Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Don't Call Me Exotic: Reactions to Latina Representation
by Valenzuela, Patricia, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 81; 27833841
Abstract (Summary)

The internet has quickly made the world a smaller place, forming networks that spread media and make connections farther than ever at our fingertips. This globalization exacerbates social pressures and strains individuals’ subjectivity by limiting access to space needed to form communities. In this context, the relationship between media and the individual deserves new attention. By avoiding a linear relationship between media and the individual, this study examines capillary movements on social media and focuses on a community of Latina bloggers on a microblogging site as they navigate through images to create identities of their own. Applying cultural knowledge, humor and aesthetics, young women use the tools they have available to “talk back” to images that have shaped their histories, cultures and, by consequence, their self-perceptions. In this way, media becomes a contested space where these women can attempt to build an identity on their terms.

By sharing their own images and stories, young women carve a space for themselves and each other to produce their own counternarratives. These counternarratives and the means by which they are spread, though small in scale, work to subvert mainstream media and the narratives it produces. These movements may not appear revolutionary; however, the practices arm the young women who participate in them with the comfort that they belong to something greater than themselves. This reassurance is important to the creation and sustainment of an identity for any marginal demographic. For the Latinas interviewed in this study, the power to do so instills a sense of empowerment over their personal and cultural growth.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Loewe, Ronald
Commitee: LeMaster, Barbara, Garcia-Orozco, Antonia
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/3(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Web Studies, Latin American Studies
Keywords: Social media, Social identity, Latina
Publication Number: 27833841
ISBN: 9798664789607
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