Media Myths

02.04.14

Don't Be Fooled By Telenovelas

Report finds media representation of Latinos fuels stereotypes.

If you only see Latinas on television, you might think we are all are sassy, sex-crazed mamis. Like most women of color represented in national media, Latinas always tend to fall into the same tired stereotypes—exotic, hyper feminine, voluptuous, and submissive. Nothing new. We would do wrong to brush these tropes as harmless TV trash. A report released by the Hispanic Media Coalition showed that “the most commonly held Latino stereotypes run parallel to those reflected in the media.” Basically, for people who don't normally interact with Latina(o)s—which the study found only 30 percent of participants actually knew a Latino personally—what they see broadcasted plays a significant influence over their opinions about Latinos. These are opinions that might influence them if, for example, they decision to hire a new employee. This is not to say that all hope is lost. There are some exceptional Latinas on TV. Our favorite: Dr. Callie Torres from Grey’s Anatomy—a lesbian surgeon who's more “awesome person” than stereotypically anything.