identities

Every Hairy Latina Can Relate To These 7 Stages Of Grief

Courtesy of Danielli Marzouca

Okay, so I wish this body positivity movement happened when I was 10 years old and was the first person (girls and boys) to start growing leg hair in the 3rd grade. I was one of the only Latinas in my religious school and girls were forced to wear skorts. We all remember el horror when your little body started getting hairy.

I present to you my story told by the collective consciousness of Latinas on the internet because there is nothing wrong with being a #HairyLatina.

Hey everyone, this is me today.

I’m half Puerto Rican and half Palestinian, which makes me an especially hairy human. Growing up, it was something I was always bullied for. It didn’t help that I was also the tallest person (boys and girls) in my grade (hint: Sasquatch is what the bullies called me).

Hair is something I have probably spent weeks of my life trying to hide (read: Nair, shaving, laser hair removal, waxing, threading, etc.) and years obsessing over. In South Florida, wearing long sleeves to cover your hairy arms just caused it’s own embarrassing, sweaty problems.

One thing we know for sure is that being native Latinx means we are hairy people.

CREDIT: @anaphant23_ / Twitter

If you grew up somewhere without a strong Latino presence, like I did when my family moved from Miami to Boca Raton (culture shock, af), you might not have known that it was a Latino thing. I know I felt like a total outcast.

For some reason, my retired model of a Puerto Rican mother does not grow hair on her body. In the midst of my hair obsession, I asked my mom when the last time she shaved her legs were. Her response: “Hmm, no sé, maybe 3 or 4 months ago.” Like I was literally the hairiest person in my own little family.

But once I found out that my “hairiness” connected me to my people, I started to feel proud.

CREDIT: @floresimbioticas / Twitter

Who says we’re the ones who are hairy and that other people aren’t just bald? The reason we’re hairy is because American beauty standards center around white, thin, hairless, blonde beauty.

My mom is just an enigma. I’m not jealous at all. I mean, I was seething as a young adult, but being hairy has given me an opportunity to love myself and my body without permission from both white and Latino culture. We probably support the entire hair removal industry.

The truth is, I was never alone in the world of hair.

CREDIT: @408araceli / Twitter

It’s our beauty mark, and while it’s not something that my mother always told me to be proud of, it’s something I will tell my kids. For the first few years of the bullying, I resented that my mom would try to comfort me but couldn’t relate at all. Her solution was the same as mine: get rid of the evidence.

By the time I was 15, I was getting my upper lip and bikini line laser hair removed. This was laser hair removal over ten years ago so it hurt like a mother.

And it didn’t help that mámi didn’t let you shave.

CREDIT: Sandra Mendez / Buzzfeed

Meanwhile, my own mother is somehow the same bald Puerto Rican beauty queen model she’s been since she was my age. Oh, and she weighed 20 pounds less and her nickname was Double D’s. You know…whatever.

Still, mi mamí was against shaving until I was at least 13 years old. It’s like Nair was the safety scissors of Latina grooming. As a good, stereotypical, vegan, composting, liberal lesbian, now I’m horrified that I intentionally smeared chemicals onto my skin that are so intense, they burn hair off. (!!!)

If you have brothers, you definitely had live-in bullies.

CREDIT: @IVIeghan / Twitter

My little brother was the worst. He sucked A$$. Gio, if you’re reading this now, this is your public retribution. My little, sweet brother was straight up always asking me if I was turning into a man what “y’know, because you’re growing a mustache to match your hairy arms.” Sometimes they were gorilla arms, but most of the time, I was Sasquatch at school and at home.

My dad and other brother would laugh and my mom would try so hard not to laugh, but it was pretty obvious. I’m traumatized.

And you f*cking hated it when your white friends would tell you they have the same amount of hair as you.

CREDIT: @jigganutttsssss / Twitter

“Pero like, your hair is literally invisible and glitters in the sun and my hair is as dark as outer space.” There is no comparison or reliability there at all. Nobody picks on the blonde girl for her arm hair. That’s fake news.

By the time I was 15, I had brunette friends that were bleaching their own arm hair every month. Since my mom wouldn’t let me do that, I was wearing long sleeves… to cross country practice… in August in SoFla.

To be clear, if you shave your arms and body hair, I have no judgement or problem with you.

CREDIT: @kalinawatsonroberts / Twitter

I say, do whatever makes you feel good in your body. For a time, I shaved from the bottoms of my eyebrows down to the floor, but, for me, it wasn’t worth it. I have friends who do that and feel like a glamorous queen and I love it.

Whenever my happy trail or arm hair or even back hair (I was being so extra), started to grow in all prickly, I would actively hate myself and my body. That’s just my experience.

Obsessing over my body hair made it harder for me to love myself.

CREDIT: @elisexmia_ / Twitter

I would come up for air and have a moment of, “F*ck the patriarchy, I love myself and my big hips, and hairy ass body,” and then someone would call me Sasquatch. 🙄 Now it seems so below my radar, but during puberty, that would strike me deep.

We all feel awkward enough in our bodies, can we please stop commenting on each others?

In a way, learning to become resilient about people’s commentary on my body, forced me to give myself a degree of separation from what they say and how I feel about myself.

Maybe it’s maturity, or maybe it’s the #BoPo movement, but today, I see beauty in body hair.

CREDIT: @nono.rueda_ / Twitter

More than that, I see beauty in learning to unlearn the self-oppressive messages I saw through the ’90s and ’00s. I need to know if Jennifer Lopez is the same breed of Puerto Rican beauty queen as my mom and is naturally hairless.

We grew up with the few models of Latina beauty as totally hairless. Thankfully, full eyebrows and full hips are mainstream and we’re living our best lives up here. I’m also getting to see some of my own fearless friends get less serious and more playful around body hair.

The truth is that Latina body hair has superpowers like no other. This is Harry Potter sh*t.

CREDIT: @analsmasher420 / Twitter

I used to have a schedule: shave my legs every other day; armpits, upper lip and toes everyday; arms and happy trail once a week. Like that was ever enough. I was like a walking cactus, all prickly and conscious about someone touching me and noticing.

Thank DIOS for Twitter because never before have I felt so validated by the Internet. I hope my experience helps validate your own. You’re not a weirdo or an outcast for having body hair. You’re a badass Latina.

But that eyebrow arch is a universally accepted perk.

CREDIT: @melyyy_ms / Twitter

I *think* I have a unibrow, but I haven’t seen my natural brows since I was like 13 years old and let my best friend basically tweeze me into Cruella de Vil. My mom was *horrified* that my eyebrows were basically gone. In that moment, she told me that “my eyebrows frame the soul.” Y’know, since eyes are windows to the soul.

We’ve always been proud of our eyebrows from the moment we learned we could tweeze away the strays. We’ve got shape, baby.

And I get it–my blonde hippie friends have pressured me in the past to stop shaving and I hated it.

CREDIT: @tatianagonxalez / Twitter

Your natural blonde hair may make you look like an admirable, carefree goddess and be applauded in our society, but I resent any light hair Becky telling me how to experience my body.

I don’t resent Becky for going natural—I totally celebrate you and love that you think your little blonde armpit hair is cute. I resent Becky for pressuring me into living more “care-free.” It definitely takes a lot more confidence and my own lesson of self-love to walk around in the world with proud, thick black Latina leg and arm hair than it does for Becky to go natural.

But every single summer, me and my cousin would compete to see who could grow the longest leg hair.

CREDIT: @phoenixluv77 / Twitter

It’s too embarrassing for me to make up, I swear. So why was it actually all fun and games between us girls and a total nightmare when we left our little family bubble? Why is the outside world teaching young boys that it’s okay to police their classmates on their body hair? I’m finally getting it now and I’m enraged.

What would it have been like for me to see a hot, cool, hairy woman out in the world walking around with confidence?

If you’re reading this and in high school, plz @ us and tell us it’s better now.

CREDIT: @heidiramirez971 / Twitter

I see your generation dying your armpit hair hot pink and teal and lavender and I am both extremely proud and severely jealous. I have two lil chia pets under my arms that I could have made *art* with in high school. I mean, I guess I still can, but age (and those hours of grooming I was talking about) has made me lazy.

Here I am praying we live in a world where Latina women everywhere stop cursing their ancestors, cause before you know it, that’ll be me you’re cursing, guapa.

So, with all the reasons to shave installed in us since birth, I leave you with my own personal reasons not to shave.

CREDIT: @Life_OfA_LaTina / Twitter

What could you be doing with those 40 minutes? That’s 40 more minutes you can spend studying, or reading a book by Latina authors, or playing an instrument, or making art out of your armpit hair, or whatever it is that every other white girl and every single boy in America gets to have. You get to give permission to other women to stop shaving and stop buying into the hair removal industry.

Also, you get to save made water if you’re a person who cares about the environment.

Thirty days ago, I embarked on my own social experiment and stopped shaving.

CREDIT: @danymorc / Twitter

Full disclosure: I’ve already entrapped my girlfriend into living together, so she can’t leave me (jk, jk, jk) and I’m not trying to woo anyone. But really, being truly loved by someone has felt really good, and in some ways has given me permission to love myself in a more radical way.

It wasn’t a big decision or anything I gave much thought to. I just decided I wanted to challenge myself to make ultimate peace with my body hair and feel sexy and good in my natural body.

More disclosure: I’ve spent money and time on laser hair, so I’m not in my most natural state, and I regret it.

CREDIT: @TheZombiUnicorn / Twitter

I pray that nobody from Costco reads this, but I 100 percent used an at home body hair removal system where I shaved my entire body every 3 weeks and spent 2 hours laser hair removing it. It was boring AF, and I’m just as hairy but with a couple of random bald spots on my legs. Now that my armpit hair is all grown out, I can see that it was all a waste of time…but not money.

I returned the machine just before it’s 12 month return policy came up. 😅 Patriarchy makes you stupid sometimes.

But I do feel more liberated than ever.

CREDIT: @Steph.quixotic / Twitter

It feels good to stop subscribing to other people’s beauty standards and start living in my own. My natural body is my standard of beauty, no matter what it looks like. This is just one, very easy part of my healing from body dysmorphia and disordered eating. Loving all of my body.

While life is a whole lot more bearable outside of school, I still get some long stares at my pits by older white ladies out and about. At first, I felt a little uncomfortable with the attention, but then I felt proud to know that there might be someone younger in the same room who feels like they can take up more space.

Plus, poco a poco, we’re seeing Latinas truly represented in TV, like in One Day at a Time.

CREDIT: Netflix

Also, now we know that it’s a myth that shaving makes your hair grow back thick. Throw away the Nair my friends. Shaving is SAFER. If you want to join me, you can also toss your razor and just see how it goes. When it comes to our bodies, we’ve all probably seen our own moms take a pinch of fat, diets, or a wrinkle way too seriously.

I know my own tias would be talking mad sh*t about me if they knew I wen’t #shavefree. But I saw my leg hair measuring cousin, Cecily, take that step and felt permission to do it for myself. You don’t need permission from anyone to live how you want to live–whether that’s hairless or hairy.

This is just my story, but maybe you can relate. No matter what, my message is to love yourself.

If you feel like a liberated goddess with baby soft, hairless skin, do you boo. I applaud you as my Latina sister in this life. I know how much time, money, and effort it takes and I respect how women decide to take care of themselves in this world.

If you’re like me and felt like body hair removal was more oppressive than liberating, I encourage you to take the 30 day challenge. It has been a healing experience for me and I don’t feel the same pressure I used to feel to prioritize a 40-minute shave over getting a project done or doing some self-care. I probably will shave again at some point in my life, but it feels pretty great to let go of the pressure. ❤️

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Here's Why Mariana Adams-Foster Is The Kind Of Representation Latinas And Other People Of Color Deserve

entertainment

Here’s Why Mariana Adams-Foster Is The Kind Of Representation Latinas And Other People Of Color Deserve

Freefrom / The Fosters / Netflix

Mariana Adams-Foster is the brilliant and beautiful Latina I wish I grew up watching. Fortunately, Latinas today can binge watch all five seasons of “The Fosters” in the last two weeks. Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.

While not all of us were adopted by the most incredible non-Latino parents anyone could ask for, we’re all familiar with feeling like we don’t fully belong in a single culture.

Mariana is the fictional Latina-American who has paved her own path and has inspired real Latina-Americans to do the same. Here’s why, in chronological order.

Mariana Adams-Foster is book smart (and street smart).

CREDIT: Netflix

Freeform’s “The Fosters” is a wake up call to America, bringing forth the common issues that foster children often face. Only half of children raised in foster care actually graduate from high school. Let that sink in. That means if you’re a POC, and your parent is statistically more likely to be incarcerated, Latino youth are at higher risk of being placed in the foster system.

Mariana is one of those foster kids, but she is hell-bent on doing more than just graduating high school. She wins robotics competitions and is President of the STEM club.

Mariana and her twin brother, Jesus, know that familia es todo.

CREDIT: @thefosterstv / Instagram

Mariana and Jesus were abandoned by their mother, Ana, when they were just five years old. While Ana wasn’t imprisoned by a judicial system, she was by a drug addiction, which isolated her from her very large Latino family. Ana went on to recover from her drug addiction, and the show brought awareness around alcoholism and addiction as a disease, not a choice.

They were fostered and then adopted by Stef and Lena Adams-Foster, their forever moms. Just watch the show and you’ll see how the bond is so real.

While her moms aren’t Latina, they threw her a quinces to celebrate her heritage.

CREDIT: Netflix

At this point in her life, Mariana was all about being a princesa and center of attention for her 15th birthday, though she wasn’t familiar with all the traditions of a quinces.

As she learned some of the more hetero-normative traditions, we could all relate feeling insecure about how Latina the world perceives you, especially the community.. She caved to the pressures of the few Latinos around her and decided to dance with a male father figure instead of her moms. Immediately after, she regretted it, and loved extra hard on her moms.

Mariana is sassy af.

CREDIT: Netflix

She’s not a brooder. She’s not self-oppressive in ANY respect. She lets it all out with no f*cks to give about what someone else is feeling, unlike her hermano, Jesus, who is a grade A codependent child of an alcoholic. #same

At her quinceañera, Mariana found out her best friend, Lexi, was secretly dating Jesus. (I know, they switched actors mid-series after Jake T. Austin quit and we’re all screaming for Noah Centineo). She didn’t let them forget their betrayal for a single second. Note: Lexi is the trash, in case you didn’t catch that.

And she’s a happy drunk.

CREDIT: Netflix

During a rebellious phase (see the nose piercing), Mariana got super drunk at a party and had to pretend to be sober in front of her moms, who were having a dinner party with Lexi’s very religious (read: Catholic) parents present.

We were all worried that she would develop a substance abuse problem, como su mamá, but thankfully, these were just occasional moments for all our entertainment. 🙂 P.S.-Alcoholism is a family disease, and not just by bloodline. By the end of the series, another sweetie foster kid started to show signs of alcoholism.

6. Mariana is an expert gossip.

CREDIT: Netflix

She totally outed her brother and best friend’s sex lives in front of both of their parents with one sweeping, “You’re going to let them go to Jesus camp when you know they’re having sex?”

Ok, granted she was drunk. And angry. Pero, still.

The moms were keeping the sex thing a secret from the religious parents and for good reason. Stef helped Lexi get Plan B, and her Latino parents (JUSTINA MACHADO) threatened to send her away. Mariana came through in faking her run-away long enough for them all to learn that Lexi’s family was undocumented.

She shows that sometimes you have to praise your own successes.

CREDIT: Netflix

When her moms were trying to spare her foster sister’s feelings for having to retake a math class, Mariana decided to heap praise on her own damn self for getting the highest math score in her class.

To be fair, she had no idea that Callie was at risk of having to retake a bunch of classes that didn’t transfer from her last school. Another lesson for us all: for those of us who had stable childhoods, we take simple class credits for granted as a basic right not all kids get.

Eventually, the pressure of STEM and dance get to her, and she starts taking Jesus’ ADHD meds.

CREDIT: @NotLatinaEnough / Twitter

Of course, Mariana is the leader of her STEM club because, duh, she slays math. She just casually builds robots as an extracurricular while also in a competitive dance team.

Eventually, she started having traumatic hallucinations, that caused her to think her stalker, Nick, was with her. Jesus tried to come to the rescue but inadvertently told Nick where Mariana was, so he actually broke his parole to see Mariana. When Jesus saw Nick with her, he attacked him and ended up getting a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that took him almost a year to recover from.

She still slayed with an all girls robotics team, though.

Mariana is a natural born leader and activist.

CREDIT: Netflix

She led a school walk out after their favorite teacher was fired. Oh, and her mom, Lena, is the vice principal who fired him. That made for an awkward dinner conversation that Mariana navigated like a queen. She stood her ground and refused to go to school the next day, launching a class-wide protest.

This is what happens when you mix a Latina daughter with a non-Latina mother. JK-Lena responded by unplugging the WiFi and taking all the kids phones because no fun is allowed when the kids are rebelling. I guess there’s freedom to rebel without the threat of a chancleta.

ICYMI, Mariana has zero problem with authority.

CREDIT: Netflix

She actually tricked her way into qualifying for a dance competition by competing alongside Kaitlyn, a blonde authoritarian pendeja, and then immediately quit right after their team qualified. Because of a loophole and Mariana’s savvy intellect, she realized that since she qualified, she could quit and start her own team that would automatically qualify for the competition.

If you knew Kaitlyn, you’d understand why this is so epic. When Mariana first made the team, she overheard some teammates saying she only got in because of “quotas.” *eye roll* Mariana actually dyed her hair blonde to fit in, which is a WHOLE other story.

Lena made the two teams do a dance-off and Mariana slayed.

CREDIT: Netflix

When Mariana sprained her ankle, she didn’t let the five person minimum become an obstacle. She used her genius tech skills to project a fifth person onto the stage by recording all the moves ahead of time using her dancer and friend, Emma. The whole audience was *stunned.*

All of this is after Jesus’ crazy ex-girlfriend betrayed Mariana’s trust and rejoined Kaitlyn’s team, giving away her “dystopian robotic theme.” Literally, Kaitlyn’s team just put on silver lipstick and danced the robot thinking they were embarrassing Mariana’s team. #LatinaExcellence

Girl knows how to glamp.

CREDIT: Netflix

Mariana has defied so many stereotypes throughout this series. Her BFF and fellow STEM nerd, Emma, was starting to backpedal on her participation in Mariana’s dance team because her fellow wrestling team started to make comments like, “She really is a girl.” Que pesado.

Mariana’s had to teach her own friends that they can be smart and sexy and still demand to be taken seriously. Just like Mariana is a total badass in every area of life and demands a blow up mattress, double comforters and a pink tent.

This is a very small detail about a very big person: but she brought a pink chandelier to the tent.

Her moral compass eventually, always gets recalibrated.

CREDIT: Netflix

So, yeah, she sold and took her brother’s ADHD drugs after her estranged, drug-addicted mother started begging her for money for rehab (mentira). Side note: her mom, Ana, eventually does get help through Alcoholic’s Anonymous and ends up marrying Mariana’s mom, Stef’s ex-husband and baby daddy. I know, drama.

But then she handled herself at her other brother, Brandon’s, warehouse band performance. She got locked in a storage unit where a girl was overdosing. Mariana called the police and was able to save her life, and then later defend herself to Brandon for doing the right thing. Take that, Brandon!

Speaking of Brandon, she held him rightly accountable for kissing their foster sister, Callie.

CREDIT: Netflix

I don’t care if you’re Team Brallie or whatever. This line was classic Mariana. There are very strict rules banning any kind of romantic involvement with foster siblings that aim to protect foster kids. Because Brandon kissed Callie, Callie felt like she had to run away so that her little brother could at least be adopted by The Fosters.

Callie ended up back in juvenile detention while Brandon moped and pined around the house about his Romeo & Juliet-eque love. Mariana had her sister’s back.

Never forget the time Mariana thought flirting meant giving her underwear to boys.

CREDIT: Netflix

Oof, this scene was brutal. Brandon’s ex girlfriend told her that the best way to flirt with her crush was to leave her panties in his pocket. Ese bobo followed Mariana upstairs and essentially demanded that he have sex with her and got angry that she wouldn’t.

The next day at school, she had to deal with the most humiliating bullying imaginable. Boys stuffed their gross underwear in her locker and walked around with hot pink and red panties sticking out of their pockets for weeks. When your mom is VP, and your moms find out, the embarrassment never dies.

Before Mariana owned her Latina power, she struggled, like all of us.

CREDIT: Netflix

Remember that whole other story we had to tell? Mariana had dyed her hair blonde to fit in better with Kaitlyn’s dance posse, recuerdes? When her crush, Mat took her on a first date to a Mexican street festival, she got hella offended and didn’t even know why. She didn’t feel like she belonged in Mexican culture and didn’t want to be associated with it after being discriminated against at school.

You’ve also probably caught that oppressive feeling that you’re “not Latino enough,” or that it’d be easier if you weren’t at all.

Mariana eventually came to own her Latinidad, and her powers of persuasion.

CREDIT: Netflix

For her 16th birthday, she barely even had to persuade her (soon-to-be-psycho) boyfriend, Nick, to throw her a huge party in his rich dad’s abandoned warehouse. Someway, somehow, Mariana got herself both a quinces and a “Sweet 16” party. Nick was also besties with Jesus so they turned the downstairs floor into a skatepark for the coolest birthday bash ever.

Oh, and Mariana dyed her hair back to it’s normal black and refused to change herself in any way to fit a mold again.

Including for her role as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet.”

CREDIT: Netflix

Even though her ex, Mat, was playing Romeo, she decided that wouldn’t hold her back from auditioning for Juliet. Given that Cierra Ramirez, who plays Mariana, is a crazy talented singer, she was a shoe-in.

Painfully, Nick saw Mariana giving Mat a “goodbye kiss” after he professed his ongoing love for her and Nick came to school with a gun. Yeah, it was crazy. After he wasn’t found at school, he hid out in the Fosters’ house for over 24 hours and threatened to kill himself while holding Mariana hostage. The Fosters is no joke, people.

When Ana gave birth to her half-sister, Mariana was the best sister ever.

CREDIT: Netflix

It’s not all crazy drama. As Ana got sober, she mad her amends to Mariana and Jesus and they started to develop a relationship. Oh, here’s the drama. Ana and the twins were in a car accident that forced Ana to wear a back brace, limiting her ability to care for newborn baby Isabella.

Mariana is all about family and helped out every day after school, happily. But, low key, she was also avoiding boyfriend-again Mat who was setting off on a tour with his band. Goodbyes are hard okay.

Spoiler: Mariana eventually went on to graduate from MIT.

CREDIT: @thefosterstv / Instagram

Only 3 percent of foster kids ever graduate from a 4-year college. Mariana not only graduated from a 4-year college, she got a full ride at mothaf*ckin MIT! Jesus’ TBI gave him some serious learning disabilities but he still made it to San Diego Community College and decided to start a treehouse-building company. I guess when a nail gun to the head takes you down, you get right back up again?

Mariana was offered a tech job in Los Angeles, where it seems Callie, Jude and Brandon will all be headed for, too.

“The Fosters” might be over, but “Good Trouble” is just beginning.

CREDIT: @goodtrouble / Instagram

“Good Trouble” will be a spin-off of “The Fosters,” that stars Callie and Mariana’s young adult lives after college in Los Angeles. Callie casually graduated from a 5-year law program which puts both Callie and Mariana in the work force for the first time together. At first, the two planned to accept jobs in San Francisco to be closer to each other, but Callie decided to go to LA, where her brother Jude was struggling with alcoholism at UCLA. Of course, Mariana followed.

We can’t wait!!!


READ: Here Are Some Little Known Facts About Actress And Singer Cierra Ramirez

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