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“The Myth of Latin Women” by Judith Ortiz


In the myth of the Latin woman; Judith Ortiz explained how she grew up under stern observation, since virtue and humility were equated to family honor by culture. From her story it can be seen that as a teenager, she was required to conduct herself as a good ‘senorita’. In this case, girls in Latin America were supposed to dress as deemed right by their mothers. Based on this case, there was a prescribed mode of dressing where in the case one dressed in another way, it seemed like a culture clash in the society. It can be argued that, Judith when they were told at school to dress as a job interviewee; had no idea of how to dress as she had not seen any other women in their community dressed up in any other way except what their culture dictated.

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From this it can be deduced that, she wore uniforms during school days and also when attending Catholic Sundays’ mass. Based on her experience, this mode of dressing was different from that of Puerto Rica where her friend studied. Here, Rican girls could wear too many jewelry and accessories at once. It can be seen from Judith’s story that they were negatively criticized by nuns, and classmates looked at them as delinquents when they dressed like Rican girls.

Essay Body

It was indicated from the story that varied cultural indicators had been responsible for certain stereotypes, where women in Latin America were ethnically and racially discriminated. This is evident from the way the media assigned ‘smoldering’ or ‘sizzling’ expressions to depict not only food; but also Latin American women. This showed that women were labeled as things which were meant to be used by men in the society; as they were equated to food by advertisers. Further, these stereotypes could be witnessed from the story about the Puerto Rican women, who were labeled as sex objects which could be used by bosses in order to promote them or fire them if they did not compromise.

In this case, all what these women comprehended from their bosses was sexual suggestions for advancement in their job. Based on this, it can be argued that Latin American women were stereotyped as objects and not as respectable human beings. From this it can be said that, women require respect and honor in the society, and should not be taken as sex objects by men. In this case, it is culture and not the biology of women which contributed to their being stereotyped by men in Latin America.

In another instance, women in Latin America as Judith puts it; were thought to mature and know more about sex rather than growing into womanhood. From this, they were thought to grow and ripen like fruits or vegetables for the pleasures of men. This can be seen from the instance where the writer failed to satisfy a boy with a kiss, at a time they were dancing. In this case the boy said; “I thought you Latin girls were supposed to mature early”. By saying this he wanted to mean that she had not known or learned how to make men happy sexually.

It can be argued that, black women because of their low education were considered as ‘makers of good domestics’. Based on this, women were employed as housemaids or counter girls to serve men resulting to their being used as sex objects by men. From this it can be said that, this stereotyping of women and the way they are described by the media; have contributed to them being denied chances to upward mobility. Based on this, women are thought to belong to the kitchen where they should be cooking for men; hence not positively recognized in the society.

In this case Judith Ortiz said that to solve this problem, women should shine academically and professionally in order to occupy professions which are respectable in the society. It is indicated from the story that, as a result of the education she had, she was able to understand the English language; hence obtaining methods for coping up with the challenges faced by women of Latin America.

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From this it can be argued that, when one is educated she will be respected in the society and would not be labeled as an object meant to please men. These mechanisms of controlling anger, which women should acquire through education, were evidenced by how Judith dealt with the woman who mistook her to be a waitress in a boat-restaurant. From the story, “she ordered a cup of coffee for me assuming that I was the waitress”.

This can be used to show that women have to overcome a lot of discrimination and stereotyping, before they are considered as respected beings in society. In this case, the writer indicated that through education she was set aside from the cruel sorts of ethnic and racial discriminations, which were faced by many of her uneducated ‘Hispanic companeras’. In addition, education opens avenues for women to travel worldwide to learn more about other people’s cultures, as it can be seen from the writer who traveled all over America reading her books and many people got interested in learning about her culture. In this case, the writer said that uneducated Latinas struggled in opposition to the misapprehensions completed by the fable of Latinas as whores, homemakers or law breakers.


To sum up, changing the way women were considered in Latin America; would arise from a personal point of view rather than legislating the way people view them. In this case, women were supposed to acquire education in order to fight against racial and ethnic discrimination in Latin America.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 13). “The Myth of Latin Women” by Judith Ortiz.

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"“The Myth of Latin Women” by Judith Ortiz." StudyCorgi, 13 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "“The Myth of Latin Women” by Judith Ortiz." December 13, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "“The Myth of Latin Women” by Judith Ortiz." December 13, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "“The Myth of Latin Women” by Judith Ortiz." December 13, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) '“The Myth of Latin Women” by Judith Ortiz'. 13 December.

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