#mitúVOICE

What People Actually Mean When They Say Someone Is Exotic

“Exotic” is a beautiful-looking word (That sexy X! That cute lil’ C!) that often describes beautiful things: An exotic bird. A beach house on an exotic shore…the kind you can only reach via a small plane, a ferry, a secret password and more money than any of us makes in two years. Things that are exotic are foreign, different and often, alluringly unknowable. So. Can a person be exotic, too?

Credit: Google

It’s a question many Latinas are confronted with when the word — a word used to describe weird birds and faraway beaches — is used to define us, too. Latinos are, and have long been, an integral part of U.S. culture and history. We’re American. America is us. And yet we continue to be very much an “other” in the eyes of our non-Latino pals, as many of us who’ve partaken in such quintessentially capital-W White activities (e.g. drinking #PSLs or talking back to a parent) will tell you.

Is it that some of us look exotic? What would that even entail? What’s the metric that features commonly branded as “Latina,” be it olive skin or full eyebrows or a curvy figure, are being measured against?

Is it the accent? Some of us have one, for sure. Maybe our L’s are a lingered on a little longer, our R’s slightly more curled and pronounced. Is that exotic? And if so, for whom?

Credit: ABC / Giphy

The idea of exoticness is, I think we can agree, meant to signal something positive, alluring, maybe even a little sexy and adventurous. There’s the thrill of being presented with something new and different, a mystery you’d like to solve. But many stereotypes based on the very best of intentions and praise can fall flat when it comes to truly understanding any group of people as just that: People.

Nothing drives this home as succinctly as the top definitions for the term on Urban Dictionary, that time-honored barometer of cultural zeitgeists:

Then there’s the added reality that Latinas also occupy a very defined space in a particular industry: Porn. To wit:

Credit: Google

Kind of adds an additional little spin on the term’s cultural currency on the internet, no?

To that end, I asked fellow Latinas on Twitter to weigh in on the term, if they wanted. Here’s what they had to say:

Credit: Twitter / @katbee
Credit: Twitter / meligrosa
Credit: Twitter / @ameliaabreu

But what do you think of the term? Love it? Hate it? Think it’s a great word as long as it describes weird birds and faraway beaches? Tell us; we wanna know.

READ: These #LatinasAreNot Tweets Slays Stereotypes Perfectly

So, what are your thoughts on the term “exotic”? Share them below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

9 LGBTQ+ Latinas Making The World A Better Place Through Representation

Culture

9 LGBTQ+ Latinas Making The World A Better Place Through Representation

Women are a driving force for change. It has been proven time and time again in history. LGBTQ+ Latinas are part of this tradition whether it is in activism, media, or representation in comic books. Here are 9 LGBTQ+ Latinas who are doing their part to make the world a better place.

Stephanie Beatriz

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Stephanie Beatriz (@stephaniebeatriz)

Stephanie Beatriz is known for her character Rosa on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” The actress wanted to create a character that someone like her could relate to and she made it happen. Rosa came out in the show as a bisexual Latina and it gave Beatriz a chance to play a character that reflects her real identity. For the first time, bisexual Latinas have someone on television that speaks to a very real and important identity.

Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson publicly came out of the closet as bisexual in 2018. The actress revealed her relationship with musician Janelle Monáe and fans were there to support her. Thompson made a real splash in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when she portrayed Valkyrie in “Thor: Ragnarok.” She will be slaying again as Valkrie in “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

Bamby Salcedo

Bamby Salcedo is unapologetically trans and fighting for trans lives and rights. Salcedo founded the TransLatin@ Coalition to create a network for trans Latinas to connect and help each other thrive. Salcedo is often in protests for trans lives including against Pete Buttigieg during a CNN/HRC Town Hall.

Victoria Cruz

Victoria Cruz is a gatekeeper of LGBTQ+ history. The indigenous trans woman was there for the start of the Gay Liberation movement in 1969. Cruz has been a leader in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Cruz has continued to her fight for trans rights even in the face of transphobia in the LGBTQ+ community. As the LGBTQ+ community tends for forget its history, Cruz is here to remind them of how important the trans community is in gaing LGBTQ+ rights.

Carmen Carrera

Carmen Carrera first came into everyone’s home as a contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” This was before she started her transition. Since embarking on her transition journey, Carrera has had a very successful career as a supermodel, became a stepmother, and has been championing trans rights in the U.S. and Peru. The activist has spent years breaking down stereotypes about trans people wherever she goes.

Salice Rose

Salice Rose is a major name in social media. With more than 16 million followers on TikTok, Rose has created a place for people to feel safe and included. Using comedy and her spirituality, Rose has been able to tackle important issues, like coming out.

Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera was tapped to write for the America Chavez comic book in a move by Marvel that was widely celebrated. Rivera was able to give American Chavez, a queer Latin superhero, an authentic voice. Rivera is also the author of “Juliet Takes A Breaths.’ The young adult novel follows a Puerto Rican girl who comes out to her family right before going to an internship on the other side of the country.

Martine Gutierrez

Martine Gutierrez is a famed photographer and artist that has displayed work around the world. The art critic Barbara Calderon wrote about Gutierrez’s identity that has been an elusive yet broad identity. Calderon spoke of terms used to identify oneself yet none seemed to accurately describe who Gutierrez is.

Lido Pimienta

Lido Pimienta is an Afro-indigenous Colombian Canadian musician who is transforming Latin music, especially the scene with her sexuality. The queer musician is unapologetic about her identity for the sake of visibility. Pimienta feels a need to stay ver visible to change the long-running history of no queer visibility in media.

READ: Here Are Some Queer Films And Shows To Watch To Start Pride Off Right

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Fierce

Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Beverly Hills, one of the most well-known destinations in the country and world has long been a thriving and prime area for real-estate. Long before it was colonized by the Spanish, and was largely populated by rich white elites, the Indigenous people of California known as the Tongva, thrived there.

Hundreds of years later, in the 1830s, when the area was colonized, Maria Rita Valdez Villa, the granddaughter of Spanish colonists Luis and Maria Quintero and the great-granddaughter of an African slave was granted the original 4,500-acre of Beverly Hills, then known as El Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas.

Yes, as it turns out the foremother of Beverly Hills was a Black Latina!

During her ownership, Maria Rita oversaw cattle ranching and farming.

According to LA Magazine, Rita “was well known for holding a yearly celebratory rodeo under a famous eucalyptus tree at what is now Pico and Robertson boulevards.”

Sadly, after working the land for so much time, three Indigenous Californian outlaws attacked the ranch in 1852. The attack led to a shootout amongst “a grove of walnut trees at what is now Benedict Canyon and Chevy Chase drives” and eventually in 1854 Maria Rita decided to sell the area to investors Henry Hancock and Benjamin D. Wilson for $4,000.

Perhaps there’s a chance for justice for Maria Rita in the end.

Recently, Los Angeles County officials revealed that they were contemplating returning a beachfront property that was seized from a Black family nearly a century ago.

According to the Guardian, Manhattan Beach used “eminent domain” in 1924 to force Willa and Charles Bruce, the city’s first Black landowners, of the land where they lived. “The Bruces also ran a resort for Black families during a time when beaches in the strand were segregated,” explained the Guardian in a recent report. “Part of the land was developed into a city park. It is now owned by Los Angeles county and houses lifeguard headquarters and a training center.”

Manhattan Beach county Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that she was looking into ways to restore justice for Bruce family. Options include delivering the land back to the family, paying for losses, or potentially leasing the property from them

“I wanted the county of Los Angeles to be a part of righting this terrible wrong,” Hahn explained in a recent interview with KABC-TV.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com