Ugly Betty is More Tonta Than Fea
Recently I was watching an episode of Ugly Betty that deeply disappointed me. I was really into the show because America Ferrara is the only Latina on TV that does not fulfill some terrible stereotype. She's kind, smart, funny, cute, and nerdy (so she doesn't show massive plastic cleavage!). And though America has lost a good deal of weight recently, she still looks like a normal person. Yay. It's nice to see a Latina on TV or in the movies who is not half-naked on a game show with a entourage of midgets or is dressed like a sexy 5 year old school girl (creepy, no?) or speaks in a ridiculous accent (I don't like you, Penelope Cruz!) or is "saved" by a whitey like in JLo movies [I've specifically instructed my white boyfriend not to save me]. Refreshing, right? Well my cynicism seemed to be snoozing because I didn't see this one coming. I will do my best to summarize. Please forgive any discrepancies.
Betty (the lovable nerdy Latina assistant at a major fashion magazine) learns of a prize/scholarship/internship(?) for young editors, which is right up her alley because she aspires to create her own magazine one day. The assignment to get this award, in fact, is to develop a full-length magazine. When Betty finds out that the deadline is in 48 hours, she decides to go ahead and do it anyway and works day and night on a magazine called "B." Betty finds out Marc, Wilhemena's intolerable gay, superficial, mean-spirited assistant, is also applying for this award. His magazine, though, is very well funded and has famous contributors. Betty's presentation, nonetheless, is a big hit. Her magazine is feminist and unique. It's all about women having the courage to be themselves. How cute! Betty gets in. When Marc finds out that Betty got in and he didn't, he tells her that the only reason she got in is because she's Latina, that she was only fulfilling some quota. What a fucker. So then Betty is terribly disappointed and feels guilty because she didn't earn it and like an idiot, withdraws from the contest so Marc could have it. How naïve, Betty! Why, why, why? Anyway, so it all works out in the end and both of them end up getting it and they become the best of friends.
This left me feeling dirty. Dirty and mad and yelling "hells nah!" at the TV. Thanks a lot, producer Salma Hayek. You've done great work for us Latinas. As if "Fools Rush In" etc, weren't enough. What a terrible message! Que tonterias. What does this say about affirmative action? Why are people so, so stupid? Let me say a few things to those who don't believe in affirmative action. Did I, a Mexican girl from a gang-infested, poverty-stricken Chicago neighborhood whose school had a daycare to accommodate the students' babies! and whose first language is Spanish, have the same opportunities as a whitey from the suburbs? Answer me this! And let me tell you about my college experience. I've worked incredibly hard, to an obsessive degree at some points, and I've been told or it's been implied that my success has been due to my ethnicity. I played "that card." De veras? Maybe mine got lost in the mail. I didn't know that my reality was "a card." And let me tell you, I've met a very generous amount of intellectually-challenged, lazy gueros in college, drinking away their parents' money and trying to cheat off me during exams. They're ok, but a brown person who has faced incredible amounts of adversity is UNACCEPTABLE. We're moochers and opportunists. Que la chingada
And America, I wish you were still a chubby.
Dr. Consuelo Chimichanga, PhD in Chingaderas