I want to know why we keep feeling disappointed by Sofía Vergara. Vergara has made a career out of exploiting narratives of conquest since she was in Latin American television.
A natural blonde, Vergara (like most of the white-present Latinx in our Latinx novelas, noticias and the likes) benefited from our cultura’s internalized hatred that we have toward brownness, blackness, indigeneity and anything that is not white. Her rise to fame in our countries was because she benefited from looking white.
She benefited from not looking like those indigenous folks the state continually tries to exterminate and not acknowledge. She benefited from not talking like those afro-Latinx in the coastal cities and Caribbean—the ones we criticize for talking “bad” Spanish. Vergara rode and banked on the back of internalized self-hatred that we have all experienced in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her rise to fame relied on our ability to prioritize our colonizer’s perspective of what ideal beauty was and is. She was someone everyone is taught to want to become like, we are taught to want to look that way because we are inundated with these gorgeous women who look more European than anything else, much like a lot of our TV personalities in the motherland.
Her transition to American television required that she dye her hair to that dark brown that we now know her for. Her transition to American television relied on this narrative of conquest where her white American audience was supposed to want to conquer her. That is precisely why she is sexualized and portrayed mainly as a body and secondly as a character in the show “Modern Family.” Vergara has exploited the American need to exotify us, therefore dehumanizing us. When we are nothing but sex objects, something Vergara promotes intentionally, people like Donald Trump can get on a podium and speak ill of us as people while having masturbatory thoughts about our bodies. When we are nothing but bodies, they do not care that we are kicked out, uninsured or funneled through Arizona deserts also known as state-sanctioned murder through Mother Nature. When are nothing but bodies, we lack a voice and when we do speak out about our discomforts we are considered a nuisance.
Vergara has ridden narratives of conquest in Latin America and in the Caribbean since she came onto our television screens, and we keep hoping that she will say something to make us proud. We keep hoping that she will stand by us, but we forget that the only reason Vergara is where she is because she exploited us. She has exploited our self-hatred, and now is exploited the dehumanizing tactics this country has used since Carmen Miranda.
Sofía Vergara, if you are reading this: IT IS TOO LATE. But it is okay sis, some of us are fueled by your colonizer syndrome that you seem to enjoy. Some of us are working hard to undo the years of taught self-hatred we have felt for our bodies from ONLY seeing women like you on our televisions. Women who did nothing but enjoy the benefits of their white European looking earned successes. Some of us are working hard to support Latinas on American television who stand by la gente and do not make a mockery of our communal fight.
Your jokes are on us, not you. I know this now, and you are laughing your way to the bank. I get it, it is your “thing.”
Stay saying insignificant things that have significant impacts on so many of us—because why would you do anything differently, when capitalism has made you rich?
But also, stay out of our way because you are in the wrong side of this revolution.
Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez is a grassroots foreign citizen, maneuvering and resisting assimilation and respectability politics through what she calls her a chonga Mujerista ethic. She is the founder of Latina Rebels, an online platform that boasts over 150k followers. She is from Managua, Nicaragua, currently living in Nashville. Prisca has written for Philadelphia Printworks, TeleSur English, SupaDaily Latin, Huffington Post Latino Voices and other publications. Her interests are within biopolitics as it relates to Latina embodiment, specifically concerning models of conquerable flesh around narratives of naturalization for women of color. ¡Que viva la mujer!