Posted by: Ophelia | April 15, 2008

Hot tamales

Iwanex Studio has a gallery of photo retouching up and I noticed an interesting trend. Besides the normal color tweaking, erasing the freckles and wrinkles, and making the models sizes smaller there seems to be a special service for Latina women. Namely, they get bigger butts.

Altered image on the left, original on the right.

In addition to cleaning up her hair, softening her dimples, making her boobs symmetrical, and removing those pesky ribs, they gave her a bit more oomph in the butt.

Eva Longoria’s thighs/butt is widened (notice how close they are to her arm on the left as opposed to the right) while her stomach is flattened.

May as well include a control image:

Besides the ubiquitous color alterations, they made her smaller everywhere–butt included.

Thanks to the advent of J-Lo, butts are in, well–if you’re ethnic. It’s taken to be a common part of Latina beauty and where it doesn’t exist, they’ll create it. Subtle? Yes. Annoying? Yes.

There seem to be two paths that non white women face in beauty standards and that’s either being contrasted negatively with white beauty or having particular non white features fetishized and emphasized. The body types of Longoria and Cruz would have been perfectly acceptable for white women before the butt tweak, and as you see with Kelly Clarkson, the modified bodies of Cruz and Longoria wouldn’t have flown for a white woman.

Silly. Pointless. Polarizing. Racist.

(Thanks to Amelia for the link.)



  1. It’s weird. I am half-Mexican, but I look very white. I also have a nice stereotypical Latina butt, but because I look white, guys tended to make fun of it in high school. It never bothered me…but now it does. My body shape would have been acceptable if I looked more like a Latina, but because I don’t, I get crap about it.

    That’s stupid. It reminds me about that one company that marketed jeans with distinct shapes to specific ethnicities…I think I read about that on Feministing.


  2. Re: those jeans, on the one hand, I have a hard time finding jeans since I have a big butt, at the same time making different jeans for different races/ethnicities presumes that there are standard body types for the races (I’ve met black women without big butts so it’s not mandatory).

    The whole raced body types reminds me of the Bill Mahr post, it’s like white women are supposed to be the most delicate and slight–they’re not allowed to have butts and so they become fetishized amongst the ethnic groups known for having them. It’s so stupid and so annoying. Why can’t white girls have big butts if that’s the way they are? Why aren’t Latinas allowed not to have J-Lo butts if that’s the way they are?

  3. We’re anti-rib now? You have to be so thin that you don’t have ribs? Revolting.

    As for the butt issue, I find that when men do compliment me on my butt they also evoke race. I get comments like, “As a black man, I appreciate what you’ve got back there.” Or, when I was younger, “Yeah, we like a little junk in the trunk.” Even weirder, I’ve heard guys say things like “even though I’m white, I really like nice, round butts.” So your race isn’t just supposed to determine your ideal body type, but your beauty aesthetic as well. This seems like a corporate racial stereotype that the nation has really bought.

  4. And anti uneven boobs.

    The media clings to these categories so tightly, only featuring those that fall within their guidelines that I wonder to what degree they’ve convinced the women and the men that this is what they like as well as what they’re supposed to be.

    It looks like yet another way to code ethnicity in the media, I wonder how the articles these images appeared in were coded linguistically.

  5. Oh my gosh.

    Your post was linked to on Feministing?! That’s great for exposure. Congrats on writing such a worthwhile post. ^_^

  6. Amelia,

    I had the same reaction!

    What a funny coincidence in posts–and thanks to your post on the matter I got the link that brought this to my attention.

  7. I love these kinds of posts. I show them to my 13 year old daughter all the time.

    First thing I noticed on Ms. Longoria is how they plumped up her left arm. So you have to be bone thin, but show no bones. Nice. 😦

  8. […] that much has changed on that front: the beauty myth continues to demand superhuman efforts to meet impossible, and racist, standards, and to simultaneously demand that no one speak of such efforts. Nobody wants to hear about the […]

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