Was Gina Rodriguez's Golden Globes Victory Really a Win for Latinas?
In what has been hailed as possibly the most memorable -- and moving speech -- of the night at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards Sunday, Gina Rodriguez took home the honor of Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy for her role as Jane in the CW's Jane the Virgin.
The Latina approached the stage mouthing the word "wow" over and over again. When she began to speak, her voice cracked with emotion when she said: "This award is so much bigger than myself. It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes."
There's that word again - "represents" - it's a familiar word that get tossed around whenever we talk about Latina identity in all of its intricacies. Some have argued that Rodriguez's win was a win for Latinas across America, but I was left wondering if it really was.
Rodriguez gave an eloquent speech and her win was well deserved, but I can't ignore what else went on the rest of the evening aside from those few celebratory minutes.
Out of the entire crop of presenters, there were only two Latina women on stage the entire night (and the number tally was worse for Latino men: zero). This time around, neither woman was asked to silently stand on a revolving pedestal, both Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez were allowed to move and speak -- so we can breathe a sigh of relief there. Both women were paired, however, men who were anything but gentlemanly.
Take Jennifer Lopez, for instance, who presented the award for Best Miniseries/Drama with Jeremy Renner. When it came time to open the envelope, Lopez said she'd do it since she has the long nails. You could see that Renner was debating whether or not to crack his next -- surely, unscripted -- joke, but alas, he went with it. "You've got the globes too," he said while ogling Lopez's breast.
Lopez is a professional and though she was caught off guard, she laughed off the joke and the crowd laughed along with Renner. But since she's a Latina -- and an attractive woman -- it was a easy joke for Renner. After all, Latinas in the industry have to be busty and curvy to be successful, right? Renner played right into the sexy-Latina stereotype and Lopez was left defenseless.
Next up, Salma Hayek and Kevin Hart presented the award for Best Animated Feature Film. Hart put on his whiny persona and when Hayek tried to help him by pointing out the teleprompter, he responded by making a grand gesture with his arms and calling her "aggressive." He went on to continue the presentation as though Hayek wasn't even there, childishly blurting out the winner.
Hayek and Hart's skit differed from the moment between Lopez and Renner. Hart was, at least, putting on an act, though not a very funny one. In an interview the two presenters gave after walking off stage, Hayek embraced Hart and, in a much more calm and normal tone, he calls her a sweetheart and says, "I got to present with the best person here. The funniest person here."
So perhaps we can think that Hart doesn't intentionally think Hayek is aggressive, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he was still felt free to comment on her actions. Doing her job made Hayek "aggressive," (a familiar insult for most women) and Hart's body and body language boxed Hayek out of the scene.
Though Rodriguez may have left the Golden Globes with a statue in her hand, she also left with something much heavier and unseen: Responsibility. By accepting the Golden Globe in the gutsy way that she did, she took on the responsibility of working to bring an authentic voice to the Latina characters she plays. But most of all, she has taken on the responsibility of positive representation.
Despite Rodriguez wanting representation, wanting heroic depictions of Latinos - especially women - it won't be an easy task. The battles Latinas have to fight, the stereotypes we have to break down, were very much alive and on display at the Golden Globes.
In the Latino community we already see ourselves as heroes, so I'll consider it a win when others start to see it too. In the meantime, it's good to have actresses like Rodriguez to represent us.
Follow Carolina on Twitter, @CarolinaRebeca.
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