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Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina Paperback – May 10, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press; annotated edition edition (May 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580051898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580051897
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Young Latinas grow up dealing with two, often conflicting, sets of expectations about how they should look, how they should act and how they should dream, points out Molinary, a poet, teacher and first-generation Latina born to Puerto-Rican parents, in this study. Drawing on the responses of more than 500 women who answered an extensive survey, Molinary lays out the most pressing tensions and obstacles for Latinas around issues like body image, religion and sexuality. In chapters titled Turning Gringa and How Latina Are You? she weaves together her own stories with the anecdotes of her survey respondents. The extensive quoting of other Latinas imbues the book with an honesty that will likely be appreciated by young readers. However, Molinary often overuses these voices, which drown the narrative structure. At its best, the book is a pastiche of honest and emotional insights that come together to reveal a shared experience. At its worst, it comes off like a sloppily prepared sociological report, with little storytelling finesse. Though more suited to skimming than reading straight through, the book is likely to be a source of comfort for many young Latinas. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Growing up in two cultures, children are usually the ones "who bring America home" while their parents "just want the guest to go away." Molinary was the only Puerto Rican girl in her South Carolina high school, and her lively, honest narrative captures the immigrant conflicts of trying to fit in at home and feeling a stranger outside. She combines her personal experience with commentary drawn from more than 80 Latinas she interviewed and more than 5,000 who answered her Web-based questionnaire. They talk frankly about prejudice, family tensions, body image, skin color, sexuality, faith, social norms, and much more. Throughout, the young women are candid about ignorance from all sides, and they are fiercely critical both of the stereotype that Latinas are all "Mexican and illegal" and of the exotic, sexy roles Latinas play on television. Rooted in clear details, the strong, upbeat message celebrates the traditional and the contemporary sides of today's Latinas. A final section includes the survey, interview questions, and an up-to-date bibliography and a resource guide. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Rosie Molinary is an author, teacher, and activist. Rosie's second book, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance, was published in October 2010 by Seal Press. Hijas Americanas, her book on Latina body image in America, was published by Seal Press in June 2007. In addition to writing, she teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and speaks on body image, diversity, self-awareness, social justice and writing around the country.





Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I used this book as conversation starter topics with my group.
Amazon Customer
Molinary gives moving, funny, and thoughtful anecdotes of her life blended with stories and experiences of other latinas in the US.
Jennifer Kinney
This book taps into an issue that had garnered recent attention, that is the well-being of young Latinas.
Eve Veliz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By sayock on April 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
**Long Review** (for a condensed version, skip down)
I would have to part from the majority of the reviews here, especially the ones that suggest this book applies universally to women. While there are elements of the book that the majority of women can relate to, it is clear to me from the larger messages that Molinary's attempting to get across that 1) the point is not all women are essentially the same with basically similar experiences when you get down to it, and 2) while some of these issues share a level of commonality, Latinas are affected much more deeply not only by these common growing pains but by their intersection with identities and issues unique to Latinas. People mention the common topics discussed by Molinary but fail to point out the discussions about the unique ways in which Latino parents often inadvertently add pressures to finding one's Latinidad by either wanting their kids to fit into the mainstream more--thus stripping them of the right to speak Spanish at home and visit Spanish-speaking nations or become close to the homeland of their parents--or constantly reminding their kids that they aren't white...which I sense from several stories that reminding Latinas that they aren't white is almost the same as telling them they aren't really American. Most also fail to mention the struggles Latinas obviously face balancing their parents' views and pressures with social pressures experienced from white media and white peers. These issues are far from what the average white American female experiences or even has any clue about.

And as a black female reading this book, I often found I couldn't relate to the feelings, concerns and pressures of the Latinas interviewed, as well as Molinary. However, you don't have to be able to relate to enjoy this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Avant on June 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
I've attended countless diversity trainings and Masters-level classes on cultural issues. I've even completed a week-long seminar that certified me to interpret scores on the Intercultural Development Inventory and administer cultural sensitivity trainings. Molinary has, in 300 pages, taught me more than any of these experiences. By allowing these women to tell their stories to a faceless audience, she has given non-Latinas, like me, a unique opportunity to delve into their lives and gain as deep an understanding of their experiences as possible. It's also a great read! Educational AND entertaining?? That's what I said.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Kinney on June 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that you won't soon forget! Molinary gives moving, funny, and thoughtful anecdotes of her life blended with stories and experiences of other latinas in the US. I wish it had been available when I was a young girl, but I can still take away so much from it as a 33 year-old woman. I could not put it down and read it in two days! Thanks to the author for putting so much time and research into crafting a book that could help millions of woman see themselves for the beautiful "hijas" they are. This is a timely, empowering read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
I work with latina young women. I used this book as conversation starter topics with my group. This led to amazing discussions of the challenges of living in two cultures with two different standards. A majority of the topics are universal to women and the issues faced in our society, yet by addressing the bicultural nature of a significant number of Latinas a powerful voice is being added to the discussion
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Pavlov on July 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent, excellent book!! I highly recommend it to anyone who has an ounce of latin/hispanic blood in them. A very eye opening experience for me. It made me see myself in a totally new light....a very positive light!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leticia on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I came across Hijas Americanas as an undergrad in college. I was in desperate need of a book that demonstrated strong research practices and had the analysis of growing up as a Latina, Hijas Americanas was exactly that. Rosie Molinary takes us through how she conducted her research and how she came about her findings, which I found to be eye-opening. I truly appreciated how Rosie Molinary incorporated personal stories to highlight certain findings, as a reader this allowed one to truly reflect on your experiences growing up as a Latina. Her book along with herself serve as one of the primary reasons why I decided to work with Latina youth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Calderon on October 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Ive been researching Latina identity and have read several books on the topic, this book being my least favorite. I wanted some more meat on the subject and found myself glossing through the book rather than reading it. If you are new to the subject and want a general overview of the topic, this book is for you.I
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lorraine C. Ladish on August 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
I had the pleasure of interviewing Molinary for a book article and I was pleasantly surprised by her approachability. Being of Spanish/American descent myself, I grew up feeling I was not "Spanish enough" in Spain or "American enough" in the US. Now I feel blessed to have one foot in each culture and feel like I belong to both. Molinary's book tells of her own struggles growing up Latina in America, and about the conflicting messages received at home, by her peers and by the media. She now also admits to having reconciled with her heritage and who she is. She shares the stories of countless other Latinas of different backgrounds and weaves their experiences into a book about body image, self-image, and about loving oneself because of one's differences and not in spite of them.
A very inspiring and helpful read!
[...]
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