The “Spicy Latina” Stereotype

Most, if not all, Latina women I have seen on the big screen in Hollywood are depicted as the “spicy Latina” character. The spicy Latina is a sexy woman who is passionate, outgoing, and hot-tempered, with no filter. As a Latin woman, I can assure you that the spicy Latina trope is an inaccurate representation of Latin women. Not all Latinas share or have the characteristics of a “spicy Latina.” Some Latinas are introverted, shy, and reserved. Many Latinas do not fit into the stereotypes set by the media and Hollywood.

Actor Sofia Vergara’s character in Modern Family is one of the many inaccurate representations of Latin women. Her character, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, is a beautiful Latin trophy wife that is loud-mouthed, aggressive, and outgoing. She is often dressed in skin-tight dresses, skinny jeans, low-cut blouses, and heels. She is tall and curvy with long brunette hair and olive-tan skin. It seems like the primary purpose of her character on the show is for comedic relief and sex appeal. Even when an episode is focused on her, she is reduced to her poor background and how she needed to be rescued by the white man.

Another facet of the “spicy Latina” is the strong, opinionated, tells-it-like-it-is, short-tempered character—Letty Ortiz from the Fast and the Furious franchise, played by Michelle Rodriguez. Letty is yet another feisty Latina character. She plays the tough woman with a tomboy attitude who is not afraid of getting into trouble. Her character is passionate about love and violence, and her short-tempered attitude can become destructive. Even when she plays as a violent, dangerous character, she is sexualized and turned into a seductive and thrill-seeking fantasy.

Gloria and Letty’s characters display apparent stereotypes of Latin women that are harmful to Latinas. Roles like these in Hollywood have cemented previous perceptions the media and people have about Latinas. Even when Latinas characters are represented on the big screen, their characters are reduced to being the lead character’s sidekick, accessory, comedic relief, or sex appeal. Gloria is the Colombian trophy wife rescued by her rich white husband from her humble life as a divorced single mother. Letty is the girlfriend of the lead character Dominic Toretto. I learned that any facet of the spicy Latina will always be hyper-sexualized, passionate in war and love, or loud and obnoxious.

I recently watched On My Block: Freeridge on Netflix. It is about a group of teenage friends that are cursed by a box and are trying to find a way to get rid of the curse. I found the show hard to watch at times because two of the main characters, sisters Gloria and Ines, although minors, still represent the spicy Latina trope. I appreciate how both of the actors cast in the show look different from what we expect the spicy Latina to look like. Still, Gloria is the short-tempered sister with anger problems who results in violence or having people “have it,” and Ines is the obnoxious, unintelligent, pretty sister. It seems like Hollywood is doing a better job of representing Latinas because they are casting actors that look different. But in reality, the spicy Latina characteristics are the same ones that have been used over and over again.

These stereotypes are problematic because introverted for Latinas like myself because we are assumed to be outgoing, loud, and feisty. From my experience of being stereotyped as a spicy Latina, I am supposed to be short-tempered. I had a coworker who was shocked that I was a “laid-back” and “chill” person. My coworker once told me, “I want to see what you are like when you’re mad.” I was bothered by his comment because he expected me to act as he saw in the media. I didn’t bother to correct him but thinking about it now, I wish I had said something.

The stereotypes are not only harmful to me, but they are dangerous to many Latinas that don’t identify themselves with them. Not all of us are sexy, seductive, passionate Latinas. Not all of us are thrill-seeking, dangerous, no filtered Latinas. Not all of us are hot-tempered, loud, and obnoxious Latinas. Latinas can be shy, reserved, and introverted. We come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities. Even now, I only represent a small part of Latinas because we are so diverse.

The Global Warming Controversy

What is Global Warming?

Global warming, not to be used synonymously with climate change, refers to the long-term heating of the Earth’s surface. Global warming focuses on the human activities that cause the warming, such as the production of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are heat-trapping gases like carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide released into the Earth’s atmosphere due to burning fossil fuels. The most significant contributing greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity production, agriculture, transportation, industry, and buildings. Scientists and researchers have monitored the Earth’s temperature since the 1850s and 1900s. They have found the amount of greenhouse gases has increased due to human activities, thus raising Earth’s average surface temperature.

Global warming is an important global issue because as we produce more greenhouse gases, Earth’s surface temperature continues to rise and affects the climate. Our ice caps are melting faster than in previous years, and sea levels are predicted to rise between one to 2.3 feet by 2050.

Why is Global Warming Controversial?

Despite the scientific facts and research that proves global warming is real and is happening, skeptics dispute the facts and diminish the seriousness of human-caused warming. Much of the controversy originated from fossil fuel industries and politicians that opposed climate action. The need to protect their fossil fuel businesses has driven them to create campaigns filled with disinformation. They have challenged the research and have purposedly confused the public and their opinions on global warming. Denialists have gone as far as to make the Global Warming Petition Project. Denialists created the petition for the United States to reject the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which was an early international climate agreement. The petition stated climate change was not real, and even if it were, it would not be harmful. Of the 30,000 people with science degrees who signed the petition, only 39 were climatologists. The remaining people with science degrees had degrees outside of atmospheric or environmental science. The disinformation spread by politicians, skeptics, and companies created less support for climate action and also less understanding of the issue of global warming.

Fossil fuel companies have successfully blinded the public from the reality of global warming by spreading disinformation. Ever since the beginning, when global warming continued to be researched, these big companies have been doing everything possible to avoid responsibility. They have used diversion, denial, and cherry-picking persuasion tactics to find their way out of the issue. When companies use diversion tactics, they avoid the issue and bring up another to divert attention from the real problem. In a 2020 Shell ad, the CEO of a Shell renewable subsidiary states she has made a safer and cleaner future for our children but never references fossil fuels. The ad was a misrepresentation because, between the years 2010 and 2018, 98.7 percent of Shell’s investments were in oil and gas. The denial technique is used when the fossil fuel industries attack scientists’ research and deny the facts, causes, impacts, and solutions. They question the credibility and accuracy of global warming research and create doubt within the public. Companies also find a way to nitpick information that will benefit their argument; this tactic is called cherry-picking. 

Shell’s 2020 Cat’s Powering Progress Ad
Has the Global Warming Issue Been Resolved?

Although more than 97 percent of publishing climate scientists and most of the general public agree that global warming is real, it remains controversial. Global warming has become a political issue, not just a scientific one. I do not see this issue resolved because as the fossil fuel industries and politicians keep spreading misinformation and disinformation, the public will continue not to be well informed on the topic and cause more harm.

Alleged Biden Remarks Fact Checked

An image or meme of President Biden allegedly saying, “The idea that we’re going to send in tanks to Ukraine, that’s called World War III,” and “Today, I am announcing that the United States will be sending Abram tanks to Ukraine,” is making its way through various social media platforms. These remarks are ‘missing context’ as Reuters Fact Check reports in the article, “Fact Check-Comparison of Biden remarks on sending tanks to Ukraine is missing context.”

The first quote is not a direct quote and was made back in March 2022. Biden was speaking at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference and said that “the idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews, just understand—and don’t kid yourself, no matter what you all say—that’s called ‘World War III.’” Biden made the second remark on Jan. 25, 2023, when he announced the United States would supply Ukraine with several M1 Abram tanks equivalent to one Ukrainian battalion. His reasoning for sending tanks to Ukraine is to help “Ukraine defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity.”

The first step The Reuters Fact Check team took to fact check was look for the context of the quotes. The Reuters Fact Check was directed to the original transcripts of Biden’s remarks with the help of a White House spokesperson. The team found the quotes used on the meme were in fact cropped and need more context.

An article from the NYTimes (here) explains why Biden sending tanks to Ukraine is important. Biden’s reluctant decision to send thirty-one Abram tanks to Ukraine allows for German-made Leopard 2 tanks from European nations to be supplied to Ukraine. The Chancellor of Germany and European leaders insisted that the United States sending its own tanks was the only way to “unlock a flow of heavy European arms.”
This article was informative on Biden’s recent decision and credible. The article was written by David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt, and Helene Cooper. David E. Sanger is a White House and national security correspondent who has won Pulitzer Prizes for his international reporting. Eric Schmitt was a former Pentagon correspondent who has traveled the world writing about terrorism and national security. Helene Cooper is a pentagon correspondent and previous White House correspondent, diplomatic correspondent, and editor.

Another article regarding Biden’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine is from The Guardian (here). The four authors in this article share their opinions on the Unites States sending its tanks to Ukraine. Some are against Biden’s decision, and some agree. All four authors seem to be professionals and credible sources, but these are their opinions.

24 Hour Media Diary: Data Collection

Data recorded is from Tuesday, January 24, 2023.

6:50 am: I woke up and checked some of my Instagram notifications. The notifications were new posts and stories uploaded while I was asleep. I looked through my family and friends recent posts but did not interact. I opened Twitter and also scrolled down any new feed.
I have shared my email, which is necessary to create an account, phone number, and birthdate on both social media platforms. I also know they ask for access to one’s contacts to find your friends, but I usually do not allow access to my contacts. I get more personalized ads on Instagram than on Twitter because I browse through Instagram’s explore page whenever I open the app. I have also received ads related to Google searches I’ve made.

7:40 am: On my way to work, I listen to music on Spotify. I use Spotify daily, but I hardly ever think about what information it collects. Thanks to my job, I get a free Spotify Premium subscription, so I know it has my work email, username, age, and more.

Spotify has something called Spotify Wrapped, which keeps track of what music genres I listen to, what artists are my favorites, and what songs I play the most. Even the total minutes I spend listening to a particular artist. It doesn’t collect this data by itself, as I play a role in liking, downloading, and saving music and artists I like, but every year I look forward to viewing my Spotify Wrapped because it is crazy to see all this data.

8:00 am: At work, I listen to the Starbucks Spotify playlist as it plays throughout the day, but I am usually unaware of it because I am busy taking care of customers’ orders.

Screenshot of Starbucks’ Coffeehouse Pop playlist

10:10 am: During my break, I look through emails and read or delete them. My emails are often school emails, promotions, coupons, or spam. I read some I received from my school about studying abroad scholarships.

12:20 pm: As I was listening to music on my “favorites” playlist, I connected my phone to my car’s CarPlay feature and realized my phone’s GPS always tells me how long the drive home will take. Sometimes I don’t even acknowledge that my phone is using its GPS, even when I am not using it to follow directions. It always alerts me where my car is parked and knows where I work.

12:30 pm: I opened up Instagram and liked pictures my cousin shared from her Quinceañera. I also responded to a group chat on Instagram direct messages. In the group chat, my family and I have been sharing videos and posts about the place we plan to visit. As a result, I ended up getting feed related to traveling.

1:00 pm: While studying, I listen to Lofi Beats on Spotify. This type of music soothing music without lyrics allows me to focus. I read two assigned chapters for my graphic design history course.

Screenshot of Lofi Playlist on Spotify

3:10 pm: I took a little break from reading and checked Twitter. I liked a few memes about the new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and then I got many suggested tweets related to the show.

3:30 pm: I continued to read the assigned chapters.

4:40 pm: After reading, I logged into Canvas to watch lecture videos.

5:00 pm: I continued to watch the lecture videos. The videos were on Canvas, and Canvas has all my school information and student information, along with what classes I am enrolled in.

6:00 pm: As my parents watch our local news channel on tv, I tune in and out while watching my lectures. The news reported current events happening locally and around the world.

7:30 pm: I finish watching Bling Empire: New York on Netflix. I use my aunt’s account to log in and watch my favorite shows. I thought about what information of hers Netflix had collected as I logged in with her email and password. I know Netflix stores her payment information and personal information.

Along with that, Netflix also keeps track of what shows we have watched, which ones we have enjoyed, and what series we don’t like. This is helpful because I am the type of person to scroll endlessly looking for something to watch. I’m sure Netflix collects and sells more of our information that we are unaware of.

8:40 pm: I watch some vlogs on YouTube and leave some comments. I know that Google owns YouTube, so I imagine it has collected quite a bit of data from me. I often get suggested videos, personalized ads, and ads that require engagement.

9:00 pm: Open the Netflix app once again, and start watching a New Series called The Glory. It was recommended by Netflix based on shows I have liked. 

Screenshot of the Netflix series The Glory

11:00 pm: I go through Twitter one last time before going to sleep and read some Twitter threads, memes, and new tweets.

Media Diary Review

When I reflect on how I spent my day using media, I understand how much information I have shared. I have shared my email, phone number, birth date, address, payment information, photos, SSN, etc., throughout countless media platforms. I was confident that I was being careful with my data, but now I can see that I need to be more cautious. I only realized I was sharing biometric data once I learned what biometric data was. I have been using it for years without realization, so I can only imagine how much of my information has been sold. Moving forward, I want to inform my family and myself in safe ways to keep our data protected.

Net Neutrality and Its Affect on Media Consumer’s Access

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) should provide equal access to the internet. Equal access to the internet means anyone should be able to navigate content without any restrictions or discrimination. It also presents the idea that ISPs should not have control over the internet connection speed or what their users can see, read, and consume.

There is no federal law for net neutrality placed in the United States. And after the FCC removed it from its policy, the state of California made its own state-level rules. A few states followed behind California and placed their own net neutrality policies.

How Can It Affect Media Users’ Access?

Without net neutrality policies, ISPs have the ability to slow down or speed up their connection and control the pricing of these services. Most ISPs offer different pricing plans. They can charge more for ‘faster’ speeds and call it a premium plan. If users do not have the means to afford the premium plan, this can restrict their access to media.

Although most ISPs offer unlimited data plans, some ISPs have introduced data caps into their services. Data caps range from the amount of data and pricing, which are unnecessary. Their sole purpose is to limit data usage. After users have finished all their data usage, their connection can either become slower or blocked. Depending on the type of data cap a user’s plan utilizes, it can limit how much information they can retrieve.

The lack of net neutrality enables ISPs to pick and choose what they want their users to see first. They can provide better quality and faster connections for media services they own. Media platforms like Netflix, Paramount Plus, HBO Max, and Hulu may load faster than others. Users would still have access to various media and content, but the biased press, ideas, opinions, and content preferred by the ISPs would be presented first.

The topic of net neutrality always sparks controversy and debate, yet, the general public and media-literate individuals support it.

Net neutrality is imperative to media literacy as it promotes freedom of speech and information freedom. In states with net neutrality laws, the internet is accessible to everyone and anyone, and users can access it freely. ISPs are entitled to provide the same service to all their users and offer a range of media that is easily accessible.

Media users deserve the right to access any information on any platform or device without censorship.

24- Hour Media Diary

Welcome to my 24-hour media diary! I recorded my media usage for Friday, January 13, 2023.

4 AM: At 4 a.m., I woke up to a call and messages from my coworker because I slept through my alarm. I replied to her to let her know I was okay and was on my way. Luckily for me, we were all late that day because we were confused about our hours since they had just changed.

I listen to music we play throughout the workday, although I am usually unaware of it.

6:30 AM: During my break, I check my notifications. I get new emails frequently, so I go through them and sort them out or delete spam. I then like to check Instagram, look at recent posts and stories, or respond to direct messages. My break is only ten minutes, so sometimes, I only get to check my email.

8:30 AM: After my short shift, I spent a couple of minutes completing overdue training. Our training includes video training, reading policies, and reviewing drink recipes. On my way home, I listen to my self-curated playlist on Spotify.

9-10 AM: When I make breakfast, I like to have something to watch while I cook. I decided to watch SKY Castle on Netflix. I have been watching many K dramas (or Korean dramas), and the episodes are slightly over an hour long. I only watched one as I had to get started on homework.

11-3:30 PM: After breakfast, I started on my going over my lectures and homework. I use Canvas on my laptop to access courses, readings, and videos. I had three lecture videos and four articles to read. I listened to Spotify while completing homework and opened the TikTok app whenever I gave myself a break. On TikTok, I refresh the feed and watch videos that pop up.

4:30-6 PM: I had finished all my lectures and homework, so I opened the TikTok app again until I continued to watch another episode of SKY Castle on TV.

7:30-11 PM: From seven to eleven, I watched RuPaul’s Drag Race on TV. I returned from Mexico a week ago, so I missed the premier. I have been watching RPDR since season nine when I found it after randomly browsing through the channels. Since then, I have made sure not to miss a single season. I made time to watch the two-part premier and the new episode airing that week. All three episodes were an hour and a half, so all I had to do was sit back and enjoy the show.

When RPDR was over, I checked Twitter to see what people thought about the new episode. I was curious about what people thought about my favorite contestants. I liked posts and reacted to memes related to the episode. I also continued to watch related content on YouTube.

11:30 PM: I rechecked some emails again.

Media Consumption Analysis

While taking notes on my media usage throughout the day, I noticed I have a poor habit of opening apps like TikTok and Twitter when bored. Thinking about it now, I did not reach for my phone as much as I do now. I would pick up a new hobby or finish a project in my spare time. Now it is difficult for me to complete something I start because of how much I rely on apps like TikTok, Twitter, or YouTube to escape boredom. TikTok and YouTube have become my most used apps, along with other young adults, because TikTok’s popularity grew notably during the pandemic.

I also noticed that the only credible sources I used were the articles I read on Canvas. The lectures and readings assigned are from scholarly sources or reputable news outlets. On days I am looking for information or news, I will go on Twitter. I know that Twitter is not a reliable news source, but I make sure the information I get is from credible accounts such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and National Geographic.