We see all types of Latina stereotypes — from the “spicy” Latina to the buchona-inspired, to the norteño-dressed, to everything in between. But in what category do those Latinas who dress a little differently fall in? What about the alternative Latinas who dress more emo, more scene, grungier than the Latinas who the tias insist are “prettier” because of the more feminine and “normal” way they dress?
To put things in perspective, let’s break down what I am referring to. What does it mean to be an alternative Latina? According to Merriam-Webster, “alternative” is defined as “different from the usual or conventional.” Put that before Latina, and you get the gist of it. It’s an ode to those who grew up dressing in hem jeans by hand (all tight and ripped), dark hair with random bright-colored mechones or shorter layers on top (it’s not a phase, mom!); the Latinas who grew up listening to all types of musical genres — to rock en español, pop, bachata, and regional at the same time.
I am talking about the alt Latinas who embraced what is now popularly known as YHLQMDLG and those whose priorities are different when it comes to traditional Latinx family expectations. Does this resonate with you?
There are many reasons why I love being an alt Latina. One of them is the freedom that I embody and express in the way I dress. There were many conversations about dressing too dark or “weird” growing up, but now that I look back, it’s because it wasn’t the norm to my tias who groomed their daughters in a particular acceptable style. Shout out to my mom, who would look twice at my wardrobe choices, but never question them — that’s supporting a person’s individuality.
Furthermore, I thrive in being an alt Latina because I mesh my two cultures. As an adult Mexican-American, I love now knowing that there should’ve never been any sense of guilt or shame in my “emo” days when all I heard was PXNDX and From First To Last, while my pop side enjoyed RBD at the same time.
So what if my wardrobe was covered in studs, combat boots, threaded bracelets, mood rings, black nail polish, piercings, and checkerboard patterned shoes? The individuality that I built through this era is what I needed to solidify my confidence in the years that came after my teenage years. It’s the emo phase that keeps giving.
Nowadays, we see this alt Latinx culture embraced even more, with even pop-punk covers of reggaeton songs. Society is now more keen to accept and encourage these blends of cultures and styles. Diversity is what is “in” now. Finally!
So, if you’re dealing with a sibling, a daughter, or any loved one expressing their alternative individuality — let them. We have enough cookie-cutter people who are too afraid of coloring outside the lines. Pues, that’s their loss.