"Latin and Hispanic women in Contemporary Film"

Essay by daniel_510University, Bachelor'sA-, April 2009

download word file, 13 pages 4.0

Several decades ago Latina women started appearing in Hollywood films. The first few actresses to become known where Dolores del Rio, Rita Moreno, Lupe Velez, Carmen Miranda, Margarita Cansino, known as Rita Hayworth, and Katy Jurado. These women were able to make a name for themselves in a society in which ultimately Latina women where not quite welcomed. The discriminations they had to overcome and changes they had to undergo to obtain significant roles were many. Despite of this, except for Rita Moreno, they were never really able to achieve what Anglo women were achieving during their time. The roles they got were for the most part insignificant. Today, Latina or Hispanic women are still battling the war to obtain equal roles as those given to Anglo women. Actresses like Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, America Ferrera, Penelope Cruz and few others have achieved this to some extent. However, it has been a rough road for them to get to where they are.

Although, nowadays more Latinas are being casted for better roles than before, many are still only considered for the same roles available for Latinas and in addition they still face the same challenges, discriminations and prejudices they faced decades ago.

It has been challenging all along for Hispanic women to have the same success as Anglo women for two main reasons: their accent and their physical appearance. "Hollywood Spanish", which refers to broken English spoken with a heavy accent, is not acceptable for many producers and roles when looking to cast a leading actress in their movie. It is very hard for a Latina to be able to make their accent disappear and so be able to speak English as an American woman would. (Ramirez Berg) For this reason, many Latina women have been rejected for a...