Breaking Hispanic Norms One Daughter At A Time

During Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate our brown skin and our Hispanic culture all month long however, for some Hispanic daughters the celebration is within the four walls of their parents home. There is a common stereotype about women in our culture, which is that we are frowned upon if we are ambitious. I myself have dealt with that stereotype.


I chose a career which requires me to spend extra time in school, and every time I want to vent to my mother she always tells me the same thing,


“Pues porque no te dedicas a trabajar.” Meaning, “well why don’t you just dedicate yourself to just working.” 


Yes, it does get frustrating but I also know that they aren’t used to seeing a woman with ambition and love for a career because for them they had been working even before the age of eighteen.


I know that in my family I have been and felt like the black sheep for so long. Why? Well, because at the age of eighteen when everyone in school was getting acceptance letters and a congrats from their parents,

I was getting the “no quiero que te vayas de la casa.”  Which means “I don’t want you to leave this house.”  

I remember getting an acceptance letter to Mary Hardin Baylor, but being under my parents’ roof and having them financially support me made it hard to see myself there. This is when I knew that I needed to break my parents’ norms of what a Hispanic daughter could and couldn’t do. 


I got a job at our local grocery store that summer behind their backs, because I knew they would be upset to know I was working instead of being home taking care of my siblings and cleaning the house. Now having my own income, I decided to move out and believe me that did not go well. My mother was very upset and disappointed that her daughter was moving out. Its because of this, her and I actually stopped talking for three months but to us that was more like 3 years. She felt betrayed that I would leave the nest, shea always provided for me so to her it felt like I was abandoning her. We would do everything together but I felt like I needed to finally grow and experience my college life. 


So, I decided to break all the expectations of what a good Hispanic daughter should be, now I'm doing full-time school and work while also running my own photography business. I know that I didn’t come this far to just give up because even though I moved out when I was eighteen, got a job behind my parents back to have my own income, and ultimately leave the small townhome I’ve always known, my heart will always love my parents. 


I look up to women like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and any powerful Latina/Hispanic in a position of power because I know that they had to break some generational norms to become who they are. Being a first-generation student and a DACA recipient, I’ve always put pressure on myself to be ambitious and gain as many experiences as I can because that is growth to me, even if that means rewriting what being a daughter in a Hispanic household looks like.