There's Beauty In My 'Girl Culture'

I am a hyper-feminine Latina, meaning I perform girl culture through an exaggerated lens. And the girl culture that I perform falls outside the "good girl" framework where pink and modesty are the key elements of this culture. This preferred girl culture is infused with upper middle class Americanized standards of beauty that tend to infantilize women and essentially feeds rape culture by requiring us to cover our bodies to perform "good girl" correctly. Otherwise, if you are not a "good girl," whatever comes your way is your own doing.

No.

I perform a hood type of hyper-feminine Latina girl culture that says I am pretty AF, but I will kick your ass if you get in my way. It is deviant, only because of the aforementioned classist standards that deem us -- me -- too far outside of acceptable standards placed on women. Therefore, to a colonized mind, we are out of control.

I wear acrylic nails that breathe life into my soul. They are long, they are sharp, and they will help me tear your eyes out if you threaten my autonomy. I wear long fake lashes because it is pretty, and I do not need any other reason to justify that to you.

Red is my color. I love how my brown skin looks in red lipstick, red dresses and red shoes. It is my ode to the fiery Latina stereotype; I reclaim this color that has been used to pigeonhole us by living and breathing against that very stereotype. This praxis helps me discern who I can fuck with and who I need to put on my shit list, because how you approach a Latina wearing red says more about you than it does about me.

I wear tacones thick enough to stomp on some hearts. Because everything about my aesthetics says I love myself. They also say I love myself so much that I will not waste my time entertaining your machista ways.

I wear a lot of jewelry. I love jewelry. I am adorning myself according to my status, and I am a queen, you see. My jewelry, whether fake or real, is part of me claiming myself to myself. I am regal.

ALL these things are not frivolous. They have a purpose and a hard-hitting intent for how I reject social control as a woman of color. These things are also my means of actively loving myself.

I love how I feel in heels. I love how strong I look to myself with acrylic nails. I love walking past a reflective surface and admiring myself, because loving myself has been an upward battle, but it is something that I cherish and something that I actively need to participate in.

So think twice next time you judge someone who gets a little too excited about that matte nail polish, because we are not being silly girls. We are actively participating in the ways in which the world sees us. We are sculpting an image, strategically and with a lot of care. Whether you understand it or not, it is not about you. It is about us.

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