The Myth of the Latina Superwoman, she only exists in some retro-male brain or Spanish soap opera

This is Dulce Pinzon's gorgeous photo of a nanny from Puebla dressed as Cat Woman. It was part of a series that the New York City based photographer shot casting Mexican immigrants as superheroes. The series is worth a look for its wit and beauty. I especially love the Mexican Superman delivery boy. It's true that the work that Latinos and Latinas perform in this country on a 24-7 basis is super hero material, especially the women who have two and three jobs, and then come home to a third or fourth job to care for their kids and husbands. 

I was reminded of these images as I thought about how women, particularly and especially Latinas, still struggle with the notion that we can have it all: career, well dressed, behaved and clean kids, a sound marriage, a spic and span Mistolin-clean home with a nice doggie, and a picket fence. All while looking quite thin and fabulous. The truth is that many of us feel that  this Super Woman is real and attainable.

Spoiler alert: this Latina Superwoman is a myth and only exists in Spanish language soap operas or in some half evolved male brain. Unfortunately, she is also inside of many of us who grew up being duped into thinking that it was possible and expected to have it all.  The pressure to seek that elusive woman/life is hardcore. I still see it in many sisters I meet as I travel this great nation of ours. But this is the thing: the more we chase her, the further she gets and the more ragged we become.

Of course, all women grew up listening to the Superwoman myth, but this is another grey area where I think Latin culture hasn't caught up with the reality. White women got it and are outsourcing a lot of their to-dos, in many cases to Latinas and other immigrant women.  (More on outsourcing of labor to Latinas, later.) But the reality is that we just cannot have it all, especially at the same time. To think that is to rob yourself of sanity. To try it is to seek insanity. 

Once I let her go, this Superwoman biach, I found freedom. And don't get me wrong, there were sacrifices: I let the house be a little dirty sometime if it means that I can instead go do hot yoga. Or, I order some nutritious take out if it means that I can use the time instead to go bike riding with my youngest son. Or, I let the laundry pile up if it means that I get to go on a special date with my girlfriends. The list of negotiating priorities is constant, and I discovered that when I choose quality, over quantity, reality over myth, when I choose hot yoga over mopping floors, life is a little bit sweeter.

Coming to to terms with the fact that I am not a Latina Superwoman has also freed me from all the guilt that could have potentially consumed me. I've had to turn off nosy family members who I am sure criticize my choices behind my back. But, it's given me a license to be stress free. Here is another truth that I discovered: I am not defined by my womb, how well I keep my house, how neat and clean I keep my kids, or whether or not I am in a relationship. I am defined by so much more: like the quality of my relationships with the people I adore and with myself, and the quality of the character of the children I am raising.  Also, by how consistently I nurture my gifts so that I can live my life to its grandest expression. These are tangibles, realistic and attainable goals. 


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