by Guest Contributor Alex Alvarez, originally published on Guanabee
One thing that’s kind of irked us about the term “Latino” over the years is, beyond how its used to encompass such a wide range of people, is that it’s often used in mainstream media as a synonym for “Chicano,” specifically the cholo and chola subculture, which is a very insular, unique group. We find all the most superficial trappings of that group: Chola style, lowriders, art, literature slang like “firme” interesting enough and we definitely think Chicano culture has been an asset to the Latino community at large but, you know. It’s just not who all of us are.
So when “BrownPride.com” declares itself a site for “Firme Clothing and Latino Fashion,” we’re both all “This is awesome!” and “So we guess we’re not… Latina?” If we, like their model, were to ever step out wearing a tank top that said “Firme” and our hair in cornrows, we would systematically get punched in the face. Hell, we’d punch ourselves in the face. It’s both not what we’re comfortable with or a subculture that’s for us. We’re not allowed to participate, almost. We’re not much good at it, either. If we tried to make this model’s “Attitude Face,” we’d probably be advised to eat more roughage to clear that problem right up. Arugula, at that.
So while we love Chicano culture and chola style, we don’t love umbrella terms or being misrepresented. Not by mainstream media and certainly not by one another. Because, if you allow us to get a little Hallmarkesque on you for a quick second, being Latina is in our genes. Not our jeans.