Monday, April 23, 2012

Ballad of a Jaguar mom

The jaguar was revered as a symbol of power and strength in several pre-Columbian cultures including the great Maya and Aztec civilizations. It is a solitary opportunistic creature at the top of the food chain. In 2011, when the book, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother was published, I asked myself what animal could best describe Mexican mothers? The more research I did on the panthera onca, the more similarities I found between it and the women in my own family. As Mother’s Day fast approaches, not only do I find myself racking my brain for the perfect gift, I also find myself reflecting on what makes Latina moms so unique and so majestic like the mythical jaguar.
The jaguar’s present territory includes the Southern United States and Mexico all the way to Central America, Paraguay and parts of Argentina. Jaguar moms can be found all over the world and aren’t always Latina, but they almost always share one important characteristic, tough love. Unlike the Chinese Tiger mom, a Jaguar mom may not force her kids to play hours of chess, but she uses every opportunity to teach her children how to strategize in the game of life. In this era of instant gratification, it seems more and more difficult to raise niƱos agradecidos, appreciative children. Think you have what it takes to be a Jaguar mom? Take this short three question quiz and find out for yourself.

1. Your teenage daughter sneaks out when she is supposed to be grounded. You,
a. Call the cops
b. Sit at home feeling sorry for yourself and pop some Xanax
c. The only person who is about to have a panic attack is your daughter when she finds out how pissed off you are

2. Your daughter puts on a few pounds her first year of college. You,
a. Ignore it because it happens to everyone and you can afford to shed a few pounds yourself
b. Buy her Hydroxycut and hope she gets the point
c. Tell her point blank, your clothes don’t fit and you need to lose a few pounds followed by a hug and a kiss

3. Your son hands you his book report and anxiously awaits your approval but you spot a million grammatical errors. You,
a. Don’t have time right now and tell him to leave it on the counter.
b. Give him a hug and kiss but ignore the mistakes.
c. Grab a red pen, correct all the spelling and grammatical errors and hand it back with a smile.

If you answered mostly C then you might just be a Jaguar mom, relentless in your pursuit of perfection, but never wavering in your love and admiration for your child. This Mother’s Day whether you have a Jaguar mom, a Tiger mom or a mom whose species is yet to be identified, celebrate her because all God’s creatures are special, even the mythical ones.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Would you like that Hispanicized?

Mexican American birth rates are on the rise, thanks in part to the Skinnygirl margarita, while immigration from Mexico is down due to factors such as the recession, an increase in border patrol and the Chupacabra. What does this mean for our country? For one thing, it means there are more Yuppie Chicanas being born every minute than there are Mexicanas crossing the border. Simply put, it means Latinos have a growing impact on the nation in ways we have yet to experience.
I remember stories about my grandparent’s generation of Hispanics and how they were forbidden to speak Spanish in school for fear of punishment. To protect their children, my great grandparents encouraged their American born kids to blend in and assimilate with American culture which wasn’t a bad idea except that sadly, many families lost the ability to speak Spanish. On the other side of the spectrum companies and industries all across our great nation are now looking to Hispanicize.
For the third year in a row, Miami will host a conference this month called Hispanicize 2012 where individuals in PR, marketing, news and entertainment can get together and focus on creative ideas and best practices aimed at capitalizing on the multi-billion dollar buying power of the Hispanic market. So how do companies appeal to the growing number of Latinos? Do they add a Yuppie Chicana M&M and call her Ms. Brown? The voice may be Vanessa William’s but anyone who can keep up with Chayanne, is an honorary Latina in my book.
The best way to reach a Latino audience is to do it with humor. M&M, Volkswagen and JCPenney have done it successfully. There’s no time like the present to Hispanicize your business. Years from now we could look back and realize that it wasn’t just another trend, but a major factor in one of the greatest comebacks a nation has ever made.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

What is a Yuppie Chicana?

At first glance, you might say it's an oxymoron like resident alien or accurate stereotype. Yuppie is a term that means "young upwardly mobile professional." It first became a pop culture term in the late 1980's, according to the most accurate source on earth, Wikipedia. A Chicano/a is a person of Mexican American descent. There are many nuances both regional and familial to identifying oneself as Chicano/a. In fact, it is an intensely personal decision to allow others to call you or to refer to yourself as Chicano/a. There is no right or wrong when it comes to personal identity even if it means blending contradictory terms.

Yuppie Chicana is a term I have created and coined to describe young female professionals living all over the world that are of Mexican American descent and find themselves successful in both the American and Latino cultures. As of April 1, 2010, there were 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States. The Pew Research Center reported that in 2010 there were 31.8 million Mexican Americans in the United States. All types of companies and industries are talking to us and by us I mean the beautiful, confident, powerful and successful Yuppie Chicana. They want our feedback, our money, our loyalties and attention. It's not a coincidence that I shed a tear or twenty, depending on the time of the month, every time Salma Hayek flashes back to her childhood as her mama calls her into the kitchen to drink her milk. I turn on Dancing with the Stars only to quickly add it to my DVR schedule so I don't miss out on William Levy's sexy moves. If you're still unclear as to what my term Yuppie Chicana represents, maybe this will help.

If you've ever made a wrong turn off the highway only to find yourself in the barrio and instead of getting nervous, you look for a carniceria to take home some carne asada to the hubby, you're a Yuppie Chicana. If you own a Louis Vuitton purse and secretly refer to it is as "Luis," yup, you're a Yuppie Chicana. If your neighbors knock on your door so you can translate for their gardener, you guessed it, you might be a Y.C. If you love going to that group salsa class at your local gym but wonder what the big deal is, you've been dancing to this stuff since you were little, you might qualify as a Yuppie Chicana. Whether or not you are a Y.C. like me, I invite you to subscribe to my blog as I share my opinions and experiences through the lentes of a Yuppie Chicana.


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