native Spanish speakers, much less that are willing to help me practice on a regular basis. Yo que tu, I would ask my parents to converse with me in Spanish as much as possible and you’ll learn super fast that way.” –TesticlesMcTitties
“I’ve told my parents to help me learn that way in the past & my parents will speak to me in Spanish for like an hour and then stop till the next time I ask, so it’s annoying constantly reminding them to talk to me in Spanish. But I’ll definitely push for it more because I’m sure if they were consistent, I would probably learn super fast as you said.” –lrvxoxo
“Even if you are not fluent, based on your surroundings can you pick up phrases? You might have heard many phrases and understand it but not explain it like a teacher. If this is the case, think of it like filling in the gaps. Never too late to learn.” –MisterE2k14
“I think phrases are the easiest to learn and I think that’s what I know most of, but then again like I said what I do know is very minimal. Thank you for the tip about filling in the gaps, I appreciate it!”- lrvxoxo
“I speak Spanish but not the languages of my grandparents and great-grandparents. I also always thought I was terrible as languages as a kid. Don’t sweat it! There are loads of resources you can download, perhaps more than for many other language. Also you have the advantage that people outside of your family you meet will presume you speak it, so just act like you do – I did. You definitely shouldn’t take this to heart or feel bad about it, but it can definitely act as a motivation. Learn a few stock phrases and just nod, search out group conversations where you don’t need to talk much, watch films and listen to music or podcasts about topics that interest you. Don’t stress about not catching everything; even if you’re a native speaker, you won’t get everything. If there are folks in your city (or extended family, friends) that are native Spanish speakers and struggling, try to spend time teaching them English. Also try to find native English learners of Spanish – you’ll be less nervous speaking to them. Things like Memrise, Lingvist, Clozemaster, Babadum are all great because they’re more active, since sometimes it’s difficult to pick stuff up if you’re only learning stuff passively.” –metalaffect
“In the same exact spot as you. Everyone in my entire extended family knows Spanish except for me and my brothers. It’s easily the thing I hate most about myself. And I feel like I barely have a close connection to most of my family because they have to communicate with me in their non native language and it’s hard to become close that way.
Once I finish my schooling which will actually be in a couple weeks, I plan to go hardcore with my Spanish learning. I have native speakers right at home in my parents so I hope that the process can go relatively smoothly and quickly.” –MrProfessor
“I’m Latino. My aunts, uncles all speak Spanish. My grandparents spoke Spanish. My mom spoke Spanish. But not me. I only knew a little bit from growing up around it but over the past year and a half I finally buckled down and started learning for real. I’m 46. I’m very proud of being Latino. My goal of learning Spanish has more to do with just being more open to non-US culture as well as just wanting to be able to converse in a language my family knows so well.
Oh, and of course I was called a ‘coconut’ by other Latino kids growing up – brown on the outside, white on the inside. But, hey, being Latino makes you thick skinned anyway, so I’m not worried about that. I’m not going to stop with Spanish.
I now fall into the category of ‘I can read it really well, but only pick up about 50% of what is spoken’. I don’t think I’m any less Latino because I never learned Spanish before, I do wish I’d learned before my grandmother passed. She did not speak much English and was fiercely proud of being Latina.
What worked for me was basically immersion, Duolingo, YouTube and Pimsluer, and not thinking I could learn in a month. You didn’t learn English in a month, and additionally, you learned by hearing first, which is kind of the opposite of how people try to learn a second language. You will almost immediately remember words or phrases that Spanish speaking people tell you/correct you on, but it’s a lot harder to just learn words and phrases on your own.
For me, I also discovered that working daily, often really devoting time to it, is best reinforced by not working as hard for a bit. It seems like my brain catches up – suddenly I’ll go back and watch a show on Univision or read a Spanish article and it’s like I can magically read far more than I could before.
Next step for me is a tutor. I’m at the point where I can speak broken Spanish, probably better than my grandmother spoke English. But I, like most people, want fluency.” –silverbax
There is still so much that we do not know about Covid-19. One of the biggest mysteries is the long term effect of the virus after people recover. One of the most common things caused by Covid is the need for lung transplants. A Latina leader in Milwaukee experienced just that.
Carmen Lerma is a beloved member of the Latino community of Milwaukee.
Lerma was diagnosed with Covid-19 in July. At the time, cases were growing across the country and we knew even less about the virus than we know now. Lerma’s Covid diagnosis led to the beloved community member needing a double lung transplant because of the viciousness of this virus.
“She is very kind. She is very loved,” fellow volunteer and friend Carmen Hernandez said of Lerma to NBC News. “I feel so bad for her situation right now. She can’t even breathe. It’s really hard for me to see her going through this when she’s such an active person.”
Months after her diagnosis, Lerma has a new pair of lungs.
The Covid-19 pandemic is entering a new and terrifying chapter as cases are growing around the world. Countries in Europe are implementing new restrictions to control the spread of Covid and certain states are follow suit to protect residents. Lerma is hoping that her story can help to convince people of the severity of the virus.
Lerma’s story highlights the seriousness of Covid-19 complications after surviving a diagnosis.
Lung transplants for Covid-19 patients are becoming more and more common as more people are infected with the virus. Currently, more than 8 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Covid. More than 220,000 people have died and cases, which never significantly decreased, are on the rise again in most states.
Lerma is using her story to get people to care about Covid-19.
There has been a lot of misinformation spread about Covid that has contributed to the spikes. President Donald Trump used his own diagnosis to tell people not to worry about the virus and to get out there and live life, something health experts around the world rebuked. Even Harvard University released a study debunking the claim that certain blood types are more resistant or prone to Covid-19.
In one of the most American traditions, friends set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of Lerma’s medical care.
The GoFundMe page has raised more than $30,000 of the $100,000 they are hoping to raise to pay for Lerma’s medical costs. She spent months in hospitals fighting the virus that is currently devastating Wisconsin as it spreads unimpeded. Wisconsin is facing one of the worst outbreaks in the U.S. right now after a conservative judge declared Gov. Tony Evers’ restrictions to slow the spread. The state’s Republican Party is suing to reverse the mask mandate, the single strongest tool we have to battle the virus and save lives.