Category: Beauty

Beauty: Editor’s Letter

Is it a confession if someone confesses twice to the same thing?  Yes, dear readers, here it comes. I hate chocolate. For years, Visiting Scholars, returning students, loving friends have been bringing me chocolate from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru…

Globalizing Latin American Beauty

Beauty seems to matter a lot in Latin America. Whenever I arrive in the region I am struck by the disproportionate number of attractive and stylish women and men who seem to be just walking around. I am always even more taken aback by airport bookstalls crammed with…

Beauty Weighs in Argentina

Argentines believe that “success” comes from luck and not as much from hard work and efforts, according to a recent survey conducted by the University of Palermo. This may work…

Contesting Beauty

English + Español
In 2016, the official Miss Brazil beauty pageant competition witnessed an unprecedented moment, as six black Brazilian women from around the country advanced to…

Should I Eat the Chocolate Cake?

English + Español
When people learn that I research the representation of food and weight in Latin American women’s literature, they frequently ask me two questions. The first question is how I became interested in such an untraditional topic…

Technologies of Gender

It was a Tuesday afternoon in early June 2005, and I was sitting with well-known cosmetic surgeon Dr. Julien Martinez (a pseudonym to protect participant confidentiality) in his spa…

Sensual Not Beautiful

While white actresses and models still dominate beauty and fashion magazines in Brazil, on my last few visits to Brazil, I’ve noticed that actresses of African descent such as…

The Queen of Sheep

The Queen of Sheep Beauty Pageant is an offbeat Colombian beauty contest that parodies other common beauty pageants in the country revolving around local agricultural products or cattle animals. The contestants of this…

Peruvian Pishtacos

News stories of captured drug gangs are so common in Peru that viewers barely noted the television appearance of three prisoners in November 2009. Police had captured the “gang”…

Peruvian Beauty

During an official meeting the former president of Peru, Ollanta Humala (2011-2016), urged the youngsters gathered there to act as men, and said that “instead of spending their time…

Performing Race and Gender in the Andes

Right after attending my first llarqa aspiy celebration in November 2012, I jotted my description of this lively event in my fieldnotes: “We stood in a large circle…

In Memory

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of David Rockefeller…

Maya Queens at the Microphone

I wish I could have been there to watch the performance of Fidelina Tux Chub, a young and seemingly fearless contestant for indigenous queen— reina indígena—in the highland…

Mayan Queens

These pictures were taken Friday, July 29, 2011. The women pose for the pictures during the Rabin Ajau National Folkloric Festival in Cobán, Guatemala. Unlike traditional beauty…

The Politics of Beauty

When one talks to people in Latin America about beauty, it is never simply about vanity, self-care or individual consumption.  Beauty in Latin America always seems to have larger implications, inducing hopes for upward mobility, invoking national ideals of beauty, or…

Challenges of Party-Building in Latin America

I started graduate school in September 1978, around the zenith of authoritarianism in Latin America. After the Argentine military coup in 1976, only three of twenty countries in the…

The Culture of Skinniness

Rosario is 21 years old and a perfect size 6. A fifth-semester student in international business in Medellín, Colombia, she’s often thought of herself as fat. It all started when she was a…

Cholitas: The Revenge of a Generation

I’d been in La Paz for two weeks when I finally located the Hotel Torino, a big colonial hotel where Bolivia’s first cholita modeling school holds classes. Cholitas are the indigenous…

Building Muscles in Rio’s Fitness Clubs

Bodybuilding has similarities to the rituals that could be found in religious practices or rites of passage. The construction of the body and of a masculine identity within gyms and…

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