12. joulukuuta 2014

Latinalainen Amerikka

Olen tässä vähän katsellut eri maiden ja varsinkin tunnetusti sekarotuisemman Latinalaisen Amerikan kauneusleikkaussivustoja. Hyvin useasti näillä sivustoilla voi havaita kauneusstandardin olevan eurokeskinen ja kuvissa voi useasti nähdä sinisilmäisiä naisia.

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Latin America is one of the most ethnoracially heterogeneous regions of the world. Despite this, health disparities research in Latin America tends to focus on gender, class and regional health differences while downplaying ethnoracial differences. Few scholars have conducted studies of ethnoracial identification and health disparities in Latin America. Research that examines multiple measures of ethnoracial identification is rarer still. Official data on race/ethnicity in Latin America are based on self-identification which can differ from interviewer-ascribed or phenotypic classification based on skin color. We use data from Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, and Peru to examine associations of interviewer-ascribed skin color, interviewer-ascribed race/ethnicity, and self-reported race/ethnicity with self-rated health among Latin American adults (ages 18-65). We also examine associations of observer-ascribed skin color with three additional correlates of health – skin color discrimination, class discrimination, and socio-economic status. We find a significant gradient in self-rated health by skin color. Those with darker skin colors report poorer health. Darker skin color influences self-rated health primarily by increasing exposure to class discrimination and low socio-economic status.
The psychological literature on colorism, a form of within-group racial discrimination, is sparse. In an effort to contribute to this understudied area and highlight its significance, a concise and selective review of the history of colorism in Latin America is provided. Specifically, three historical eras (i.e., conquest, colonization, and post-colonization) are summarized. In each era, the establishment of racial and ethnic stratification and its consequences for Latino/as of indigenous and African descent are discussed. Connections between today’s color-blind racial attitudes and mestizaje, or the mixing of races, is underscored to demonstrate how these strategies have been used, historically and today, to deny and minimize skin-color privilege. The article culminates with questions to help readers reflect and engage in dialogue about colorism as a prelude to recommendations for stimulating future research on this significant yet neglected topic.

In both populations, only very light-skinned or white women are mentioned as examples of ideal beauty; all have Caucasian features regardless of body type. The one celebrity mentioned by both groups, pop singer Christina Aguilera (who is half Ecuadorian), perfectly embodied the white North American prototype of beauty: thin with long blonde hair, blue eyes, and white skin. Although the participants debated whether Aguilera should be considered Ecuadorian, they all agreed that she does not “look Ecuadorian.” It is clear that the idealization of Caucasian appearance has tremendous influence over determinations of physical beauty in the case of both groups.
The myth of whiteness and peace has long been used internationally by elites promoting the image of a healthy, hard-working, orderly, and patriotic population (Jime´nez Matarrita, 2005), and Costa Rican exceptionalism continues to play an important role in official tourism marketing, representing the country as simultaneously exotic and safe, making it especially welcoming for US tourists (Rivers- Moore, 2007). Costa Rica’s historical construction of national identity as based on whiteness, the nation as ‘exception’ in a region of mestizaje, is also deployed in discussions of sex tourism to explain foreign tourists’ attraction to Costa Rican women. For example, a former senior employee of the national tourism board suggested that

we Costa Ricans are more beautiful. If you compare Costa Ricans with the rest of Central America, ticos are more beautiful. Costa Rican women are in first place in Latin America . . . in fact, in Central America you can’t get women like the Costa Ricans.

But what is it that allegedly makes Costa Ricans more beautiful? According to the same interviewee, ‘we don’t have any indigenous people, we’re pure’. Similarly, a senior legislative assistant argued that sex tourism is so popular in Costa Rica because the country has a ‘less indigenous genetic composition . . . the physical characteristics of Costa Ricans are a little different and that, mixed with our level of education, makes us attractive’. The head of security at a large hotel in San Jose´ ’s sex tourism neighbourhood added ‘we don’t have illiteracy here and the women are beautiful, they have beautiful features. In other countries they’re more like Indians [sic]’. Though a key element of the attraction of Costa Rica for sex tourists is racialised sexual difference, as we will see below, discursive constructions of Costa Rican national identity rely on representations that are also racialised but in ways that contradict the exoticism that sex tourists seek out. By equating whiteness with beauty, Costa Rican nationalist discourse is flexible enough to incorporate, and provide an explanation for, the booming sex tourism industry.