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The Fetishization of Women of Color in Media: Thoughts/ Opinions 

Being a Latina- Puerto Rican to be specific the fetishization of women of color has always been prevalent in my life from a very young age. I started to hear of the concept of being a “spicy Latina” and how many claimed to want a “toxica” (a toxic woman). Being Latina was something that I was now aware was hypersexualized and I hated it. Our attitude, passion, and anger were something that made randoms horny…. ew. And besides the obvious problems of this sexualization, Latinas were now not taken seriously because oh now it's “spicy and sexy” to get cursed out in Spanish so yeah that’s great… I quickly came to realize that I was not the only woman of color to share this experience but as I became more involved in the media this fact had begun to surround me. Our bodies, facial features, hair texture, and style are all being used to create a sex appeal from the Kardashians stealing the look to songs by males that sexualize w.o.c because that is “okay” in the eyes of the media. 

What amused me the most about this sexualization of women of color is the fact that when a man in the media speaks of it it is perfectly okay but when a w.o.c. tries to reclaim that sexuality it is hyper-analyzed and treated horribly in the media. Take the song WAP for example by Cardi B and Megan the Stallion they did exactly what every male rapper ever had done but because they were talking about their own bodies and sexuality it became the largest uprise that made headlines for being “too inappropriate”. Almost every woman of color in a male-dominated environment becomes hyper-sexualized and criticized for doing the same thing that men do, take Nicki Minaj as another example. From the beginning of her career as a rapper, all anyone can talk about is her boobs and ass, if it’s real, and if (insert male rapper's name here) have had sex with her. Instead of focusing on her talents and accomplishments as a black female artist. This same thing occurs to so many women of color trying to make it in this type of work environment yet their accomplishments get overpassed by the way they look or act which of course is heavily focused in the media based on their ethnicity or race even when not purposeful. This is an issue that is so deeply rooted within our society that it often brushes past those who do not have to experience it in person or within consuming media. Something else that comes to mind is the Kardashians and their modern role in this issue. The Kardashians had gained mass popularization and would and still do profit from the culture and looks of women of color which further adds to the sexualization. Off the top of my head alone I can name countless times that the Kardashian/ Jenner family have had braids in their hair or have gotten surgeries to replicate the bodies and lips of a woman of color… hi Kylie. But yet again when they do these things it is not treated as badly as if a woman of color did the same. 

Though women of color experience so much over-sexualization in their everyday lives, there are many saying a big f*ck you to the system and continuing to own their sexuality regardless of the backlash and sidelines. Not to bring up Queen Megan the Stallion again but she is the main woman I think of when I think about owning their own sexuality and saying who cares if I have sex and show my body no matter how uncomfortable it makes others and owning it no matter how hypersexual the media portrays her. Unfortunately, women of color have and probably will be fetishized and hyper-sexualized forever but it does bring me some peace that we are starting to reclaim our identities and sexuality saying we are more than our appearance we are human.

Written by Celeste Nieves

Photography by Diana Victoria

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