Illustrated by Gabriella Peabody, Butler University

Consuming Latiné Bodies

Bodies and faces as trends come and go, but what can we do to break the body-shaming cycle?
May 30, 2024
7 mins read

Latine bodies are often at the forefront of familial and online conversations.

Are you fox pretty or bunny pretty? Or are you girl pretty or boy pretty? TikTok beauty trends are swarming For You pages as users attempt to identify their bodies, faces and attractive features. The obsession with categorizing everything has led to filters like “What kind of pretty are you?” as individuals scramble to understand their appearance and how they are perceived. 

Nevertheless, there seems to be a divisive discussion when referring to non-white women and their bodies. Women of color have commented that they are often called “boy pretty” rather than “girl pretty” on TikTok compilations that compare the two apparent standards. Women of color like Zendaya are featured as “boy pretty,” while white women like Sydney Sweeney are labeled as “girl pretty.” This trend is strange and compares how consumable women are to men. 

Those with Latine bodies are just one of the communities prone to being dissected. A TikTok account posted a video with Mitski’s lyrics “Venus, planet of love was destroyed by global warming,” where white women’s beauty (“Venus”) is destroyed or overlooked by Black and Latine women’s appearance (“global warming”). This user seems to believe that women of color’s features and styles are becoming glorified, much to their dismay.


@starsetoffline Scary POC women aaah!! #fyp #foryoupage #lgbtq #queer #STARSET #mitski #greenscreenvideo ♬ christmas ahh sound – ☆Tumpula☆

Women of color face bitterness and scrutiny on social media, but they are also sexualized more than their white peers. Minnesota State University found that 90% percent of women of color in magazines were constituted with hypersexual images and content. This relates to the “exotification” or the fascination with non-white individuals and people of color as exotic and foreign. Exotification can lead to fetishization, where Asian, Black, and Brown women are hyper-sexualized in all kinds of entertainment, like music videos, commercials and movies. It seems that Latin American communities and their bodies are colonized even on online platforms.

 There is a current trend regarding whether Latine women identify as either “tortas,” “pan dulce,” or “tortillas.” Those who are “tortas” are curvier or bigger than those who are “pan dulce” and have “fat in the right places.” However, “tortillas” are simply flat. The constant access that men have to women’s bodies due to online platforms has opened a door to consuming and labeling them as food. 


@fdh_juju No more snacks in da house till dis day😔#az #parati ♬ original sound – imisssnackwraps

Still, the participants of these trends are sometimes the Latine women themselves. Many women have posted gym videos with captions: “Latinas are either built like Selena or her killer.” This stereotype settles that the two body types among Latines are either like the 23-year-old singer Selena Quintanilla or Yolanda Saldívar, who is older and bigger. 


@alejandrovassquez Ive never been the same after seeing that tweet #mexican #motivation #gymtok #humor #fyp #viral #flopera #fitnessmotivation #weightloss #workout #weightlosstransformation ♬ vamos mis amores – @ Albha !

Emily Jimenez, a Dominican woman interviewed by HuffPost, mentioned the understanding that “According to Hollywood, you either have Sofía Vergara’s body type, where you’re curvy and super voluptuous with a flat stomach, or you’re an older woman who’s super round and plump and isn’t a main character. It doesn’t leave much room in between.”

The online trends further showcase Latine people’s fatphobia.  Latine women criticize their bodies as a result of their home and cultural norms. Journalists, celebrities and writers have shared how their Latine and Hispanic households have micromanaged eating and conditioned discussions around bodies. 

America Ferrera, who was applauded for her role in “Real Women Have Curves” and starred in “Barbie,” has spoken about the importance of Latine representation. Her debut film “Real Women Have Curves” features a mother who tells her daughter, “You look awful…you would look beautiful without all that fat.” However, the daughter, Ana, retorts, “I happen to like myself…How dare anyone tell me what I should look like or what I should be when there’s so much more to me than just my weight.” Ferrera mentions in an interview, “It still just makes me think about how far we’ve come, but also how far we have to go.”

It seems that Latine women are aware of the body shaming they endure from their families and the fetishization they tolerate from social media audiences. Yet, many of these women indulge in the trends and even ask social media audiences, “What body type do I have?”

While participating in trends that categorize your body, face and features seems amusing, body obsession and body shaming have long-term effects. It’s crucial to adopt a body-neutral ideology to break the pattern and cycle of dissecting people’s bodies. The term “body neutrality” has started gaining slow popularity compared to “body positivity.” While body positivity strives to love all body parts every day, body acceptance encourages accepting all bodies for their functions rather than by appearance. 


@hannah.bayles Kids will always bring up your insecurities wont they? 🙃 #parentingtips #reparentyourself #bodyneutrality #girlmom ♬ original sound – Hannah

It can start with an individual, but younger children and toddlers watch us online. There is power in radical acceptance, especially for our existence. Why should we want to chop up our bodies?

Mariana Vaca, Lake Forest College

Contributing Writer

Mariana Vaca

Lake Forest College

English (Creative Writing)

"Mariana Vaca is an English major at Lake Forest College. She is devoted to education, literature, animation, and diversity. She also loves her dog and family!"

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