Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date

Fall 2022


Music and Performing Arts, College of


Theatre and Dance, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. James Al-Shamma

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


The stereotype of the “Spicy Latina” is as prevalent today as it was in the early days of film, and tracing its origins leads to the discovery of a complicated root system of prejudice and stereotype. From the days of Lupe Velez and the film Mexican Spitfire, to the TV shows Modern Family and Jane the Virgin, Hollywood has never seemed to know how to portray Latinas in all of their complexity. This paper investigates how the white male gaze has shaped the perception of Latinas in the media, and how even the modern, more diverse media landscape contributes to the proliferation of these harmful portrayals. It sheds light on the consequences of leaving Latinas out of the telling of their own stories.