Summary Of Myth Of The Latin Woman

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The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named María is an essay by Judith Ortiz Cofer that addresses the impact of stereotyping on Latino women. Throughout the essay, Cofer relates her personal experiences with stereotypes to discuss how they have negatively affected her life and the lives of other Latinas. She also explains how these stereotypes originated and calls on her audience, the majority-white non-Latino population, to stop propagating the stereotypical portrayals of Latino women. In The Myth of the Latin Woman, Cofer speaks out about how stereotyping hinders the process of assimilating to a new culture by appealing to ethos through her personal experiences, using similes that show how stereotypes create isolation, and adopting …show more content…

She begins the essay by relating the story of how an Irishman serenaded her on a bus with a Spanish song because of her Puerto Rican appearance. Cofer then comments on the double-edged nature of the stereotypes her appearance elicits. “This is sometimes a very good thing—it may win you that extra minute of someone’s attention. But with some people, the same things can make you an island—not so much a tropical paradise as an Alcatraz, a place nobody wants to visit” (547). In this simile, Cofer compares the isolation that someone feels when others stereotype him/her to the confinement of the prison island of Alcatraz. Moreover, she reveals that stereotypes mark people as undesirable and separate them from the rest of society, thus impeding their assimilation. Cofer uses another simile when she details her experience with an American boy at her first formal dance: “ … [He] said in a resentful tone: ‘I thought you Latin girls were supposed to mature early’—my first instance of being thought of as a fruit or vegetable—I was supposed to ripen, not just grow into womanhood like other girls” (549). In this simile, Cofer shows how those who stereotype Latino women compare them to fruits and vegetables because both are supposed to mature rapidly. However, she denounces this comparison by emphasizing that it dehumanizes Latino women and reduces them to the status of mere plants while creating a

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