In the excerpt, “My Hips, My Caderas” by Alisa Valdes, gives distinctive examples of her life story to develop a meaning for how society perceives women. America strives to fit the perception of beauty because it is the single physical characteristic that makes us matter. Her anecdotes show us how the world shapes our thoughts to brainwash us. Alisa Valdes personal experiences are a service to provide a better explanation of how we perpetrate in order to be welcomed in society. “Beauty is in the eye of the culture. ” This is an essential quote that summarizes the moral of Valdes story.
Being a biracial woman, she received perspectives from two cultures about the way she looks. Valdes is white and Cuban. She is a girl with hips and curves. She is seen as voluptuous. White Americans and Cubans have different viewpoints on how women should look and what beauty is considered to be. Valdes body type isn’t accepted in by all of her family because of the type of the different type of society they live in. As a child it confused her as to what herself image should be. Her mother’s side of the family is white Americans who believed being skinny was the key to beauty.
In America, we have several reminders of what we should look like. Our models are size zeros. All our foods are low fat or reduced in calories producing dieting. We also promote surgery to stay skinny. Hips or la caderas are seen as fat which is ugly, ugly being the antonym for beauty. On the contrary her father’s side believed that the thicker you were or the more curves that complimented one’s body made you more of a woman. That notion highlighted a woman’s beauty. Caderas, often referred to in her explanation, simply translated is hips.
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In Latin cultures caderas are the stomach, waist, and thighs. It’s all that makes a “real woman”. La caderas are the essence of a woman. Those who don’t posses these caderas are seen as sick. It’s unattractive to the eye. The different cultures that she exemplifies contradict each other. Valdes has significant times in her child hood where she remembers the two cultures impacted the way she thought about herself. Being involved in her father’s culture, being voluptuous was a blessing. When Valdes was 12 she remembers the Chicanos making catcalls at her because she was so curators.
She took those signs of beauty for granted and started to diet, taking to the American way of beauty. She also talks about her and her friend going to dance and men lining up to dance with her and her turning them down because she said “I often say ”no”, because I can”. This leads me to infer that she felt beautiful and she knew she was due to her hips. If she didn’t think so she wouldn’t turn the men down. That culture made her appreciate herself and have positive outlooks about how she looked. In America she remembers being in a step aerobics class and women making negative statements about how she looks.
She sometimes hear the woman in the front row whisper “My God, would you look at those hips”. Her attributes are looked down upon as if they are a bad thing in America. She has experienced both cultures and have a gotten a different response on her body. Self image is destructive but it’s what makes civilization significant. The world revolves around images that are acceptable and it’s the drive around the world. In the society we live in, civilization is based on appearance. Our world rotates on its axis because of it. It’s deadly to walk outside without makeup on or above a certain weight.
American’s have reality television that are designed just for losing weight and to critique the appearance of our celebrities. Everyone is a target in America to bee objectified. There is no discrimination. In middle school I was often picked on for being so skinny and I hated my body. When I got to high school I started to gain weight not in my “caderas” but my butt. I started to love my body more because everyone else did. Girls would tell me how they would kill for my shape and I would tell them how I would love to have theirs. I wanted breast and hips like those girls but they wanted to be a stick like me, I couldn’t understand.
Those girls were envisioning themselves as being the females they see on the television and I was the closest thing to their dreams. Continuously taking my body for granted the next teenage girl was admiring my imperfections perfectly. I learn eventually to embrace my small figure but looking at celebrities like Beyonce’ and other full figured women I get self conscious sometime. It’s as if my body isn’t good enough and I fall back into the depression of why my body can’t look a certain way. It is a struggle in itself because your image is your introduction.
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