With images of Jennifer Lopez’s butt and America Ferrera’s smile saturating national and global culture, Latina bodies have become an ubiquitous presence. Dangerous Curves traces the visibility of the Latina body in the media and popular culture by analyzing a broad range of popular media including news, media gossip, movies, television news, and online audience discussions.
Isabel Molina-Guzmán maps the ways in which the Latina body is gendered, sexualized, and racialized within the United States media using a series of fascinating case studies. The book examines tabloid headlines about Jennifer Lopez’s indomitable sexuality, the contested authenticity of Salma Hayek’s portrayal of Frida Kahlo in the movie Frida, and America Ferrera’s universally appealing yet racially sublimated Ugly Betty character. Dangerous Curves carves out a mediated terrain where these racially ambiguous but ethnically marked feminine bodies sell everything from haute couture to tabloids.
Through a careful examination of the cultural tensions embedded in the visibility of Latina bodies in United States media culture, Molina-Guzmán paints a nuanced portrait of the media’s role in shaping public knowledge about Latina identity and Latinidad, and the ways political and social forces shape media representations.