Changing Perception of Latinas, One Selfie at a Time

PHOTO: Get to know the faces behind the "Reclaiming the Latina Tag" TumblrTumblr/Reclaiming the Latina Tag
Get to know the faces behind the "Reclaiming the Latina Tag" Tumblr

Google "Latina." Now, do the same search for the word on Tumblr. You'll get something that looks like this:

Now, of course, if you're attracted to Latinas (or women who look like a Latina stereotype), then, well. The internet is a strange and beautiful thing in that it provides you with so much access to whatever it is that turns you on, be it a lady with red hair, a man with a mustache, or triplets sitting on plates of spaghetti in animal costumes. You do you.

A problem arises, though, when a group -- particularly a racial or ethnic group -- is given a very specific sexual value online. Out in the real world, the term Latina can take on many nuances and meanings in conversation depending on context and who is speaking or being spoken to. Online, however, the currency of the word is very tightly linked with sex, either explicitly or more subtly (read: descriptions like "fiery" or "spicy"). The term becomes less a moniker for a diverse group, and more a subcategory of porn and cheesecake.

Reclaiming the Latina Tag (a Tumblr we've written about before as part of our "Tumblr of the Week" feature) is addressing and combatting this reality by asking their readers to tag their posts with "Latina" -- a simple, impactful way of broadening, at least on one social network, the value and implications this term has online. Recently, they've taken that one step further by asking for "selfies" (or, a photo taken of oneself)(do not Google it at work, seriously)(S E R I O U S L Y) of their Latina readers. While selfies get a bad rep for displaying the worst of our generation's collective narcissism (and our penchant for duck lips), this campaign aims to highlight that Latina millennials are empowered and have the tools at their disposal to "take back" the definition of this label. In this context, a "selfie" isn't about seeking validation for one's looks, it's about actively claiming ownership of one's self, from the shape of our noses to the texture of our hair to the identity we choose for ourselves. Never apologize for selfies, y'all.

The campaign is done in solidarity with another Tumblr, Angry Asian Girls United, which addresses the concerns of another, diverse group of women that often deals with its fair share of general online skeeviness.

The result is phenomenal: Young women from diverse backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender representations, races, religions, educational levels, and economic backgrounds have all gathered together through this campaign to represent themselves on their own terms.

Want to join in? Photos can be submitted through the Tumblr itself, with the mods asking readers to remember their motto when submitting: "Because we don't belong to your hypersexualization and fetishization."