The “spicy” stereotype for LatinX women does more harm than good

Trigger Warning: mentions of se*ual assault, self image, and grooming 

While some may think the spicy label is a flattering one, many Latinx women find it offensive and dangerous.

While some may think the “spicy” label is a flattering one, many Latinx women find it offensive and dangerous.

A lot of people think very ignorantly when talking about how “spicy” LatinX women are. Calling a LatinX woman “spicy” isn’t just saying we’re “attractive”. It’s way more than that. When people call a LatinX woman “spicy,” they’re fetishizing and sexualizing us.

The term “spicy” has been used for many years, but recently, it has popularized on TikTok. At first it was used to describe white men who are “attractive,” then it slowly transitioned into a term to call LatinX women “spicy” indicating that we’re “sexy” which makes no sense because someone can’t be “spicy”. The term “spicy” is used for foods when they’re hot in flavor.

That’s not the only thing that has fetishized LatinX women. There are multiple boys on Tik Tok saying they “prefer” LatinX women over any other race, which again, doesn’t make sense and it is a form of fetishizing. A preference can’t be race. A preference can be an eye color you think is attractive, a certain haircut, height, etc. Talking about how they only like LatinX women can be threatening. 

There are dangers that come with the “spicy” stereotype. For example, a lot of people fetishize a situation of LatinX girls being with older guys and think they’re mature, which is not true, it is grooming. 

Latinx women often find themselves having to defend against the “spicy” label so as to not be automatically perceived as a sexual object.

In an article by reporter Ces Heredia, called “I’m A Latina. Please Stop Calling Me Spicy” Heredia speaks on something similar:  “Stereotypes, like the “spicy Latina,” are proven to increase rates of dating violence victimization and acceptance as well as sexual harassment toward young women.”

Since people think LatinX women are supposed to be “sexy,” a lot of them think LatinX women are going to accept any sexual interaction because we’re “sexy” and that “sexy women will always agree to do anything”, which is not true. LatinX women don’t owe anyone anything. 

Many times when these stereotypes are being used on LatinX women, it can make us doubt how we are because such standards are expected of us. LatinX women are portrayed as “sexy” which makes us think that we “need” to be as how people stereotype us or else we’re not attractive.

“I get mad when I hear [about this] because everyone has their way of being and we’re just expected to fit everyone’s standards,”said Bladensburg High sophomore Sandra Alvarado. 

In an article by reporter Auie DiPasquale called “Latina Stereotypes within Pop Culture” DiPasquale speaks more on how LatinX women are “supposed” to look: “Latina women are fiery [,] wear tight [clothing,] have numerous kids at a young age [, and] speak with thick accents.” 

However, these expectations should not be what we try to live up to.

Early 1900s actress Lupe Velez, who was of Mexican descent, was often cast only as the stereotypical spicy and sexy Latina woman.

“I don’t agree with how [we’re] categorized. By our size, shape, and color,” said Alvarado. “[…] it brings down the confidence of other LatinX women who are told they have to “better” themselves to fit into society. If you don’t have a certain body you’re not “pretty” and now you aren’t “spicy”.” 

All of this may seem “fake” to other people but in the media, there are characters from real shows/movies that portray the “spicy” stereotype.

In an article by reporter Silvia Lopez called “Too Hot to Handle: The Dangers of the ‘Spicy Latina’ Stereotype” Lopez says “[Lupe] Vélez was constantly portrayed as a sex bomb [.] She starred in films like “Hot Pepper” and “Mexican Spitfire,” where her “spicy Mexican” persona [..] was her only character trait.”

It’s time to stop stereotyping LatinX women and other POC. No one should be putting fake or “real” expectations on LatinX women. We don’t owe anyone anything.