February 9

Week 5-

READ:  Images- Producing Culture for the Market from Latinos, Inc.

RJ: Answer ONE of the following questions-

How does Davila’s methodology (what she did) affect her findings? How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?

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21 Responses to February 9

  1. Diana says:

    How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?
    She summarizes her findings as the common representation that is seen in today’s media – Latinos are their own culture in which they do no “fit” into an anglo society.
    As Latinos struggle to create their own identity within the stereotyped media, anglos begin to formulate a concrete picture of what a Latino identity is. For example, the belief that all hispanics are family-oriented sharing a “generic” latin look discriminates many hispanics that are bi-racial. Creators who try to find lighter-skinned latinas as oppose to darker skin ones sell to the public because we’ve become so invested in whiteness. Creators lead the public in believing that Latinos are relatable to the american identity because Latinos are becoming more “white.” Whites are aware that Latinos uphold values such as a boyfriend asking his girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage; therefore, the hispanic market create these sensitive commericals speak to Latinos. In almost every commerical the author points out that women are always seen in the kitchen; therefore, stereotypes are reinforced due to their specfic role they play within the family. Yet there are loop holes within the hispanic media because their are mutiple identities amongst Latinas and one specific representation in the media may lose sight of latinidad, a important factor for hispanic consumers.

  2. Becky Esrock says:

    How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?

    I though the chapter’s discussion on the social construction of Latinos through the advertising world was interesting. The manner with which Latinos are depicted in advertising has not remained stagnant over the course of time. Rather, they have shifted over time from an overtly stereotypical image of Latinos to one that is more generic and subtle. The chapter talks of the media’s creation of “’positive’ images in order to instill pride in and at the same time appeal to Hispanics as potential consumers” (90). In this sense, the media looked to strong Latino values, such as the importance of family, to draw in their target audience. In tune with this approach is the portrayal of Latinos as thick bearded, dark skinned, Levi wearing people. This image of the Latino corresponded to targeting them for non-luxury goods and a lack of association with traits deemed to by white such as individualism. In Latino targeted commercials there is this systematic sense of community that subtly stereotypes them and sets them in this “other” category separate from that which is white. Over time, this stereotypical Latino image has molded into a more mainstream characterization. The change coincides with shifts in public attitude and the goal of socially constructing Latino identity through the media. What constitutes beauty shaped the image presented in the Latino adds. The chapter discusses this newfound “whiteness of commercial Latina media” (113). The audience is presented with a message that to be light-skinned and as close to white as possible is what they should desire. There are underlying meanings besides the new presentation of people in Latino media. I believe it relates back to the media creating this concept that to be white is what everyone should desire. Therefore, to assert this message they define what is beautiful for the public through models that are far from the previously stereotypical Latino.

  3. Kate Schreiber says:

    Clearly, Davila has a vast understanding of advertising and media and their complicated relationship to and production and distribution of a variety of stereotypical images, specifically ones included in advertisements that target Hispanics. Davila summarizes a multitude of concerns that plague the Hispanic marketing industry and she provides an abundance of examples to highlight her case. While many of the old advertisements that existed a decade or two ago included many Hispanics embracing their settlement in the United States (like the fab detergent commercial mentioned), today’s advertisements directed at Latinos barely even show that Latinos exist as a subgroup or a culture inside a much larger group or culture and in fact, the Latino image that these advertisements once conveyed has changed from the typical, dark skinned, moustache donning Latino, to the very light skinned, nearly white looking, Americanized type of Latino image. The advertising world has changed immensely in the last few decades and while family, family values and tradition remain aspects that are always highlighted on ads directed at Hispanics, the advertisements have changed in the way they depict Latinos as well as how they depict who the Latinos are interacting with and what duties they are performing and what their environment in the commercials. This is just another example of how our society is only furthering the social construction of race and how we are even making ethnic groups essentially become more “white.” Advertisers are also contributing to the demise of individualism by reinforcing and recreating this “intrinsic” perceptions or stereotypes of ethnically diverse groups. This article really helped me think about the way advertisements are constructed and what’s missing and what’s not missing in any ad. Whether it be a commercial for a Mercedes benz or a commercial for Fab detergent, I think it’s important to acknowledge what stereotypes are being reinforced, ultimately creating a never ending cycle of misperceptions – categorizing people who identify with one culture as a group who must not have individual goals, personalities or different beliefs.

  4. Elise Peterson says:

    Through her research, Davila learned that the media really creates its own Latino identity that is fabricated for the purposes of selling products. Marketers segment the public into different demographics in order to best sell. Usually these are broken down by race, ethnicity, age, gender, education level, and economic status. This in itself seems necessary if you are a marketer trying to cut your costs by not wasting money advertising the wrong product to the wrong people; and it is effective in terms of financial profit. The problem though, is that this causes them to often make gross generalizations when representing a demographic group in an advertisement. This is what Davila encounters with Latino representation. Of course the fact that we as a society categorize any Spanish speaker at Latino (although they may come from vastly different countries and cultures) is the first issue. The next is that the Latino identity has become visually and culturally limited to a light skinned model with black straight hair. Another issue is the media seems to stereotype all Latinos as holding very traditional values.

    The concept of marketing in the media in general seems to further exploit any existing racial/ethnic stereotypes we have in America. Media is so far reaching and ever-present in our lives today that it seems what is sent in messages to us through it must be carefully constructed. From a marketers standpoint, how can you completely and fairly represent an entire demographic in all its complexity in a thirty second commercial while trying to sell them a product? Is that even possible?

  5. Amber Kerrigan says:

    Through advertising Davila shows the social construction of Latino identity, that stereotypes are the key concern for Hispanic marketing industry. These stereotypes are never “positive or negative, but always have social hierarchies from daily life” (Davila, 89). Davila shows that images and themes reoccur in Hispanic advertising have imagined, represented, and aimed to speak to Latinos as a generic “Hispanic Market”. Davila also comments on the representation of Hispanics as a nation within a nation, and advertisement has tried to “distill a positive image to instill pride in and at the same time to appeal to Hispanics as potential consumers” (Davila, 89). In addition values have been a main target in advertising to reach out to Hispanics, including visual representation of Hispanics supposedly as having greater spirituality, centrality of family and tradition. Moreover referent systems are based on a “nostalgia for the past, sense of rootlesness over family separation or relatives left behind, or fixed gender roles within the family” (Davila, 93).

  6. Lisa Sorensen says:

    How does Davila’s methodology (what she did) affect her findings?

    Over time the image of Latino’s has changed dramatically through the media and the stereotypical judgments. Latinos were grouped into one stereotypical group, which left no room for individualism in diverse groups. Davila quickly learned that she had to set an identity for herself in order to sell and market her product. She advertised to everyone, rather than staying in her Latino group which makes the profit increase all around. Hispanic women use mostly their analogues in the market. They tend to make it more expressive, emotional, family-centered and feminine. Take Avon for example: “They need to be engaged, not solely informed.” (97). Thus meaning it’s appealing to ones feelings, not their reason. However, for whites Avon represented independent professional women that approach beauty and individualism.

  7. Jessica Steele says:

    It is clear from Davila’s writing that she concludes that the media plays a tremendous role in the development of what Latino identity is. Looking specifically at the advertisement market, she found that “stereotypes are a key concern of the Hispanic marketing industry.” Certain values and traits have somehow to come to be associated with the Hispanic and Latino lifestyle, such as family, tradition, and ethnic pride. Advertisers have used these ideas to specifically target this race, creating a sense of otherness in Latino identity versus that of the Anglo identity. These images have been heavily influenced by the white society, as shown in the depiction of Latino people as light-skinned. While these stereotypes are generally positive, they are still limiting how much a Latino person can associate with traits that are stereotypically Anglo traits. The stereotypes that are brought forth in advertising further the concept of the differences between the races. Yet, advertisers are beginning to realize that there is not one universal Hispanic identity, but there are varieties within that general umbrella label. Now advertising is trying to address some of those different nationalities in various regions of the country. Still persisting, though, is the image of whiteness against that of the Latino identity. The white culture has created the Latino identity and has managed to mark it as different and unlike the Anglo culture.

  8. Candice Kosanke says:

    How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?

    According to Davila, advertisements socially construct Latino and Hispanics in a unique way: in their efforts to avoid negative stereotypes, they use positive stereotypes, which are equally restrictive. For example, in order to appeal to Hispanic audiences and avoid negative Hispanic stereotypes (gangs, drugs, crime, etc.), many advertisements focus on the representation of Hispanics as having strong family bonds and valuing tradition. However, this “restrict[s] the range of interpretations” of Hispanics and “reduce[s] what can and cannot be representative of Hispanics in this country to very specific conventions” (Davila 89, 124). The best example of this is the way the stereotype of Hispanics as “traditional” and “authentic” limits the ways they can be portrayed in advertisements. In order to portray them as “traditional,” Hispanics cannot be shown in contemporary or professional settings; instead, they are usually shown at home with their families. This is supported by Davila’s statement that “you could not show a Hispanic in a business suit, or wearing a tie” (102). By implementing the stereotypical “authentic” Hispanic in advertisements, advertisers restrict the ways Hispanics can be represented. Therefore, positive stereotypes can be just as damaging as negative stereotypes because they both socially construct Hispanics in a way that limits the way people think of them.

  9. Merissa Acosta says:

    The media is constantly portraying the social construction of Latino identity. Earlier in time (the 70’s and 80’s), Hispanic women were portrayed differently than now. They were shown in advertisements with family and in the kitchen. Now, advertisements are showing more Hispanic women being active by featuring women playing sports or wearing business attire. Although these advertisements have the same situation, each message is different. It is interesting how important the message is that is being told. It can change the image drastically, which is why advertisements have to be careful to offend others. Advertisements can have generalizations that can be highly offensive. The creator of the advertisement has to be careful when showing certain races doing certain things. One thing that has been consistent through the ads across time is the value in culture and tradition. Advertisements need to be careful in showing this value because it can be seen as a stereotype.

  10. Kiarra Hodge says:

    Davila learned an excessive amount about the social construction of Latino identity. One thing that interested me, which is something I noticed a lot, was that though some of the stereotypes or given identities were positive, they had the possibility of having negative notions. Like in the commercials when the Latino men use their wit to get out of certain situations, those “values… would never really ‘win over’ the American way” (100). Latinos can’t be seen as individuals because society constructs their identity for them, often they aren’t individualized. Now that I think about it, I have noticed Davila’s observations in commercials, and though having family traditions and wit may be positive, it’s a created stereotype that the people behind the commercials created based on what they believe. They never went out to

  11. Kenneth Clady-Mason says:

    In Davila’s article, she stresses the White subliminal acceptance of Latinos in America through positive advertising. But in this advertising, Latinos are accepted yet remain inferior to Whites. Latinos seem to have no masculine identity compared to White males and Latinas have no ambitious nature like that of White women. The depictions have great potential to passively dehumanize Latinos to the diverse public, causing the minority audience to see the Latino as the prototype for White acceptance. Clearly, White acceptance still distinguishes the stereotypical characteristics of the Other from all that represents Whiteness.

  12. Sara Watson says:

    In this article I found it interesting how advertisers were trying to play up on the morals and values that are associated (whether really associated or socially constructed) with hispanics. I also found it interesting how “the construction of a Hispanic market had long been based on the notion of Hispanics as a nation within a nation”. Thus, in advertisements, advertisers were playing to “their” morals and values and in doing so, socially constructing them to not be included with “us” or included in the whole of the United States. So by trying to advertise something that is good or generally accepted in the hispanic culture, advertisers indirectly created a line between hispanics and others. When you are dealing with advertising in any degree there are always positive and negative implications. It is a business and they must research their target market and be able to successfully market their product or service accordingly. In society today, the same product must be able to be targeted to almost any market to increase profits. This reminds of a course title that was not offered this year but it is called “Truth in Advertising and Sales” I believe and I was interested in taking it before graduating. I think a business / communication course on this topic would be very valuable because in this day and age people should fully understand what exactly they are marketing, who they are marketing too, who they are leaving out and what the implications are on society.

  13. Donald Duncan says:

    How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?

    In my opinion, Davila’s observation about the Latino construct and the Anglo contract through advertisement is our perception of stereotypes in America. First, Davila express that early adverting for the Hispanic community as “generic constructions with which to emphasize unity and mutual recognition among the ‘Hispanic nation’s’ countries and cultures” (91). The concept that advertisements appeal to Hispanics all the same because the culture maybe similar is the idea most American have for minorities. What was interesting about Davila’s article was the family values the Hispanic culture has compared to the selfish ideology Americans may have. The idea to have an ad that targets a single audience but incorporates the idea of family is what separates Latino and Anglo values.

  14. Stephanie Morales says:

    How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?

    In this article, Davila takes a close looks at past “Hispanic” advertisements which are socially constructed to appeal to the Latino consumer/viewer. Davila discoveries through this research that these commercials refute and go with the typical Hispanic/Latino stereotype. Advertising reshape and formulate the “typical” Latino which creates an ethic niche for the advertising market. Though the ads do reflect on social hierarchies, social distinctions, and tend to frame the model Hispanic. In the advertising world, a Latino/Hispanic is someone who desires his “home” country/island, has family values, morals, traditions, and respect the past.The way that advertisers were successful towards the “minority” was to depict them as the “norm” within the ads. Within the ads, they always depicted this ideal Hispanic with moral values and combined it with the product they are selling. All products presented were in family settings, dealt with tradition, culture, language, and in the 90s the social norm for men and women did change a bit. Ads kept up with the gender roles within the ads but they still emphasized how when you buy something its not just for you-its for the family. Which is something else that Davila discovered was that unlike the typical american, Hispanics/Latinos are family orientated and are appealed to ads more when they are motivated by family and collective. One thing i would like to point out that i found conflicting for myself, being Mexican American, was on page 98 where these ads are family orientated and present Hispanics as “loving and socailly caring individuals, values…compared to the usual U.S stereotype of Latinos as thugs and criminals who are indolent and lazy.” I never put those two thoughts together, and its so true how media depicts these races, yet in reality discriminate to them all the time. So is it justified to present them nicely for ads, since they are seen as consumers and not a threat to society?

  15. João Pedro says:

    Media has manipulated and reformulated the Hispanic world to keep a justifiable market niche. Schemed and framed with historical and social conventions, Latinos are introduced in a sphere of clichés; from Nicorette and Goya to AT&T, the industry of advertising proliferates generalizations and stereotypes, defining Hispanic values and culture. This industry promotes racial, ethnic and social hierarchies, reinforcing the binary between Whites and Hispanics.
    The social construction of a Latino identity has evolved in the Hispanic market by following an “imagined audience” (Davila 90). This audience regards an ensemble of nationalities, ethnicities and classes that produces an alienating homogeneity out of the diverse Latino community. According to Davila, “the dominant trend in Hispanic marketing is progressively moving toward a generic ‘Hispanic nation’ and market” (116).
    The commercial representation of Latinos changed from traditional roles, such the “hot and spicy food lovers” and “dark, mustached Mexicans” to “whiter” Latinos inherent to standards of beauty, which favor pale skin color and smoother hair. Hispanics are introduced with greater spirituality and family centrality, while Whites are associated with fashion and independence. Indeed, the supremacy of Whiteness and its influences on Hispanic media is a constant, demonstrating an intrinsic racial hierarchy.

  16. Linnea Zrioka says:

    Through advertising, Latino’s are portrayed as being family orientated and having strong family values (93); and most ads “revolved around families in kitchen situations and women either cooking or taking care of the children” (94). Latinos are characterized as having “intrinsic” Latin spirit, and that they are motivated by their family and not their individual needs and desires. The Latino identity is put in contrast with Anglo women, in that unlike Anglo women, Hispanic women “beautify themselves” not for selfish reasons, but to please and be praised by other people (96), and Latinos are, in general, loving and “socially caring individuals” (96). Part of the Latino identity is ethnic pride; in the United States they are part of a “nation within a nation” (90) and Hispanic advertisements imply the Latina Pride (107). The article also discusses the physical Latino identity; there is a certain look that is associated with Latino, which includes long, straight hair, and olive skin (110), however their skin cannot be too dark. Latina Marketing is representative of the general marketing industry in that there is a certain “type” of Latina (lighter skinned) that is portrayed and chosen for advertisements.

  17. Becca Mahar says:

    Davalia’s findings on the social construction of the Latino identity really draw on the concept of assimilation. I think that this reading highlights the diversification of Latinos and the ignorance of the media and whites. We have always lumped all Latinos into the Mexican category or Spanish speaking group, as if everyone came from the same roots, the same culture, or the same location. There are so many different identities that come from the Latin culture however as the article states, media and our society portray one common image to depict a world of minorities and diverse countries. Over the years their image has changed and developed, currently most of the focus is on Latin pride. This has become extremely prevalent for young Latinas. The article refers to the whiteness in Latina models and actresses in advertisements and television shows. However the growing focus of independence is creating an opportunity for females to reclassify themselves. Movies like Real Women Have Curves, are an attempt to show young Latinas facing identity questions, that identity is created and it was they choose to be. I think the shift toward diversifying and developing unique identities based on an individual’s culture and roots is a huge step in acceptance. The downfall of our society clearly comes from our preservation of whiteness, and as the article states, we have yet to overcome the idea that whiter is better when classifying any race.

  18. Dominick Campagna says:

    How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?

    I believe that Davila found out a lot about the social construction of the Latino identity by noticing all the changes of how Latinos have been represented as the years went on. Years ago, certain advertisements wanted to include the Latino population so they could sell more of their products, but they did it in a way that they singled out their culture to teach them how to become part of America. The Miller Beer company had a commercial with Latinos “Dancing to salsa music, playing baseball, playing instruments like maracas and Spanish guitars…”(104). Miller not only showed the Latino culture but also the American, combining the two which also related to the Americans. Later on commercials started specifying certain groups such as Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Mexicans. Miller attacked these groups specifically to gain more buyers by using their Latino style of traditions they brought to America that they will never change, to how Miller was originated and will always keep its traditions they started, just like the Latinos.

  19. Jacob Heaps says:

    How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?

    Davila really seems to have a deep understanding of the social construction of Latino identity. I found the portion where she spoke of how the construction of the Hispanic market has “long been based on the notion of Hispanics as a nation within a nation.”(90) What nationalities are categorized as Hispanics? American society, especially the media, seems to group ‘Hispanics’ and doesn’t consider the individual cultures of those who are considered Hispanic. The main portion of the article that I found interesting is when Davila talks about the changing identity of Latinos in media throughout the years. Advertisers have become smarter in depicting actors/actresses during commercials or other advertisements. By stressing topics such as family they have begun to appeal to the Latino communities.

  20. Courtney King says:

    How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?
    Davila talks a lot about stereotypes being both generic Hispanic and for individual ethnicities. Although a lot of the stereotypes are positive ones they are still generalizations. The individual cultures such as Mexican, Dominican, and Puerto Rican, are used as the main Latino cultures. And commercials have been produced to identify with each culture, by exploiting each culture traditions, music, and family structures. “ As was common throughout the 1980’s, the ad was customized for three different nationalities by showing the compadres eating traditional Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Mexican meal…the new anthem mover overtly asserts Latina ways, which are directly associated to particular sub groups.”(104) Davila shows that ad companies have not just tried to appela to the entire the Latino community but instead the individual cultures. But although they are slightly changing the cultural style of the commercials I feel that they are still grouping the Latino communtiy together as one one group of people that share alll the same values. Commercials treat Latino’s as different shades of the same color.

  21. Brittany Sheehan says:

    How would you summarize what she learned about the social construction of Latino identity?
    In this chapter, Davila provides a lot of useful insight to the social construction of a Latino identity through the use of advertisements. At the beginning, Davila states that the construction of the Hispanic market derived from the notion that Hispanics are a nation within a nation (90). After reading the chapter, I got the impression that the Latino identity was socially constructed through advertisements and media as a way to differentiate between what people believe is “Hispanic” and/or “Latino.” The advertisements she described that aired during the 1970s seem to create and perpetuate stereotypes about Hispanics and Latinos being focused on spirituality, family, and tradition. Davila mentions how ads marketed towards Hispanics or Latinos were more focused on family values rather than individual thoughts and interests. I thought it was interesting when she mentioned that certain companies market certain products to Hispanics and Latinos based on the assumption that they may have lower income but a larger family (94). Davila did make a point to mention that the scenarios in advertisements have changed over the years and aren’t as gender-stereotyped, but the image of the family is still consistently used to communicate a range of values that are supposedly associated with Hispanics (95).

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