See What You Are Missing…

Univision, one of the biggest television broadcasting network for Latino viewers have launched their “See What You’re Missing” campaign in response to the information released by the Census that “Hispanics account for approximately 56 percent of the total population growth from 2000-2010.” In their video for the campaign, Univision talks about the queer latinidad of dualism and the reality of the merging of two cultures resonates what life has been like for many Latinos in the United States. Nonetheless, when the campaign is looked into closely what Univision is really trying to do is allow America to see the value in Hispanics because it allows them potential to “unleash their economic growth”. It also strongly stereotypes Hispanics with Novelas, Futbol and Tamales (all things that play a major role in Mexican culture). The video also fail to include Latino queer culture , but i see how that could be expected since Univision is trying to please the larger Heteronormative audience of America. of Is this the only way that the Hispanic population can become appealing to Americans? Should we simply be looked as economic consumers and not as college graduates, doctors, engineers, factory workers, government officials, and students? Should we be generalized into simply being possible economic profit and just that?

Marketing itself at the “#1 Place To Reach Hispanics,” Univision has taken it upon themselves and the rest of America the following two questions: what are we/you doing to include Hispanics in the marketing plans and how do we/you know we’re/you’re doing it right? Their website for this campaign then proceeds to provide the American audience with three basic principles which Univision deems important when assessing the two previously asked questions. The major subheading on the three principles were as follows:

  1. Think Hispanic During Every Planning Stage– Total market planning isn’t about shifting budgets. It’s about doing more with what you’ve got. It’s about looking for growth and delivering brand results by identifying and marketing to all your potential consumers. As you define your strategy and success metrics; as you conceive new products and design new packaging; as you develop new creative and media plans; constantly ask yourself and your teams: “What about Hispanic?”
  2. Reach Hispanics In Culture- Brands strive to lead with insights and connect with consumers emotionally. How do you accomplish that in this multicultural nation? By speaking to them in their language and their culture. Nielsen ad effectiveness research shows that, through communicating in-language and within a culturally relevant environment, ads realized significantly higher recall and likeability. (2)
  3. Understand Acculturation- Finally, don’t make the common mistake of thinking that acculturation automatically means English proficiency. Acculturation is about culture but language is just one expression of Hispanic culture. One can be completely fluent in English and still “lean Latino” in values, traditions, and key consumer behaviors like food, media consumption and entertainment choices.

I, personally, feel really uncomfortable with this. Firstly, because the term Hispanic (his-panic) makes me feel really uncomfortable, I am no one’s panic. Secondly, because it asserts the innate capitalism in every American that something can only be valued when it becomes of use. There is a strong sense that “Hispanics” have now become important, implying that they weren’t before, because their numbers are growing.  Now, big business and marketing companies need to reassess their marketing techniques to include Hispanics in theirs plans simply because it will of a benefit to their company. But why shouldn’t Latinos be recognized as legitimate citizens of the county simply off the fact that many Latino immigrants are working on agricultural fields and doing many jobs that white Americans don’t want to be doing? Why should Latinos be made to feel important because the numbers of first generation Latino students to attend college is increasing?

I think that one of the things that is really bothering me s that the queer latinidad that is individually experienced as a Latino/a as a marginalized group for so many years is now being exploited to de-marginalize us and bring us into the center. Univision’s way of doing this is by but by telling companies how to exploit Latino/as into buying their goods and making us vulnerable to large corporations. It extremely confusing for me to get my thoughts into words but why couldn’t we be brought into the center because we have been under-acknowledged as minorities for so many years and the work of undocumented immigrants have been appreciated? Why isn’t it enough that are numbers are high for us to be recognized? Why must we only consider ourselves important based on whether or not businesses market to us? Why should Latino/as be only considered as a large marketing group and not as individual in search of American opportunities? Why is it that our marginalized, queer experiences, dualism and ability to speak two languages used as a marketing scheme by Univision for large businesses?

Here’s what I have to say to America:

No, thank you. I recognized that you have taken me into consideration when marketing simply because the number of Latinos is growing. Value me because I am a citizen of the United States and not just a marketing group that you can exploit. Don’t see me and think how I can be of an asset to your business. Talk to me in Spanish because you want to get to know my culture and me. Understand my dualism as a construction of my queer identity and slowly learn to respect it. Come to terms with the reality that I am not going anywhere and that there is a need for Ethnic Studies courses, not only because our numbers high, but because even with low numbers there is a great need for Latino students to understand their history. Understand my ethnicity to be different than that of other Latinos. Latino’s are not all Mexican. Do not generalize, discriminate, or marginalize. Our numbers are growing; take us into consideration as part of what constitutes the American people, but not as just a marketing group.

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Queering the Cyber World

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As you read this can you see me? Have you seen me before? What do I look like? TELL ME!

Truth is you can’t see me. Therefore, you don’t know who I am, even if you’ve seen me before or know what I look like. Sure, I can tell you that I am 5’7”, slim, and that, as a Latina, I look like all the other hyper sexualized Latinas in the media. Depending on what you’re into, that might just turn you on. I can also tell you that I am a 6’ male, with a hot body, amazing pelvic cuts, vice president of a company and I might even go as far as tell you that I am amazing in bed. Now reality is that in the cyber world I can be any of these things and at the same time I can be neither. Don’t let this scare you. Many have found numerous ways to embrace the cyber world and use it to their advantages.

I recently finished reading, “Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Space” by Juana Maria Rodriguez. In “Queer Latinidad,” Rodriguez aims to break down the notions of identity, how one is perceived, how one performs identity and ultimately the power that identity has over the self.  Rodriguez not only focuses on identities valued as the social norms, but also queer identities; those identities many are afraid to claim, unable to explain, and incapable of sharing. Through her exploration of such identities, she concentrates on the process by which Latin@ identities take on different meanings when involved with language, politics, cultures, and public policies. Rodriguez introduces identity as:

“Identity is more than a list of categories that name out sexuality, gender, HIV status, nation, age, ethnicity, ability, class language, citizenship status and religion. Even if we expand this list to include all the other significant features of ourselves, what do these attributes actually explain about our lives? What aspects of identity exceed the categories we have created to define our place in this world.” (Rodriguez, 21)

I want to take it a step further and ask what role does identity play beyond this world. How is queer identity shaped differently in the cyber world and what the Internet world allows for one’s self-expression of identity?

When elaborating on cyberspace, Rodriguez quotes de la tierra.

‘Who I am electronically? Well, I am not differently from who I am in person, but I am more of who I really am. Electronically I tend to be more honest, spontaneous, affectionate, wild, hip, desirous, poetic, and easy going than I am in real life, where I tend to be moody, to put it politely. In fact, I’m much more pleasant person to be ground when I’m not really there.” – de la tierra (127)

Why does one feel that they can be more of themselves online than in real life? It’s a shame that society has so many standards by which one’s identity is judged, given privilege to, and ostracized. When considering queers the cyber world is a non-judgmental world; a world where no one really knows who you are and one can create themselves to be whoever they want to be. They can become sexier, express sexual desires, be more daring, and outrageous.  The cyber world provides an escape from the real world full of hate towards culture deviance. With every new log in, a new identity can be formed. People find it easier to entrust total strangers than trust their own friends, as it allows them to truly be who they are and say what ever they want without being scared because they don’t know who they are talking to. Trying to assert new identities on others with every new encounter with someone else online only asserts one’s personal identity.

I am very much aware that sexual predators, rapists and perverts can use the Internet with negative intentions in mind. Nonetheless, I want to focus more on the idea of being able to express true identity instead of how false created identities can be used to do wrong. I also would like to keep in mind though that false created identities can be used to assert real identity—false identities that are not made to do wrong, but to further explore the self.

Queers, or those who go against the normative of heterosexuality, turn to online sex chatting websites to express their sexuality in the real world. . Yet, still even the simple idea of online chatting has been socially constructed to be a heteronormative act. When “people chatting online” is searched with Google pictures it’s hard to find same sex users chatting with one another. Mostly, all the pictures are of a man talking to a woman. Thus, its not surprise why queers must search under the cyberspace norms to find places to communicate.  Queer websites range from lesbians, gays, Spanish speaking gay males, to English speaking lesbians, Black lesbian, Canadian gay men, and many other categories. Such websites provide a safe net against hate and discrimination. On such websites, anyone can explore their deepest sexual desires—whether it be a heterosexual female who wants to talk to lesbians or explore her curiosity. In today’s society she will be quickly criticized, questioned, and maybe even laughed at. But in the comfort of her own home, she can be whomever she wants or wants to be. It’s like unleashing the true being lying within the norms of society.

I choose to focus on identity and its crossing with the Internet because over the past few years the Internet has grown into far more than just a search engine. The Internet has turn into a place of rapidly growing social networking. There is far more than Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Tumblr, and even blog sites. Just like cities, the Internet too has its low-key sites where queers venture into in order to interact with other queers, in order to feel a sort of similarity with other, to explore and assert who they truly are, and to not feel judged or discriminated. Cyberspace has become a world of its own, offering many options for one to further explore who they are when real life doesn’t allow one to do so in public without being judge. It’s interesting to think of the Internet in that way. I never stopped to think about the complexities and all that the Internet has to offer beyond the search engines, online shopping, and Facebook. The idea of the Internet and identity should be taken more into consideration because ultimately, it’s a shame that queers have to hide from exploring themselves within real life.