Writing In BedThe Hot Latina Deal BreakerMarianna Tabares

My #1 dealbreaker with men is hearing them refer to me as a “Hot Latina” when they are getting to know me for the first time. I’ve had a hard enough time labeling myself as Hispanic or Mexican because American seems to cover enough bases as far as I’m concerned, but some men seem to say it under the assumption that I will be flattered, and I’m just not. I’ve even asked several times to please not be called that, only to find that they keep at it until I go into a long speech about why I don’t want to hear it.

When I hear “Hot Latina”, I can’t help but think of what Eva Longoria, Eva Mendez or all the other attractive Evas are supposed to look like. Slim yet curvy? Long dark hair and brown bedroom eyes? Off the shoulder, ruffly blouses and short skirts? High heels? How do I do this? Am I supposed to have a Sofia Vergara accent as well? I’ve already talked a lot about my slacker sense of style , so I just won’t pull off any of those looks, nor do I want to. What bothers me about this Hot Latina label is that it makes me wonder what the guy is even preoccupied with while he’s getting to know me. Is there some mystique to having parents who were born in Mexico?

I’m not embarrassed of my heritage, but I just don’t see the point of getting labeled so instantly. It makes me feel like all of my personal achievements and all the other efforts that make me the woman I am don’t matter as much as whether I’m attractive and exotic. I hate feeling that at the end of the day, no matter how intelligent I am, my hard work is not as important to a man as being able to say, “I’m dating this hot Latina right now.” Buzz off.

If I needed to come up with my own epithet for the kind of guys I’m into, would it work to say, “Oh, I like a chubby Irish Catholic”? Does it even make sense to bring attention to someone’s ethnicity and sexualize it? Maybe in Hollywood it does, but not in my real life. I’m not any of those actresses and I don’t aspire to be, so I would absolutely appreciate being referred to by my name.

A few years ago, I met a guy who was a few years older than me and despite us having a lot in common, he pushed my deal breaker button. Thing is, I had to tell him several times to stop calling me a “Sexy Latina” or “Hot Latina” because he insisted on it too many times during our phone calls and it became annoying. It made me feel like he hadn’t really listened to anything I shared. I’d hang up feeling unappreciated and trivial and perhaps only good for one thing, and that one thing sure wasn’t my mind.

I’ve had conversations with my best friend regarding the expectations men seem to have when they call us “Hot Latinas.” I hate feeling like I have to meet the expectations that I’m wild, fiery and loud, topping all of my meals with hot sauce and saying naughty things in Spanish. By the way, it’s super uncomfortable to when a guy asks me to say things to him in Spanish when we’re in bed. No, no, no.

If the term “Hot Latina” is going to annoy me, I owe it to good men to make myself conscious of the fact that I should not refer to them by similarly superficial terms like, “hot black guy” or “cute white dude.” I do my best to refer to them by name when I’m talking to my friends about who I’m dating because like any other human being, they deserve that from me. If I only dated men based on their ethnic backgrounds, I’d likely find myself fnding very little happiness due to not directing my focus toward finding out whether they are good people and if our values are compatible.

It did take me some time to figure out why I didn’t like the term at all and I want to be clear that while it’s not a terrible thing to hear, it’s just not for me. If I have to put in too much effort to get a guy to stop saying it, then it’s a good sign to move on and hit the Next button.

Sofia Vergara Image via Shuttershock.com

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  1. I completely agree with you. I am half Japanese and take after that side in my face but I’m also half curvy Caucasian American. When ever I meet guys, they only recognize the Asian side of me. Somehow I’m just the “Asian” that they have met and that makes me some kind of conquest. Then they are surprised and disappointed to find that I’m apparently “not Asian enough”. Suddenly being half Asian requires me to be like an Anime or hentai (“Do you like tentacles?” WTF?). Somehow I haven’t lived up to their expectation of Asian-ness. And honestly, I don’t even get that “not Asian enough” mentality. So I don’t live up to a rude stereotype? Your “hot latina” is my “not Asian enough”

    • Thanks so much for sharing that. I know that I’m limited to understanding just my experience, but hearing yours helps add to this perspective.post a comment

      Marianna | 4/07/2012 03:04 am
  2. I find it depressing that male-folk are so obtuse. I can connect with women of any nationality, if we share similar interests of course. The point is, when I am with a woman, it is her mind and personality that drive me (there must be an ounce of physical attraction of course). Ultimately I am ethnically blinded, and am dumbfounded that people continue to focus on such things.

  3. And a totally hot Canadian guy too boot :)

  4. The Hot Latina is a myth? Geez….and all this time…. but seriously, I have always been afraid of girls with Latin American heritage. Didn’t you ever see A Walk in the Clouds? The father was all up in Keanu’s face. That Keanu is a nice boy.

  5. I agree so much with this. Regardless of background, we are Americans. I am a 1st Generation Native American (off the reservation) and very proud of my heritage and where I come from, but I hate it when people make dumb assumptions. I don’t go riding around half naked on horses, I’m not “EXOTIC” (I’M FROM HERE!!! WE’VE BEEN HERE THOUSANDS OF YEARS!!) or say stupid things like, “Wow, I thought you were all extinct.” (Yes, I’ve heard that, I’m ashamed to say) or “Do you live in a Winnebago?” (that’s my tribe, although we refer to ourselves as Ho-Chunk) or “Don’t piss her off… she might scalp you!” Disgusting. It really amazes me the kind of remarks that come out of people’s mouths that they think are completely acceptable. I don’t like being called “Pocahontas” when I happen to braid my hair. Living in SoCal, many people do assume I’m of Latin/Hispanic descent, and get offended I don’t speak Spanish. I’m a military child, and grew up all over with people of every different background you can imagine, and it still amazes me the amount of ignorance I’ve encountered, with potential suitors and general public as well. Thank you for writing this article.

  6. I can relate to this on SO many levels!! I’m from Venezuela and I’m really white and even my eyes are almond shaped so I don’t even look all that much Latin. I can’t fake a Latin accent when I speak English even if I tried and believe me, I have…..

    Another thing that bothers me, is that when you say you’re latin for some reason, people immediately think you’re from Mexico. Which is a blatant display of ignorance, in my opinion. No disrespect to Mexicans at all, but I mean, there are more countries below Mexico, countries that conform LATIN AMERICA and it bothers me a lot that people think Latin America = Mexico…..
    Also, we are all Americans, as far as I know, we all live in this huge continent called America, some on the North and some on the South, but we still are Americans

    • MJ you are not that light! But anyway, you’re right. To say Latina or Hispanic is an umbrella term and there are so many of us who speak similar languages but have entirely different cultures and traditions.

  7. I get what you mean about the hot latina label, but you dont consder yourself Hispanic or Mexican , so are you choosing not to acknowledge your heritage?. Just a bit confused on that part..

    • Also, I did say I’m not embarrassed of my heritage.

    • That’s a whole other story. I am mostly “American” if that in any way describes the culture in which I’ve been immersed. I’m also of Mexican descent because that is where my family is from, but to be honest, when I visit my family there, it’s hardly different than life here where I am now. That’s something I’ve been trying to figure out my whole life and still working on it, which might be why I feel really weird when a guy tries to push the “Hot Latina” label on me when I have no idea what the hell they perceive in the first place.

  8. Hmmm… I see what you are saying, but I’m not sure I agree. I’m not latina (although there is a Spanish mix in my blood). But, I am a halfer (half asian/half european). Apparently people are into it, because it’s novel, I suppose. My boyfriend calls me his “sexy halfer” all the time. Sometimes my boyfriend just calls me “sexy”. And you know what…I like it. I love being a part of two very different cultures, and that my boyfriend thinks I’m sexy after all this time together. But, I digress. My point is: I don’t see this as him not appreciating my mind or personality. I know who I am. I think when we stop investing our self-confidence in how people label us, then we can start to focus on real issues.

    • My problem with it, as I mentioned, is this. My experience was that i was on the phone getting to know this guy and he threw the term at me several times during the conversation, as if he hadn’t listened to anything I said. We’d be discussing music and he suddenly would interrupt with, “You hot Latina.” I was like, the fuck? It just seemed rude, especially when I asked him 2-3 times to not do that and he kept at it. I finally had to give him a spiel on it and he finally stopped. I just shouldn’t have to say something more than twice because then it means the person isn’t listening at all. We didn’t hang out much after all.
      Another man did the same last year and kept saying, “Latinas with dark hair are my weakness.” Bro, I don’t want to be your weakness just by default. He barely even knew me, so it just seemed inappropriate. There’s way more to me and what I”m saying here is if they insist and insist upon the term, then I know they haven’t listened at all and aren’t looking past my appearance.

  9. I moved to the Mainland US from Puerto Rico when I was 11… suddenly I wasn’t just me, I was the “Puerto Rican” girl.. which wouldn’t bother me, except suddenly all the guys in my class treated me like I was some kind of sex kitten.. when in reality I was just as awkward and shy as the rest of them.. This stigma followed me from middle school all the way to college… men just assumed I’d be “down for whatever” because I’m Hispanic, and openly and deliberately told me so.. it sucked.
    It took me a while to realize that they were wrong, that I didn’t have to submit to some stereotype that was imposed on me.. I’m just me, I don’t need to BE anything but that.

  10. I do think it’s sad that people of Latino descent are labeled as something to make us more acceptable. Why can’t I just be a smart woman? I’ve heard on occasion, “Here comes that Latina attitude.” How do you respond to that without feeding their stereotype? Easy. You say, “Here comes that male bigotry.” But anyway, I don’t think any woman of any race wants to labeled as a sex object. Out here in Arizona, people see my ethnicity as some kind of threat to national security. Hard to decide what sucks worse.

  11. spell check: “ridiculous” and “Sofia Vergara”

  12. totally get where your coming from. I think its a problem that I get to avoid because before they bother about making assumptions about my hispanic-ness people will typically jump to the conclusion that I’m Indian or Middle Eastern. There isn’t anything wrong with being of Indian descent, but when the reality is that I’m a third generation mutt descendant from THREE latin american countires, people making the assumption is just beyond rediculous.

    lol what I wanted to say was, that in an interview Sofia Vegara admitted that her natural hair color is blond; when she started modeling she was pressured to die it dark so as to fit the ‘Hot Latina’ stereotype you’re using her as a model for her.

    • I heard about that! I mean, I’ve known about her for years from her days on a TV show with Fernando Fiore, but I wasn’t aware of the blonde hair/dyed dark thing and I was surprised by it.
      I know that it’s a fun idea, and if you’re in the business of it, then awesome, right? She does look amazing and she has turned that character into something pretty amazing with her role in Modern Family. The way her character flaunts all of those assets, I feel, makes fun of the whole “hot Latina” stereotype. She is making it funny instead of just plain sexy and it’s a formula that fascinates me.
      However, my deal breaker has a lot to do with men coming at me like that’s something I will automatically fulfill for them and I simply cannot and will not. It really weirded me out when one guy was insistent on telling me he had a weakness for latinas. I was like, dude, what do I care? Do you expect me to seduce you?? So, yeah. :)

  13. I love this even though it’s never happened to me. I”m a white girl, so there aren’t many fetishes surrounding my looks, but I hate that so many girls are affected by fetishes. It puts too much pressure on us. Just love us for who we are, not for what paradigm we can fit.

  14. I love this! I was born in Cuba and then moved to Spain at the age of 6, and I’ve been living in here since. The thing is that, no matter where they’re from (Europe, USA, UK, etc.) when they hear it they start to think of me as a goddess with long wavy, dark hair, with an amazing tan and other stuff that are just SO not me. Specially the fact that I’m blonde. To begin with, they always go like “you should keep your hair with your natural dark colour” and I’m like “THIS is my natural hair color” (well not now because I dyed it bright red recently, lol) and other stuff like I’m vegan so I don’t eat lots of meat, I don’t have any Latin music in my Ipod, and I can’t even fake a ‘sexy’ Latin accent.
    I really think that stereotypes are way too much deep inside us. I mean, since we are children they show us how a “typical Asian” is, or “a guy from Sweden is like this” and it really leads to misunderstanding and embarrassing moments in our lives… On the other hand, I do understand that having some stereotypes makes it easier for us to interact with people, but I’d like it better if they could just say something like “they’re like this, but they also can be like that”. I think it would make it easier for all of us.

  15. Im from Brazil and i totally know where you’re coming from. Other than the blatant disregard for geographical knowledge and thinking i speak spanish. There is also always that preconception that latin american women are always up for sex and being called at from afar. I guess what bothers me most about the ‘hot latina’ thing, it isnt the fact that i am latina and attractive, or that i dont like the name itself, but its the expectations of looks/sexuality that tag along with it.

    I think when men call women ‘sexy/hot’ in general it dulls down our achievements, our goals and our education.

    Im proud to be Brazilian and latin american but i agree that i dont want to constantly be sexualised by my geography.

    • I’m Brazilian as well and I just can’t stand that people, men especially, have these expectations of what Brazilian women should look like. No I am not tan, tall, and have an amazing body. It’s ridiculous how I’m expected to look like Adriana Lima. Also, every time someone assumes I speak Spanish because I’m from Brazil I just ask them if they speak American? ;)