Creative SubmissionsGender and Sexuality

Muñecas by Lilliana Tapia
Written by: Lilliana Tapia

“You can be thin, but there needs to be curves in there”.

When I was 13, I finally hit puberty and let me tell you how eager I was to “fill in,” like all the other girls had already started to.

Imagine my frustration two, then three, years later weighing a whopping 95 lbs, no tits, no ass.

Society is beginning to embrace curves, they say. The fuller figure is finally accepted in the media. Hooray?

I object.

The media and societal portrayal of the fuller body is by no means any more comforting to us average mortals. Beyonce and J. Lo, we love you but you significantly raised the body standards; thick thighs, big butts, small waist, flat stomach and perfect boobs.

The body image pressure lives on, and has gotten many women as far as the surgical table. Cue the augmentations and injections.

On that note, hello my Dominican women!

If you quickly Google “Dominican body, Dominican body issues, Dominican women” you’ll get

  1. The flawless, gorgeous, perfectly hourglassed models
  2. Perfectly hourglassed social media models
  3.  Before and after surgery pictures

In 2009, a study by students at Hunter College explored Latina women’s, majority from the Dominican Republic, assessment of their bodies; the popular consensus was that Latinas overall are generally more satisfied with their bodies than their white peers, another consensus among these women is that Latina women should be pear shaped or hourglass.

“You can be thin, but there needs to be curves in there” said one participant.

I get it.

The notion is that real women have curves, but how much is too much?

Do the cultural expectations of what Latinas are supposed to look like create added pressure?

Do we really need big boobs and a fat ass to identify us?

Like hell, we don’t.

The struggle to not be a piece of meat (or ass) is ongoing.

But when we choose to endure the cutting, nipping, tucking, injecting and so on…. Like a slab of meat on that surgical table . . . then we may or may not walk out reinforcing that notion.

In 2011 the New York Times published an article exploring plastic surgery among ethnic groups and how they mirror certain ideals. While discussing the patients in the Washington Heights clinic who choose to get “their rear ends enlarged and rounded,” reference was made to a recent breast implant patient; a 27 year old Latina who was then considering buttock lift to obtain what she calls “the silhouette of a woman.”

The truth is,

More and more Latinas are resorting to plastic surgery as a means of obtaining the “ideal body.” If you happen to be a body issues survivor, and I use that term loosely, then you very well know that the ideal body does not exist.

The ideal body is just that, an idea.

Us Latina women are so proud of our curves, that we’ve allowed them to define us.

I can’t help but wonder why do we choose to embrace certain standards imposed upon us by society and then possibly resort to extreme measures to obtain them?

Now, I’m the first person to advocate for self-love.

I’m also quite the enabler, I will remind you that you’re going to die one day, so you should do whatever makes you happy right now.

So nip and tuck if it fills your heart.

I’m as aware as the next woman that sometimes it’s necessary.

I mean, I’m probably getting botox one day.

And post-baby, don’t be surprised if I end up cutting off excess fat that I can’t lose at the gym.

I’m not kidding.

But women of the Latinx world, you don’t really need the breast augmentation, butt lift, or lip injections. You may not even really need that tummy tuck or lipo. Your womanhood is not defined by your body by any means. “You alone are enough, you have nothing to prove to anybody.”

About the author, Lilliana Tapia: Born in Dominican Republic and raised in NYC, is a LMSW and a writer at heart.  An objective, resourceful, socially aware bookworm with strong opinions. She has worked with a wide range of individuals, from an array of different backgrounds, yet professionally and personally her aim has remained constant; to enrich lives, create spaces, fuel conversations and project her voice and that of others.



Leave a Response