Angela's Reviews > Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina

Hijas Americanas by Rosie Molinary
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's review
Jun 26, 2010

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bookshelves: sd-fem-bookclub
Read from June 24 to 26, 2010 , read count: 1

Hijas Americanas presents the results of the author's survey of hundreds of Latina women about straddling US and their various Latina cultural backgrounds, from how ethnicity informed their relationships with their families and discrimination they faced to body image problems they encountered coming of age in a culture where there are few Latina role models.

It was interesting reading for me, since I'm not very familiar with Latina perspectives..and the discussion of body and appearance issues was certainly interesting, since eating disorders are almost always presented as the exclusive domain of upperclass white women. (For example, Greg Critser criticizes Americans' concern about eating disorders, telling us that it's a rich white girl problem while poor women, especially poor Latina and Black women, are mostly killing themselves gorging on baby-flavored donuts.) Perhaps, this book made me realize, it isn't that women in other subcultures don't suffer from eating disorders as much as that we're slow to recognize them as such?

In any case, it's a terrific exploration of the unique challenges Latina girls and women face, and very thought provoking. The book is mostly anecdotal, and the beginning and ending chapters are mostly filled with heartwarming platitudes about demanding that internal beauty be valued over external (good luck with that!), but reading the various women's stories was an interesting, enlightening view of the assorted cultures from which the women hailed.
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