Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chicana Confession #1

I love novelas! (Spanish soap operas)

Currently I am watching Sortilegio. This novela, like most others, deals with a love triangle between two brothers Alex (the good blond one) and Bruno (the bad one) and a sweet, innocent woman, Maria Jose. It's a complicated story and you can read more here.

Novelas are basically elongated romance movies with some trouble from jealous enemies. I consider myself a hopeless romantic so that's why I love them!

And they get interesting...there's always a conflict. Whether it's family, a crazy ex, some random person they meet on the street, or a natural disaster, property matters and inheritance. So novelas can also be considered as romantic action movies! Take that Hollywood!

Novelas also teach morals. Some that I've learned are: Don't trust anyone, be careful what you say to people, be nice and you'll live happy, work hard and you can buy big houses, learn to forgive and love is a battlefield, oh wait that was Pat Benatar. haha.

I've been watching novelas as long as I can remember. They are a staple of Chicana-hood. My sister doesn't like them, but I do. She's just too busy to watch them, I am too but I can make time.

My favs have been: Ramona (based off the book by Helen Hunt Jackson), El Juego de la Vida (The Game of Life, a teen romantic comedy), La Madrastra (the Stepmom, a murder mystery), El Manantial (romance mixed with property issues surrounding a water bank). There are some that are missing, but I am having trouble recalling. I will edit later.

The adventures of an audience member at Studio 29

I am famous, even if I was on television for only a few seconds (all right, only two) on "Lopez Tonight" on Nov. 24.

My Journey Getting There - I previously tried two times to get tickets, and an e-mail with no guaranteed tickets would find its way back to me. But the third time is the charm and I got tickets! √Āndale!

My Time There - My sister Ramona, our friend Christine and I arrived to Warner Bros. gate eight at 12:30 p.m. We wanted to check-in early to get seated closer to the stage. When we arrived at the second level audience check-in location in the parking structure, we were handed ticket numbers: 46, 47 and 48 (the tickets given went up to 500, so these were good). After about four hours of waiting, the entire audience was walked to the studio by Warner Bros. employees.

When we finally got in and were seated, a man by the name of Roger came out to energize the audience. He and the director told the audience to cheer for George Lopez, so we obeyed. Quickly after, Lopez appeared and introduced Shakira. He interviewed her for four minutes and then he gave her a golf club, with her name on it. She then performed "Give it Up to Me." Shakira was so close and she performed well. But Shakira left right after her performance, almost in a flash.

The next guest was Sandra Bullock. Lopez and Bullock have a very deep relationship. He credits her for giving him his start. A few moments of reminiscing lead to Bullock's lack of Latina-ness. So Lopez decided to give her a makeover, a chola makeover. A chola is characterized as a hard core female gang member who dresses in flannel shirts, has hair teased with tons of hairspray and tends to wear too much makeup. Lopez brought out YouTube sensation Glowpinkstah, whose real name is Gloria, to transform Bullock into a chola.

During the make-over, Lopez introduced Derek Luke, an actor from the television show "Trauma." Luke danced and seemed like a genuine person. He also played P. Diddy in the film "Notorious."

One of the last segments was a video on ethnic dolls. Lopez interviewed African-American women and Latina women about several dolls that could be considered as too ethnic.

For the finale, Bullock came out looking like a firme chola. She wore a red plaid flannel shirt with only one button buttoned. She wore khaki pants and slippers. Her hair was teased, sprayed with Aqua Net, sharpie eyebrows and lip liner with no lipstick. The entire crowd and Lopez were surprised. Bullock even stood and crouched like Lopez does on his stand up comedy shows,
causing a loud cheer from the crowd.

Behind the scenes information: Mrs. Lopez was sitting really close to me and I felt like asking for her autograph. George Lopez knows how to rap; he sang "You Got What I Need" with the show's band. During one of the breaks, Roger came out and threw shirts to the audience and my sister caught one! It's a little small but it can be made into a pillow.

My Time Afterward - I had a bittersweet time as an audience member for "Lopez Tonight." I can only think of two negative things. Being an audience member is a whole day event. We had to drive to Burbank, check in early to get good seats, wait to get walked to the studio, then wait some more. The second: the studio was cold, cold enough to force me to keep my sweater on during the taping.

But when else would I see George Lopez, Shakira, Sandra Bullock and Derek Luke for free?
¡Gracias G.Lo for a free, good time!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm on The Hispanic Youth Institute Blog!


Check out my blog on the Hispanic Youth Institute blog!


So I've completely ignored my blogging on this site. I haven't really had time for much. I have two part time jobs and I'm taking 6 classes this semester. Mucho trabajo!

But I'm sure all of you can relate!

I will start blogging again. no entonces me dejan de seguir.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor is my Hero

America is great.
Obama's bringing change, like he promised.
And Sonia Sotomayor is my hero.

When the news conference appeared on my television early morning with President Obama and a Latina professional next to him, I was intrigued. In the matter of a few minutes the name Sonia Sotomayor was engraved in everyone's mind as the nominee for Supreme Court Justice.

It is expected for her to be approved, since the Democrats hold a majority.

Gracias Sra. Sotomayor for your determination. Thank you for being a role model for all young Latinas. Que Dios la bendiga.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm Mexican and I don't have swine flu

The hype has died down over swine flu, Mexico and being brown. But while it was the hot topic, my fellow Mexicanos were subjected to discrimination.

Take for example Vicente Fernandez, one of Mexico's most treasured singers. He couldn't perform at two Latin American countries because he's Mexican and he might have infected the public with the swine flu because you know he has it.

The United States was an inch away from really having a day without a Mexican. I had to hold back sneezes or else I could have been accused of having the swine flu. Boss: please don't fire me! Egypt: don't slaughter me! Asia: don't quarantine me! U.S.: don't look at me like that!

But this isn't the only stereotype we face. I myself was victim of workplace discrimination on Tuesday, May 12 by someone I hardly know.

I was waiting for the bus to get to work and a person of the female gender (whom I had spoken to before) asked me if school was over. I answered, "Yea. But I'm working now." This person said then responded, "You work in the cafeteria?"

"WHAT?!?!?!" I thought. She can't be serious! I smiled and said, "No. I work in the Financial Aid office and in the Journalism department."

She thought about what I said and then responded, "Oh...So you never work in the cafeteria?"

OMG! Does she seriously think that I am too incompetent to work in an office or a department? Does she think that, because I'm brown and Mexican, I can't have a job in a place other than cleaning or food services?

I know we don't live in a Utopia. I know that there will always be ignorant and people who stereotype. I know that I will be discriminated against. I am a young brown person of the female gender. These genes don't give me much advantages I'm but I'm sure I'll survive.

la raza unida jamas sera vencida.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hello, my name is not Maria

During the summer of 2006 I worked for a mega store (logo: target). It was my first job and I was eager to work. I strolled through the "employees only" double doors, punched in my employee number and walked out to my department, the Garden Center. I traveled from the cool,air conditioned inside to the hot, sticky outside. I started to search for the head honcho but another employee...or should I co-worker...informed me that Betty was coming. I assumed this would be my supervisor.

I waited for about five minutes and then Betty showed up. She told me that I had to water the plants, wash off some dirt from tables, and "zone." Later I would get trained on the register and then I would have to take some tests on my knowledge of plants. ha!

This conversation seemed to run short but after she finished assigning my tasks, she asked my name.
I told her "Monica."
She said, "For some reason I feel like calling you Maria."
I went blank.
I thought to myself, "What does that mean? Is she being stereotypical? Not all Mexican women are named Maria. Hello?! I didn't call you Ashley! Don't call me Maria!"
Then she had the audacity to say "I'm not very good with names. But I learned Kevin's quickly."
[Kevin is white and Betty is too.]
I said "Hmm."
She left and I thought "I hate this."

So for the next month and a half that I worked at this store, I hated it. Well except for the time when I was at the front registers inside the store. I was on the express lane and I had a record of 137 transactions for about 2 hours. I was good! And fun, fast and friendly!

I learned that people, like Betty, are stereotypical. She saw a short brown girl and she automatically typecasted me. She put a name to a face, my face. This had stopped bothering me until another more recent event.

I was called Maria by a high school classmate. I was out with two friends Christmas Break of 2008. We were sitting in Johnny's Burgers at the Riverside Plaza. I was passionately describing the Twilight Saga to them and they were attentively listening.

Our classmate comes in and says "Hi Maria!!!"

I couldn't say a word.

My friends looked at me. Then looked at her. Then looked back at me. I didn't correct her. I couldn't do it because she began talking about all the things she had done after high school. I wasn't listening completely due to the fact that I was shocked. One of my friends began talking to her and the other one was just looking at me as I stared back at her.

I was most surprised this time. I could expect to be called by a person who didn't know me and that was of a white skinned race. But I didn't expect it from a bi-racial peer of mine.

Regardless of skin color, all people brush away details. Either that or everyone stereotypes. You choose, just call me by my real name.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Disney Princesses

Disney is in the process of making the first ever black princess. The animated film will be called "The Frog Princess" and the setting will be in New Orleans. Her name is Maddy and she will be about the fourth non-white heroine in the Disney line-up. Orale Disney (and Pixar)!

But what about a Chicana princess? Or a Mexican princess?

I remember watching Cinderella and Ariel...wanting to be in their shoes/fins. But I could never dress as those princesses for Halloween. I didn't (and still don't) have blonde or red hair. And wearing a wig didn't complement my skin color. Blonde and brown is not a good match; red and brown is even worse.

So if Disney and company were to make a Mexicana princess, this problem would be solved. If they need help to make her or the plot, I am available.

Her name would be Rosa. She would live during the 50s, during the times of the Zoot Suit Riots. She would be from a humble, hard-working family. Rosa will be a senior in high school. She will have two younger siblings (brother and sister) and one older brother.

The main conflict Rosa will encounter will be whether she finishes school or leaves to work in order to help her family out, since her father was deported back to Mexico.

Rosa's love interest would be an American salior named James and a Zoot Suitor named Rafael. She will have to choose between a white male or a Chicano, like her. James parents won't like Rosa and her family because they are of a lower social class. But his love will know no race barriers. Rafael and his family have lived in the same neighborhood as Rosa. He tries to protect her from all the harassments of James' "friends" who dislike her because of her race.

The climax will be when James and his group fight with Rafael and his group. It'll be like West Side Story, Jets vs Sharks. But James' parents will come and take him away before the police arrive. They will move to New York so he won't be near Rosa.

Rafael is hurt but lucky that the police didn't arrest him like they did his homies who helped him out. Rosa consoles him. A day passes and he tells her that he loves her. Rafael tells her that he just inherited an estate and some bonds that are expected to grow. He proposes to her and she agrees. He tells her that she can continue to study and that he will make sure that her family is protected and secure.

Rafael and Rosa live happily ever after.

There it is, Disney! Now draw and produce! This story is a mix of real social problems and cultural aspects that were once prominent in families.

With this little brown-skinned girls will be able to relate and maybe even meet Rosa at Disneylandia someday.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Inauguration Blog

Bienvenidos! Welcome! My name is Monica Martinez (I'll edit out my middle name, mother's madien name and dad's first last name for an easier read). I am a sophomore Journalism student at California Baptist University. I love writing and I love my culture con pasion. So writing about my culture gives me the best of both mundos.

I am Chicana. Both of my parents were born in Mexico (dad: Guanajuato, mom: Jalisco) and my sister and I were born in Riverside, Calif. I call myself a Chicana because I feel a part of me identifying with the activist nature the term holds. My strongest belief is that all of God's children get the same opportunity to succeed in life. And sometimes they do not. That is why I want to dedicate my life to help other Latino teens in need. My career goal is to establish a magazine that will be a motivation to Latinos to advance through cultural awareness and education.

As you might have already noticed, I tend to write (not to mention speak and think) in two languages. I speak Spanglish. I grew up with a Spanish language foundation, learned English with my mother's help and by watching Sesame Street. During middle school I started to speak to my friends in both Spanish and English. It was something innate and I still do it to this day. But now I must switch the hats I wear in the different places that I go to but I don't mind it at all.

I have decided to take the endeavor of writing about mi cultura to any and all audiences. Every week I will write about different aspects of living Chicana in Southern California with my commentary and opinion. That's why the blog is called Chicana Confessions, con safos.

So please feel at home. Mi casa es su casa. (I've never ever said..err..typed..this before in my life. And now that I think about it, no one in my family ever has either). Any topic suggestions are welcomed. Leave a comment or email me at

Thanks! And I'll write again soon.