Beauty cannot be synonymous to a single set of characteristics

5 various Latina women of different backgrounds and looks are looking at a television screen with two white passing women
(Lyndzi Ramos | Daily Trojan)

Querida Latinas, you have seen Teresa and Rubí on the big screen as their beauty attracts men both on and off the screen. You have also seen María Elena Velasco play “La India María,” one of the most popular characters in Mexico. However, while “La India María” portrays a humorous and entertaining representation of Indigenous groups in Latin America, it is widely inaccurate. Teresa and Rubí fall into the same boat as they present the image of a “white beauty” to a diverse audience. 

As young Latinas glance at the TV, they are met with white-passing women catching the eyes of men. Their light eyes and pale skin confuse young girls, making them believe that their nose, skin and hair are not as beautiful as the actresses on screen who don’t share their features. But Afro/Indigenous features are beautiful, and Eurocentric features are not synonymous with beauty. 

In October 2022, TikTok was filled with the damaging trend of the “copy and paste Latina.” Creators took to TikTok to attempt the trend by posting makeup tutorials on how to recreate the “look.” The tutorial demonstrates how to contour your nose into a “perfect” button shape and how to achieve silky-straight hair. But a button nose and straight hair do not define beauty. 

Audiences said they felt like the trend was just another racist commentary on how “all Latinas look alike” and were stereotyping them into a “basic” category — something that is far from the case as Latin America is beyond diverse, with Black and Indigenous beauty shining from Mexico to Chile. 

Contrary to the title of the trend, copying and pasting a makeup and hair tutorial on TikTok is not beauty. The definition of beauty is not a trend and the only thing making it one does is evoke questions and feelings of insecurities for young girls. 

Latin America is filled with 33 countries with diverse populations — none of which the media and the “copy and paste Latina” trend highlight. No woman should hide their nose, straighten their hair or try and lighten their skin tone to meet an unachievable standard. Your real beauty is already there, and it took years to evolve.

As trends like these appear on the explore page, it is essential to remind Latinas that no feature is a requirement for beauty. Trends are meant to be filled with joy and excitement to inspire viewers to participate in them. However, this trend was the exact opposite, as it put down women who do not have the features and called those who do “basic.”  

Beauty standards are rooted in Eurocentric features, which makes women of color question their beauty and analyze their features in the mirror when their beauty is already present. 

You already carry beauty and people must refrain from categorizing groups and placing them as standards to follow. Young girls should not be straightening their curls and placing tape on their noses to diminish its bump just to fit into a standard set by colonization. 

Beauty does not remain in one race. Beauty consists of every feature, every skin color, every hair type and everyone. Makeup tutorials should teach young girls how to embrace what they already have and not conform to an idealistic version of themselves, so stand out and flaunt your natural features.