The Issue with Beauty Standards Presented in Latin Music Video

 

With the evergrowing popularity of trap artists, it’s only logical that we speak about a glaringly obvious problem: the under-representation, stereotyping and dehumanization of women of color in music videos. At first, I didn’t really notice it, to be quite honest, then the music video for “Cual es tu plan?” dropped. I was jamming, HARD, along to Ñejo, PJ Sin Suela, and Bad Bunny.

when I first took notice of the last scene, an afro-latina woman playing the angry black woman screaming after the others who were leaving their work stations, leaving her to do all the work. This scene quickly changes to a house party in which women’s representation follows a  pattern: white skin, straight hair and very skinny. This is problematic when contrasted with the previous scene. The imagery seems to imply that white presenting women are placed in a positive light whilst the previous scene presents the afro-latina woman as negative. I was shocked, first by the lack of good representation of afro-latinx people in a Latinx music video, and secondly by the stereotyping of black women as impulsive and aggressive. Another music video which only presents one form of beauty is “Si Estuviesemos Juntos” by Bad Bunny. While Benito’s lyrics are great on keeping things “neutral,” this video (to use one as an example) presents us with only one of the many ways Latinx people can look like. Videos like this seem to forget that we are a very diverse culture and that we can look vastly different from each other even when we are from the same family.

As I grew conscious of the problem presented, I took notice of little instances in music videos where black women are nowhere to be seen. This contrasted with how common Spanish music lyrics seem to place white women as the standard, such as songs like “Sola” by Anuel AA  (“Ella es blanquita como la coca”) and “Madura” by Cosculluela and Bad Bunny (“El pelo rubio que aguanta cualquier diluvio (prrr) De Asia, eso no es tinte de farmacia (nope)”) which only promote these non-inclusive views. Views like this only push forward the narrative that if you don’t conform to the eurocentric standards that have been set as the norm you’re not worth much. This causes a negative impact on the people which these views reject, from self-esteem issues to discrimination based on their looks, hair, or the way they talk (to name a few).

Some people might see this as okay, or it simply goes unnoticed, but by having these lyrics written and using one type of model in the respective music videos it says that only people who look a certain way are meant to be liked, desired and appreciated; that our ultimate goal in life should be to aspire to be as close as possible to that standard, no matter the cost. Now, these aren’t the greatest artists to follow for beauty standards, but they’re influential and what they express, like it or not, will have a direct impact on society. People might say that we’re putting too much weight on some simple video or lyrics, but: we mustn’t forget how celebrities can have a huge influence in our lives how we think and how we perceive ourselves.

 

We CANNOT forget how much Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse impacted people of color. Seeing a representation on a screen that doesn’t portray people of color in a negative light uplifted and inspired many POC. Media influences our daily lives whether we want it to or not, and representation matters. It matters how we portray and describe people of color, as people will assume this portrayal is the truth. This is why music videos need to do a better job of equally portraying everyone and in the same light. There’s still a long way to go for equal representation in Latinx media and we shouldn’t ignore this, but in the meantime let's enjoy the little wins.