10. Ugly Betty (Part 1)

October 9:
TV: Ugly Betty (“Pilot“)
READ: Molina-Guzmán, Isabel. “‘Ugly’ America Dreams the American Dream.” Dangerous Curves: Latina Bodies in the Media. New York: NYU Press, 2010.
DISCUSSION: Gary Rosas & Yamile Hernandez

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(free, not best quality)

Ugly Betty Presentation (PP)

Remember to refer to one specific quote from this week’s reading and connect it with the episode being discussed. Please cite appropriately so we can all refer back to page number. 

72 Responses to 10. Ugly Betty (Part 1)

  1. When I saw the episode of Ugly Betty in the beginning, it was interesting how the person who does the interview didn’t choose Betty because of how she was dress and the way she look, instead, he choose the other womne who had more sex appeal than Betty. Also Betty’s sister talk to her son about it is okay of him of being fat because he is a boy, which I guess for guys can get weight but for girls it is a different story. Hilda is the representation of a Latina women who cares about her family and dress like a latina instead Betty doesn’t speak alot of spanish because in the article of “‘Ugly’ America Dreams the American, she speak more English than Spanish and she is a second generation Latina who was born in the USA.

    In the article it talks about that no matter what Betty does, she will always gain more achievements in her life and regardless of her class or ethnic background. This means that she is an american who won’t be giving up on her goals in her life and will go the distant by her own strength. There is a quote in the article, “The Frida Chapter documents how media outlets that are dependent on performances of Latina ethnicity often rely on constructions of authenticity that ultimately reinforce racial and ethnic differences based on established social hierarchies and globally familiar stereotypic characteristics, such as accented English, dark hair, and dark eyes”. This shows that if a person is latina she has to have the funny accent, the dark color of her hair and of course the dark eyes of a latina. In the pilot, her father told Betty that she was a strong person and persistent too that was just like her mother which shows that Betty is a person who shows strong personality at the end.

    • rserreti says:

      I completely agree with this comment. While watching this episode I felt that Betty strayed away from the norms of what a Latina woman should be. Instead, her sister played the role of the typical Latina woman. Not only did Betty stray away from the Latina woman physically, but she also was very independent and hard working. She did her best to achieve a good life for herself and to move herself away from the negative stereotypes that many Latina woman have. Because of this, Betty was able to show that not all Latina woman are what they are portayed to be in movies.

    • Elizabeth Parsons says:

      Physically, I agree that Betty doesn’t fit into the stereotype of the Latina woman, but some of her actions do. She bends over backwards to take care of both her father and her boss, typifying the “good girl” stereotype that we saw mentioned in “The Bronze Screen.” Of course it is not a bad thing to be a caring, considerate person, but I do wonder how much of that comes naturally from Betty’s personality and how much of it is from her upbringing and what is expected of her.

      • charliegrab says:

        I’m not really sure if bending over backwards is a stereotypical trait of a Latina.. or just a construction of a concerned daughter? I would go so far as to say trying to satisfy a man, and make sure he is okay can be applied to some women (across racial barriers)

      • Kelvin Li says:

        I definitely agree with that statement but most women would probably do the same thing regardless if there Latina or not. I just think women have a loving and caring protection. She does kind of let people take advantage of her because she doesn’t know how to stand up for herself. It can be because she’s too nice or she doesn’t really know how to. She is completely opposite from the stereotypes of what a Latin woman should be. They should be loud and feisty but you don’t get that with Betty. You get that more from her sister and her sister is more sexualized. Betty doesn’t have the sex appeal and she gives off more of a calm and peaceful person. I think this is done on purpose to show the other side of women. Not all women are angry especially Latina women. It can also be from the way she was brought up. I mean because her family wasn’t that financially set as other women in the movie, it makes her who she is. She has to work hard for everything that she wants, nothing is giving to her for free.

      • joserfigueroa says:

        I don’t think this episode of Betty was necessarily about her ethnicity. I think it was more about her economic status and gender. Betty conforms to the “good daughter” role, trying to take care of her family. We see this in America Ferreras other role in Real Women have Curves, As a woman, she is expected to take care of her family and that means giving up her goals. We see this when Betty’s sister, Hilda, is upset when Betty isn’t able to make it to her fathers birthday because she decided to focus on her career. Women in general are expected to take care of others before taking care of themselves. I think Betty’s character is suppose to be one to go against stereotypical norms as and I think she serves as a positive role model for young, working class women.

    • Caroline/a Nieto says:

      I think that Ugly Betty does a good job at not just commenting at Latina stereotypes but also at commenting at the broad idea of stereotypes, which is why the show is so popular. I think so many people are able to relate. It has so many levels, we see women struggling and the idea of love, which makes it a show that most people would want to watch. Yes Betty is strong, but she is also relatable.

  2. morgan radin says:

    Throughout this course we have been examining the stereotypes that surround Latina women. We have looked at the roles in which they receive, personalities of the individual characters, and what this means for Latinas off screen. Most Latinas are hyper sexualized, marginalized, feisty, or the maid. Betty does not necessarily fit into any of these roles, yet her sister Hilda does. I know that this is one of the most stereotypical details about Hilda is her many layers of small, gold, necklaces. She is layered with gold jewelry, in a not very stylish way. The contrast between Hilda and Betty’s costuming, jewelry, and overall personality is remarkable, and both relate to stereotypical Latina roles in some ways.

    The scene where Betty chooses to model in front of all of the Mode employees is almost horrifying to watch. It exemplifies great acting by America Ferrera, but does make a spectacle out of not only Betty, but more so, Betty’s body. As a Latina women it is therefore interesting to examine how America’s body is made to reflect this ethnicity. The Latina woman is oppressed by all members of society, and in this case Betty is viewed as almost inhuman by her colleagues. It is clear through this one episode that although Betty is aware that people talk about her appearance in a negative way, she seems to not make it a priority. Which in my opinion, is a great example to set for other younger women.

    I personally thought the scene with Betty as a model is so painful to view because of the role that Daniel plays. As the white, male, heterosexual, boss I think he commits sexual harassment against Betty in this moment. I am not certain of the specifications regarding sexual harassment laws in the state of New York, (where this is filmed) however, the fact that he even asks her to do this should not be allowed. His intention is to make her quit, and to cause her sexualized and social embarrassment. I would like to pose this question to this class: Do you think Daniel is creating an environment/moment of sexual harassment?

    • Katie Blake says:

      I also thought that it was inappropriate how Betty’s boss acted towards her in regards to the photo shoot. It’s terrible that he used her appearance as a way to cut her down and try to make her insecure. It seems as though for many males, when they want to make a woman feel inadequate they often use her appearance to do it, which is completely disrespectful.

    • I completely agree and it in fact was horrible watching that scene and I could only imagine how Betty must of felt when everyone was laughing at her. However, this wouldn’t be the first time she was being laughed at or judged by her appearance. It was very brave of Betty to do what she did and as confident as she appeared to be, but she reached her boiling point. What I think is more upsetting is the fact that the photographer continued to take pictures of Betty after Daniel repeatedly told him to stop, and was basically encouraging the behavior. I do give Betty a lot of credit for how strong she is and continued to work her way to the top.

      • Kiara Morales says:

        It was a heart wretching scene, but it was also the scene in which we got to see the strength of Betty. We saw the lengths we would go to for her job, and also how when she realized that she was worth so much more than that. i thought it was wonderful because we often see the latina body portrayed the opposite way, as it being on display and being used without the girl realizing its own worth. But Betty knew exactly what she was worth.

  3. stephaniegiannoutsos says:

    Before class ended, the discussion facilitators brought up the question about whether Betty deals more with her class status or her ethnicity. I strongly believe that it is her class, not her ethnicity, that poses the most problems in her workplace. The reading for this week discusses this point in detail when it talks about how Betty’s Mexican identity is not the focus of the storyline and her race/ethnicity is less important to the heart of the show. It is her actions and her out-of-place characteristics that is the central point.

    The reading says, “Minimizing the importance of ethnic specificity in favor of a more homogenized characterization of Latina identity contributes to the symbolic colonization of Latindad.” Betty is a relatable character for people of all races and ethnicities. The reading also discusses how Betty could be ANY lower class, working woman struggling to juggle her family and her work. It doesn’t necessarily matter that she is a Latina woman interviewing for the job. She doesn’t get turned down because she is Latina, but because she is of a lower class, unfashionable, and unattractive. She could have been a white girl wearing the same exact outfit, braces, and glasses; she still would have got turned away. So this shows that in Betty’s workplace, her class differences are much more profound than her racial differences.

    • Adam Lang says:

      When looking at someone’s oppression intersectionally, it is very difficult to pin down exactly which part of their identity contributes more or less than another. Maybe her class status has to do with her race, or her unattractiveness is due to being unable to do with being unable to afford nice clothing. It’s impossible to pick these things apart because they intersect in so many ways.

    • alexandriagarry says:

      I agree with you that “Ugly Betty” deals more with women’s body image and class status than it does with ethnicity. The same storyline could be portrayed by any woman of any race and still shed light on the issues of women being subjected to criticism based on looks.

      I do however feel that the fact Betty is Latina plays to another layer of body image for the Latina, whom might be the most over sexualized group in media. I think the show breaks down several puts several social issues in your face and allows Betty to break down the barriers.

      • I do agree that “Ugly Betty” deals with body image and class status but why did they pick a Latina for this role? If they choose a white women to play Betty, would people watching the movie have different views? Would the family be part of the lower class just as Betty’s was? I think this just goes back to stereotypes of the typical Latina Family.

    • alexandriagarry says:

      I completely agree with you Stephanie that the struggles which face Betty are far more focused on her social status rather than her race. I do think however that the fact she is Mexican-American living in a lower class household plays into a Latina stereotype.
      The biggest struggle I think Betty has in her work place is her appearance, the show highlights body image and the bias of the fashion industry based on appearance more so than race or class.

      • sorlyz says:

        Betty is fortunate to find the job at the fashion company, but when her looks are not up to par she is tortured and treated like a second class citizen. Betty has plenty of struggles of her own but when people start causing her problems because of her attire, she is forced to work harder to keep the job and prove she is capable of having this job. It does not have much to do with her being a Latina but more of her being socially unaccepted because of her looks.

      • Mariah Monroe says:

        I agree, I too think the fact that she is a Mexican-American living in a lower class household certainly plays into the stereotype. Though that is not the main cause of tension at her workplace. I think Betty’s obvious differences in appearance and dress are what set her apart from others at her workplace and bring about challenges. After all, the industry she works in is 100% appearance based so how could her appearance not play into her daily challenges; given the social standards set up by the fashion industry and her place of employment.

  4. Adam Lang says:

    The title of the show, which puts Ugly before even the name of the main character, was very foretelling in how the characters in the show would react to her at first. Just as people in real life would, they judged Betty for her looks first and then her as a person second. Though being Latina, lower class, and a woman may be disadvantageous when a person is looking for a job, the first thing people see is her appearance.

    I very much agree with the article that what made Betty so much more relatable to a TV audience is that she was a pretty average person, who has the awkwardness and flaws to go along with it. I found this to be a stark contrast to the other movies and TV shows we have seen, with the exception of Real Women Have Curves. In the movies Frieda and Selena, the main characters were played by attractive actresses who lived lives that few could truly relate to. Betty is a very average person that many people can see a part of themselves in.

    • Kiara Morales says:

      I agree with your post. I think whole concept of ‘Ugly Betty’ was meant to relate to the average girl who has to deal with pressures from society or the media, such as the ones that Betty deals with – work, body image, confidence, family. I think even the fact that the word ‘Ugly’ is put before her name implies the conformity that many feel that they have to go through in order to fit the mold of what a typical beauty should be.

  5. Hailey Rosa says:

    The first main point in the article that we read for class talked of the production and inception of the show Ugly Betty. “Based on the international telenovela megahit Yo Soy Betty, La Fea (119)” the idea of creating a telenovela for North American audiences (in addition to India, Israel, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Spain, and Greece) took time. Both the increased popularity of telenovelas and increased population interested in viewing the romantic dramas led to its production and success.

    The comparisons between the show’s character Betty and the stereotypical telenovela actresses are vast. “Betty is not the Latin American heroine of telenovelas or the Latina archetypes familiar in US popular culture (126).” Selma Hayek demonstrates this within the episode, acting in the telenovela watched by the family. Hayek is aggressive, sexualized, loud, dramatic, and a maid, where as Betty is seen as a determined, hard working, and educated ugly duckling. These traditional stereotypes are fought by Betty’s character in addition to Hilda’s son, who says “I hate telenovelas.”

    It is clear, through the readings, that Ugly Betty is based on a traditional telenovela. However, it has been transformed to appease an American liberalized audience who search for the American Dream and to fight old Latina stereotypes.

    • Yining He says:

      I like your comparison between Betty and Selma Hayek’s stereotypical maid role in the Spanish telenovela, and the fact that you point out how Ugly Betty is based on a traditional telenovela. From what I know, Selma Hayek is a producer of the show, and I feel that the use of the telenovela programming in the background is very deliberate and cutting. It precisely mocks the stereotype of the hot-headed, passionate and illogical maid by delving into self-parody. It’s a smart way of commenting on the stereotype itself, and it further serves to parallel Betty’s struggles and her characterization as a latina character (or lack thereof.)

    • Elizabeth Parsons says:

      I thought the comparison between Betty and Sofia was very interesting as well. Sofia captures every common stereotype of the Latina woman–she is curvy, sexualized, dramatic (such as when she starts crying to Betty about Daniel), a native Spanish speaker, a spitfire, and has questionable morals. I don’t know much personally about the connection to telenovelas, but Sofia’s character reminded me of the maid we catch glimpses of in the show Hilda watches.

    • joserfigueroa says:

      I agree that it is clear that Ugly Betty is based off of traditional telenovelas and I enjoy that the show in a way goes against these stereotypes. Telanovelas enforce stereotypes in the Latin community and present beautiful light skinned Latins as great figures. Ugly Betty gives us a main character who is dark skinned and who does not fit into the standard beauty norm. She is surrounded by characters who conform to what society says they must be and she serves as the “ugly duckling” who is going to prove that she has what it takes. I enjoy the fact that this show uses telanovelas as a base and in a way show how telanovelas have contributed to stereotyping Latin@’s.

  6. I will say that in Ugly Betty it shows that Betty is struggling of helping her family and help herself beccause when Daniel wanted her to model for her, she had no choice but to do it so she can pay the rent of the house. I guess, Betty is a strong person who will want to help her family even if it means being humiliated in front of everyone and the fact that she isn’t faking who she is, she accepts herself that she might be pretty as the other models but she has ideas that will get her at the top. She doesn’t lie to herself, she just been who she is. Also it is true that so far, we saw a lot of latinas who are either beutiful or famous like Jennifer Lopez who is mentioned in the show; however, Betty’s character is about even though she might not have been born with looks, she makes up for it by her ideas at work which are being acknowledge by other people.

    The interviewer who look at Betty didn’t care if she could do the job or not, he wanted a person who had looks which Betty didn’t have any sense of fashion or looks but even though that happen, Betty still was persistent of being herself useful for the company, she shows she isn’t a person who will give up easily. In the fashion world, is always about the looks and the photographer in the show told Daniel “DO you want that in the magazine when they put a picture of you with that secretary? the photographer is showing that in a company of looks is always about the way you dress or looks. But Betty defies it and shows that she isn’t scare or doubt herself of wearing a dress that might not be fashionable enough in the company. When she shows the slides about her work, she was proud that her first idea was from her mother because it succeeded in her work to helping Daniel’s job.

    To everyone in the class, first I am sorry I didn’t speak up alot but today i had a sore throat that was killing me and couldn’t speak alot, that is why sometimes the presentation i was moving my mouth in a different way and touching my throat. I thank you for hearing Yamile and me doing the presentation. Have a great day.

  7. violettaorlowski says:

    After watching the first episode of Ugly Betty and reading the article, one quote that captured my attention was “Liberalism devalues the importance of communitarian experiences and social identities as determinants or barriers to individual success. Instead, it proposes that all individuals are fundamentally equal, and that, regardless of their social identity, everyone can control his or her fate through hard work, learned skills, and acquired education-the foundational myth of a U.S. meritocracy.” I chose this quote to relate to Ugly Betty, because I believe it explains exactly how the “American Dream” is not at all what it seems. As seen in the first episode, during Betty’s first interview, judgments were already made just by a mere second of a glance. They did not take into account her education, what skills she possessed that could be an asset to the company, but instead, because she did not look like the typical ideal woman for the job, she was not taken as seriously. Instead, she got the job based on the fact that she wasn’t the quintessential “beauty”. This happens everyday in our society where we make judgments on people just by how they chose to look. There is a sociology theory that explains that we attribute more positive qualities with people who are more attractive and negative qualities with people who are less attractive. Also, to say that we are all fundamentally equal and can obtain any career we strive for is also unrealistic. Extreme social mobility is extremely difficult to achieve (with a few rare cases such as Oprah, Bill Gates, and Obama), but most of our politicians and world leaders were born into a family of legacy that were privileged, (Mitt Romney and former President Bush are great examples of relying on their fathers’ legacy to obtain positions of power). I have not seen any other episodes of this show, but it would be interesting to see how far Betty makes it in the company and if she is given an opportunity to truly be successful and progress to a better position other than an assistant fetching orders.

  8. Kiara Morales says:

    Ugly Betty is a staple of individualism for mainstream media. The show not only dispels notions of cultural stereotypes, but it makes a statement about what it is to work and to make strives. While the show centers around a Mexican female lead, Betty, the show is not skewed to just a one dimensional view of a latina. As the article puts it, “Latina ethnicity is not erased but rather turned into a more ethereal form, a form that ir not easily located within U.S. racial formations…” The article points out that Ugly Betty addresses a multi-facetted identity of what “latina authencity” could be perceived as.

    In the episode Betty, we see that there is value placed on Betty being judged for her intelligence and abilities rather than her physical appearances. It is made so blatant, almost to make a statement. Right in the opening scene of the episode, Betty is introduced sitting next to a beautiful woman. Right away we see a contrast. Throughout the episode we see Betty has an intuitive business sense, quickly researching the cosmetics company that her boss much pitch an advertisement spread for, yet, paradoxically, she doesn’t have fashion sense even though she is working for a fashion magazine. It is wonderful to see this in many ways because we see that she is a latina woman, yes, but that she is a working woman at the core.

    The idea of the Mexian American women, “straddling two worlds, trying to make her way in the American world, the gringo world, as this Latina and this ugly duckling” as identified in the reading, is a very compelling dynamic in the media. As we have discussed often in class, through the movies we have seen and even through our readings, we are often seeing the latina as the beauty who wins approval because of her sultry appeal and sexy fire. Yet Betty is never seen is that iconic latina. She is very much in control of her intelligence. She is successful and the show follows her on a corporate journey in which she doesn’t need any quirky physical or stereotypical callings in order for her triumphs.

  9. briannamartone12 says:

    The show “Ugly Betty” provides a lens for the audience to finally see people for characteristics other than their racial identities. One of the most interesting parts of this “Pilot” episode was that we see Betty as being someone who is a non-fashionable person trying to make it into a very cliquey industry. Her identity as a Latina is not really important because there are other characteristics that we as the audience value her more for. It was said in the article “’Ugly’ American Dreams the American Dream”, “…the show is about more than a Latina or a Mexican woman from Queens trying to fit into white corporate culture. It is about the trope of the “American dream,” a familiar story grounded in the ideological belief that free choice, individualism, equality, and hard work under limited government intervention will allow all to succeed according to their capabilities (Molina-Guzmán 120)”. Betty really showed how a Latina could be everything but her stereotypical impersonation and still be able to be successful in what she does. However, it is important to notice that even though Betty could be successful and be a Latina, she still is looked at as being Ugly because she does not fall under the image of the stereotypical Latina.

    Unlike Betty, her sister is one that does represent this image. Hilda represents a Latina in almost every way possible. To start off, she has an attitude just like most Latinas are portrayed in media to have. She also speaks with an accent which makes her identity even more identifiable. To express her Latina portrayal even more, she dresses in ways that are more sexualized. Her breasts are usually more visible, curvy figure and her body generally just resembles one that is of a Latina identity. It was said in the article we read, “‘Ugly’ America Dreams the American Dream”, “While Hilda (in what is perhaps a reference to the more racially coded Latina harlot stereotype) is described as Betty’s “slutty sister,” Betty is always defined through ethnic and racially neutral terms (Molina-Guzmán 128)”. It is important after reading this quote that we realize that just because of Hilda’s identity and image she is referred to as being a Slut. When one is called that label, it is usually because of the way they physically represent themselves. I wonder if Hilda’s label has anything to do with her being a Latina.

    It is important to notice that Betty’s identity really does not have that much significance in this show. We also see other women of different racial identities being shown within the fashion industry and their race is never a central concern or focus. I think that “Ugly Betty” provides a challenge to media and shows that race should not always be what sticks out. We are more than our racial identities. However, Betty might not seem to resemble her race as much because she does not resemble the typical Latina which is important to understand.

    • Alexis R. says:

      I love your points about Betty still achieving great things and especially that her achievements are not centered around her race but she is still looked down upon because she still (look-wise) does not fit the mold. I think that it really important to consider when you think about people who achieve the American dream. Do they actually succeed because they fit the mold which make others recognize them as someone with potential or it hard work simply enough? Well if we look at Betty in the two episode’s that we looked at in class, we see that from episode one to twelve, she does not necessarily move up but moves across since she remains an assistant but just for another boss even though at the end she quits from her new position for moral and ethical reasons. Does she experience the glass-ceiling effect? Well to a certain extent I am sure she does since she realizes how hard it was for her to “get her foot in the door” but I am also pretty sure that she is optimistic about her future and expects for things to “take off” at some point. Interesting post. 🙂

      • briannamartone12 says:

        Thank-you Alexis!! I also think that it is important to recognize that Betty really doesn’t have any upward mobility. She has been working at MODE for quite some time yet she still is the same position when she goes to the other magazine company. It is evident that Betty is such a Hard-worker! She has amazing ideas and contributes to the company in ways other characters don’t. We see in the “Pilot” episode that she practically saves MODE magazine through her ideas, however she gives the credit to Daniel. She has what it takes to hold a bigger position yet , we see as the audience that she doesn’t really move anywhere. Even though this lack of Upward Mobility could be said that her appearance plays a role, it seems to still resemble struggles that women and minorities face in the workforce as well.

  10. I want to ask a question to people, the moment when Betty got why she got the job, she said “It’s ok, this is suppose to happen to me” it means that people like her could be alot of things. What do you think she meant by that?

    • Stacey Pecor says:

      I feel like although Betty was constantly being looked up and down for her appearance, she didn’t seem to be that ashamed or bothered by it and was definitely confident with her knowledge. When she said “this is supposed to happen to me” I think she was referring to her not fitting in with this ideal beauty image, especially in the fashion company she is working for. Being completely embarrassed and laughed at in front of all the other models would be upsetting for anyone. It definitely got to her and put her down. I don’t think she was referring to being a Latina but it was more based on her appearance.

    • Skylar Smith says:

      My opinion of what she meant by “It’s ok, this is suppose to happen to me,” is that she was expecting it. Due to the social class she is in, being a woman, and being a latina; Betty has realized that she was not going to make it the way people dream of. She got the job without an interview due to her being “ugly.” At that moment, Betty realized she did not make it because of her credentials, she was where she was because of how she looked. But this idea did not stop her and her idea for Fabia from reaching the top. Although she knew she got the job because of her looks, her determination does not and will not stop her.

    • Lucia Parisi says:

      I think Betty is aware that she is not attractive so this just shows a lack of confidence in herself. However, she didn’t let that break her and was thankful that she got her “big break.” From this moment on, I think Betty will be determined to show that she doesn’t need to look like a model to get the job done.

    • I believe that what she meant to say is that she has gotten so used to being judged by her appearance and she knows she is different than other latinas (image wise). In the fashion world, image is very important and Betty knows that she doesn’t have that ideal image that people are looking for. People like her do not usually get this opportunity and i think thats why she said “its okay, this is supposed to happen to me…”

      • Even though Betty represents herself as this confident, unique, “I dont care what people think” type of attitude, deep down inside she knows that she is not the most beautiful women. When she responds by saying “It’s ok, this is suppose to happen to me,” she obviously knows that her appearance compared to the other workers is way off. Lets be honest, she stands out like a soar thumb. But even when she was faced with this reality check, she walks out of that room just a determined as she was and still manages to attend a photo shoot, completely humiliating herself.

  11. Lindsey Honig says:

    I actually watched Ugly Betty when it was on the air from 2006 to 2010. It is interesting for me to re-examine it through the lens of a more media-literate person and also as a student who is now more conscious of [Latina] stereotyping in the media. First, I was unaware until reading the article that Salma Hayek was a producer (and appears in the telenovela on the show). This initially lends some credibility to the program since Hayek could shed light on the Latina experience, versus if it was the typical white male setup that dominates Hollywood. Second, I always associated the show with the movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” as we discussed in class, due to the plotline of a new girl making her way through the fashion magazine industry. However, from reading the article I have learned this show is actually an adaptation of an original Spanish-language program. Molina-Guzman notes how the combining of two continents (North and South America) is a trend beginning to happen on TV (even though Mexico is a part of North America, as we know). The Hispanic population is only going to grow more in the next few years so we may see more and more programs that follow in Ugly Betty’s shoes. Thus, it is important to study this topic.

    In the pilot episode, Betty’s “ugliness” and Latina background are both under the spotlight. I think the two work well together given her circumstances. She does not fit society’s standard of beauty, and that has left her resilient, optimistic, and intelligent. Also, she has not lived the cushioned life Daniel, her new boss, has led as a media mogul’s heir. She comes from a lower-middle class background, and faces many domestic issues we see stereotyped all the time for Latin families. Her father faces potential deportation in a later season and her Hilda struggles with her on-and-off-again relationship with Justin’s father. How the family handles said issues, though, distinguishes this show from others.

    One of the themes I have drawn from the show is to not only accept who you are but to love who you are, even if those around you do not. Christina, the seamstress from Mode’s closet, helps Betty in her journey. She is an immigrant and older than Betty so she can give insight on the superficial workplace they share since neither are the cookie cutter Mode employee. She is a character that can help Betty grow even though they are not from the same ethnicity. The idea of the underdog is pan-cultural, I believe, and this show exemplifies that.

  12. Lucia Parisi says:

    This episode shows the pressure that is put on women to be “attractive.” When Betty first walked into her new job, Amanda didn’t take her seriously because of her appearance. She confused her for a delivery person. Betty is so “unattractive” that her boss’s father only hired her to make sure his son wouldn’t be tempted to sleep with his assistant. Later in the episode, Betty showed that even though, she is not “attractive,” she is determined and proved that she is capable of being an efficient worker by saving her boss’s job with her ideas for the campaign.

    When Betty found out the real reason why she was hired, she felt really bad which probably lowered her self steam even lower. However, she was okay with the fact that she was hired for the most humiliating reason because she would then try to prove everyone that she has the ability to be successful. When Betty was asked to fill in for a model by trying on minimal clothing, she did in order to satisfy her boss and keep her job. Betty is aware that she does not look like a model and she understood that she was going to look foolish, but she was determined to please her boss.

    The quote “Betty’s entry into an over the top rendition of working class urban Latinad” (p. 145) made me realize that Betty doesn’t really come off as a typical hispanic woman. Her sister, Hilda is the definition of a media portrayal of a Latina. Hilda has the tight clothes, the accent, the sass while Betty is calm, collected, and is more focused on her career success than anything else. When Walter breaks up with Betty for the her neighbor, she didn’t throw a typical hispanic fit. Instead of screaming or going after her neighbor, she collected herself and went inside.

  13. Yining He says:

    Queering America’s dreams:

    There is a section in the reading that discusses Ugly Betty’s representations of gender, sexuality and queerness. The author broadens the definition of queerness to not just include discourse about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people but also the idea of being an outsider, someone who is “just a little bit strange, who is similar and Other.”

    The reading mentions how Betty exemplifies the idea of queerness because she is the “quintessential outsider.” The idea of Betty being a champion and/or icon of queerness is something I’ve never encountered before, but is refreshing and interesting to think about. This highlights how Betty as a character is relatable to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, an outcast, and her role really transcends that of being Latina, a woman, or any other identities that have been imposed on her. She’s just that girl who dreams the American dream.

    To substantiate this idea of Betty being queer, the reading brings up her fashion sense to be similar to that of a drag queen, and how this overturns the normative beliefs of Latina beauty, which I think is one of the show’s most significant accomplishments. “By employing a drag aesthetic, the program subverts or symbolically ruptures preexisting notions of heteronormative Latina identity.”

    Betty is Latina, but she is just a little bit strange. She has dark black hair just like many Latinas depicted on screen, but it is wild and untamed. She likes to wear bright tropical colors, but they are clashing and gaudy. Her lips are full, but she also wears braces. “Her sense of fashion is familiar and funny and slightly wrong.” I love the way the show accomplishes this in that she is slightly similar in appearance, but still slightly different, and this demonstrates a more real, organic and natural way the producers have adopted to subvert the Latina stereotype.

    • stephaniegiannoutsos says:

      I found this part of the reading about queerness represented in the show very interesting because it is sort of an underlying theme that some people may not notice at first. This analysis of Betty’s character as someone that ANYONE can relate to is really comforting because it is true; Betty’s outsider-ness makes viewers feel like they can truly connect with her because everybody has felt like an outsider in one way or another. I also enjoyed the part of the reading that talks about how, “…the program subverts or symbolically ruptures preexisting notions of heteronormative Latina identity.” It is nice to see that this show is breaking those heteronormative ideas because those ideas form negative stereotypes for anyone that doesn’t follow those norms. The show has homosexual characters, transgender characters, heterosexual characters, etc. that all highlight the realistic diversity of people.

  14. Skylar Smith says:

    America: A Real Woman Like Betty

    This section of the reading caught my attention because it talked about how bloggers were posting online regarding the role Ferrera played and Ferrera herself. Bloggers were concerned and wondering if Ferrera was “ugly” in real life or wondered if she was “beautiful,” which would help show the quality of acting. “A majority of the posters (bloggers) desired to know that Ferrera’s real-life beauty, morals and values matched those of the television heroin they adored.”

    I thought this section of the reading helped accent and show how well people developed such an incredible para-social relationship with the character. After reading this article I began to ponder about the episode we watched and I could not help but think that there was something about the character that caught my attention and I am not too sure what it is. It may be anything from wanting her to “make it” to respecting how determined she is no matter what she is put through. The quotes from this weeks reading described her character as “television heroin.” Her character received so much attention from viewers that they related it to the addiction of heroin. People wanted to watch Betty go through her struggles and make it to what she wants to be. He role was so well thought out and carried out to such an incredible extent, that it made viewers want more and more of her.

    The first episode showed so many struggles Betty has already had to go through but by the end she was able to get her job back and respected by her boss, so far at least. I have never seen this television series so I would like to only focus on what happened in the first episode. Compared to previous movies we have seen, Betty has represented the latina woman in a different way and we can see that by the comparison to her sister. The show purposely makes her sister the way she is because she seems to represent more of what we have been seeing throughout this class. Betty, on the other hand shows how caring and nurturing she is for her family. She is a very determined second generation latina who has no interest in spanish music or television, etc. She is very determined character who keeps on catching the attention of the audiences, so I raise the question to everyone: Do you feel or at least see these “heroine” qualities in Betty?

    • I really like the question you pose, Skylar. To answer, yes. She doesn’t let her extremely poor looks bring her down in any way. She takes control of her family, and although she loses her job, she finds a way to get it back. She always finds a way to perservere.

  15. Katie Blake says:

    In the article, one quote that to me summarized one of the main themes in Ugly Betty is: “Ethnicity and race are not the raison detre of the lead characters or the motivation behind the main story lines. Rather, it is the logic of the American dream, which assumes the hard-working Betty and her more wayward sister, Hilda, will eventually achieve personal, professional, and economic success regardless of their class or ethnic background.” (Page 2) Although many movies or shows featuring Latina actresses use the Latina stereotype to build the character, Betty’s ethnicity is not the dominant theme in this show. Instead, what I noticed was an intelligent, motivated young woman. Betty is aware of the fact that she is not physically attractive by society’s standards, and yet she has a strong confidence in herself that comes from her education and self-worth, especially after attaining her employment from the magazine. When she first arrived at the magazine, people were obviously gawking at her “ugly” appearance and clothes and she obviously must have noticed their stares, yet she still pushed forward and wasn’t afraid to introduce herself to her boss and coworkers. It seems as though she has accepted that she isn’t physically attractive and has found other things to love about herself, such as her intelligence, and she uses that to try to overcome obstacles. For example, even though she isn’t confident in her appearance, she allowed her boss to talk her into doing a photo shoot because she thought that was what she had to do to be a great employee and she didn’t let her insecurity about her appearance get in the way. As stated in the quote above, the pilot of this show did not focus on Betty’s ethnicity, but instead on her hardworking attitude. As she overcame the obstacle of convincing her boss that she was worthy of the job, it foreshadowed that she will obtain success in her future.

    • amandaawyong says:

      Going off from your point about Betty’s interactions with her colleagues, I too found that she was admirable.

      In our society, it is difficult for a woman to be so blatantly judged by her look, and yet remain single-minded in achieving her goal. The group leading the discussion asked if we felt how Betty’s job interview was typical. I think that it wasn’t, not in that she looked different. Rather, it was her attitude that set her apart. I think that her positivity and determinism is something that we can all learn from.

      After all, how many of us would be willing to squeeze ourselves into a costume made for size zero models in front of a new boss?

  16. Caroline/a Nieto says:

    I think that Ugly Betty Is not only a show that shows the struggle of a Latina, but also shows the struggle of women in our society. There are so many levels when it comes to Betty and her character, not only is she Latin, she is a woman and she is from the lower class. Because of her many layers, Betty becomes relatable to so many different people. As Maureen Ryan, from the Chicago Tribune says, “Those who can identify with Betty’s Plight– anyone who has ever felt like the ugly duckling among swans, any veteran of battles fought not with fist but with cutting remarks and exclsuions- should fine a lot to like.” (p 6). So, the show not only focuses on the idea of the latina in the American culture, but it encompasses the idea of being the “odd one out”, making the show not just enjoyable to mass audiences, but relatable. Betty, then is not the fiery latina that we have become accustomed to, but instead she becomes the girl that everyone can relate to and understand. Why do this? More views, more money. If you can relate to a broad audience, you are only making more bang for you buck.

    I find it interesting as well that this series is based on series past from Latin America. Like I said before, the show was defintely made to appeal to a mass audience, but it is important to remember the mix of Americanized Latinos we have in this country. Not only does Betty appeal to them, she is them. Growing up in a lower income house hold and fighting to become something, that is my idea of the new American Dream. Being the first generation here and being able to succeed and become everything your immigrant parents hoped you would become, again, the new American Dream. There are so many layer to this show. On the one hand you have the latina that has worked hard and is finally given her chance to succeed, but then you have the awkward girl next door that so many other people can relate to. This show does not just encompass one stereotype– there are SO many seen here. The writers and producers do a great job at including so many different people in Betty, and allowing her to sink with anyone who has ever felt like the underdog.

    • morgankamm says:

      I like how you said “Betty is not the fiery latina that we have become accustomed to, but instead she becomes the girl that everyone can relate to and understand.” There are definitely people just like her, growing up in queens as the first generation American and struggling to take care of the family while wanting to pursue his/her dream. This series makes it for those people to really relate to Betty. And just like Betty, who talks about how her mother always told her that people like her don’t make it very far, there are probably many mothers that tell their children that, who come from low income families and don’t have the necessary resources to believe in a successful future. But Ugly Betty changes that for them.

    • I really like the point you make about how Ugly Betty can relate to pretty much anyone, regardless of if they are of Latina descent. Although the main character is, the role she plays in society as the “outsider” can apply to anyone as we all feel out of place one time or another. The show has a plot that outlines common, daily life struggles and doesn’t centrally focus on latina elements.

      • charliegrab says:

        I totally agree! It is important for us to remember that even though our focus is being directly aimed at Latinas, many of the gender constructions we are seeing can be applied to all women.

        Betty works to break many constructions, regardless of her race.

    • Kelvin Li says:

      They really do because Betty represents a mass majority of women in the country who faced similar situations. You have Stuart cheat on her with Gina because she was much prettier. People give her a hard time at work because she has no sense of style, which is ironic because she works in a fashion magazine. I think the main goal of the show was to portray that anyone can be successful, no matter what their background is. It’s about hard work and dedication. It’s about how you can sell yourself but not in a sexual way. Betty does a great job because she contradicts most women on the show. She is also someone you normally don’t see get hired in companies such as Mode because they discriminate people. Not because of their ethnic background but because they don’t look a certain way.

  17. amandaawyong says:

    The reading discussed how Ugly Betty steered away from concentrating on race. “Overall the journalistic discussion of the program encouraged viewers to focus on Betty as an “ugly duck”, not Betty as the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Guadalajara.” As we have discussed in class, Betty was really an outsider because of her class and looks, as opposed to her race.

    I am guessing here that Betty is written to be Latin American so as to retain some sort of connection to the original show that it was adapted from, Yo soy Betty, la fea. In the original show. The original was set and filmed in Columbia and I don’t think there were obvious race differences between the main character, Betty, and the other characters. So perhaps the producers of the American Ugly Betty, which included prominent Latin American figures such as Salma Hayek, Jose Tamez, and Silvio Horta, decided to have Betty as Latin American, but not necessarily playing up her ethnicity. This is possibly why there are fleeting references to her Mexican identity, with the only obvious one in the scene where she wore a poncho with “Guadalajara” sprawled over it.

    For this particular adaptation, I am particularly thankful that they are able to make a dramedy with a Mexican main character without making her a Mexican stock type. Capitalizing on a Mexican caricature would just have been very stock-typed and be difficult for character development and growth. This way of adaptation definitely broadens its appeal and so even non-Latin Americans are able to identify with this “fish out of the water.”

  18. rserreti says:

    While watching this episode, there were many things that stood out to me. Unlike the other movies we have watched, I felt that Betty did not portray the same type of “Latina” as the other women did in the movies we watched. Betty, on the other hand, was not sexual or provocative like the other women were. She also did not dress like the typical “Latina” woman would. Also, I felt that Betty strayed away from the typical norms of what a Latina woman should be. She worked and was very independent. In Real Women Have Curves, the main character’s independence was not supported at all.

    When reading the article, Isabel Molina-Guzman says, “If Hilda functions as the more racialized ethnic character (the bilingual, telenovela-loving, strong-willed, hot-headed, curvaceous daughter who gets pregnant outside marriage in high school), then the socially awkward Betty occupies a less racialized panethnic role, the role of the good, self-sacrificing Latina senorita. In other words, Hilda is the brown Latina “bad girl”, Betty is the “good” ambiguous Latina” (134). I believe this shows the difference that Ugly Betty has with the other movies that we have viewed in class. Like the quote says, Betty plays the awkward girl which is very unlikely for a Latina. Latina’s are usually loud and outspoken, while Betty is quiet and attentive. Although Betty does not play the role of the typical Latina, her sister, Hilda, does. She is loud and more promiscuous. Hilda connects with many of the women we have seen when viewing the movies in class.

    • morgankamm says:

      Hilda does fit the role of the more culturally known Latina stereotypes, which makes it interesting that the series would make her a supporting role rather than a lead Latina character. I like that the series took a spin on the Latina image and made it different. I think that is what lead to its great success. As the article says, Ugly Betty was created using “depictions informed by deracialized liberalism and grounded in a campy performance of panethnic Latina identity” (121). In other words, the series did something that no other mainstream media performance has done, which went against the norms of reinforcing the Latina ethnicity with globally familiar characteristics.

  19. It’s really interesting to the American version of this story. A lot of the same elements were kept from the original show “Betty La Fea.” The major difference must have been, that “Ugly Betty” (based on the first episode) is that she didn’t have a male best friend who was “just a ugly as her.” This makes it seem like beauty is only a problem that is particular to women. Another example of this was when Betty’s little brother refused to eat cake. He claimed that it was fattening. Yet the older sister told him “[You’re a boy, it doesn’t matter if you get fat.]” This sheds light on how men and women don’t have the same amount of pressures of keeping up with their physical appearances. In spite if this, the show does seem to have some level of appreciation for education and “brains.” Even though looks can facilitate the process of getting hired for a person its still not the sole determinant. Betty was hired for her experience and perseverant nature. So there is a superficial factor to the business industry but it always overpowered by those who actually qualify. This is almost like a silent moral within the show.

    Furthermore, Betty’s character is not that different from Frida. They both had unconventional beauty. They were both driven and aggressive. They did not let the odds hold them back from moving forward to pursue their career goals. When Frida’s body began to betray her, she continued to push beyond her pain. Betty was constantly told that her career choice was a not realistic for “people like her” unless she Jennifer Lopez. Lopez being someone who “is benefiting economically simply because of her ethnoracial identity and body not because of her talent and skill “(120). Conversely, both Betty and Frida were confident in distinct ways. One was secure in her abilities and qualification and the other in her sexuality. That comment didn’t even faze Betty. What really distinguishes these characters from one another is Frida was often dependent on other because of her debilitating condition. Betty on the other hand had other dependent on her. This plays a big role on each one executes their individual passions.

    • Katie Blake says:

      I liked your point about how Betty “didn’t have a male best friend who was “just as ugly as her.” This makes it seem like beauty is only a problem that is particular to women.” I wonder if the producers of this show deliberately did this to make Betty more appealing to a wider audience of women in the U.S., not just Latinas. Perhaps they thought that many women could relate to her and that’s why they decided to leave out the male best friend.

      • Maybe it was a deliberate decision on the producers part or maybe it could simply be that they felt his role was unnecessary. Either way I feel like he wouldnt have the amount of media related pressures as Betty.

  20. morgankamm says:

    In “‘Ugly’ America Dreams the American Dream” it talks about how Frida relied on reinforcing the Latina ethnicity with globally familiar characteristics such as dark hair, dark eyes, and accented English. This is because, since there are a limited amount of “mainstream media performances of ethnic identity, complex images about ethnic and racial minorities in films are often held to higher standards of authenticity” (121). Ugly Betty on the other hand, was done in a different way, using “depictions informed by deracialized liberalism and grounded in a campy performance of panethnic Latina identity” (121). This means that the story line of the series was not meant to revolve around Betty’s Mexican identity or race. The storyline was more to pursue the idea of the “American dream,” that regardless of what class or ethnicity one may be, personal, professional, and economic success is achievable if the work is put into it.
    I like that Ugly Betty shows this different side of the Latina culture. It strays away from the “globally familiar characteristics” that Frida portrayed. Instead, Ugly Betty showed how an unattractive but qualified woman, can achieve success if she puts in the effort. This is even seen in the scene when the desk lady tells Betty that she was told she was under qualified for the assistant job but then she sees Betty walk in and get the job. The desk lady was confused why an attractive girl would get the job over her, but it shows that beauty isn’t everything. Even though the boss is not happy about Betty being his assistant in the beginning and treats her poorly, he learns a lesson that makes him become a better person, that beauty really isn’t everything.

  21. What I really enjoy about Ugly Betty is that it does have some Latina elements obviously, but that isn’t so much the focus of the show. Whereas in Frida her characteristics and decisions all relate back to her Latina descent. Page 128 of the article “Ugly America Dreams the American Dream” states, “International journalists also emphasize the underdog quality of the show, such as a 2007 story in London’s Sunday Express that quotes Ferrera saying it’s all about wanting her to succeed against the odds because she tries so damn hard.” In my opinion, this depicts the fact that in Ugly Betty, Latina elements take a back seat to the storyline itself. On the other hand, Frida was a film that focused on how being Latina/part of a minority group, personality characteristics, and physical attributes can allow one to succeed.

  22. I feel that intersectionality plays a big role in this show, the fact that not everything can be taken at face value. Betty is a lower class, Mexican woman. All of these things play a role, whether they are visible or not. They make her who she is. This is true for all of the characters.

  23. sorlyz says:

    I admire America Ferrera for taking on this role. Many actors find it difficult to take a role that may impact them for years after they finish a certain film. I also like her character in the show. Betty is just an average girl and it is obvious that she has many issues that average families go through. What makes Betty a bit different is that her certain circumstances do not necessarily reflect her nationality. She has a much more difficult time fitting in because she has a different appearance than her co-workers not because she is Latina. On page 133, Ferrera says, “It’s not a show about a Latina girl; its a show about a girl with problems who just happens to be a Latina.” This is the impression I was left with after watching the first episode. She is just another ordinary girl trying to survive her new job.

    • Caroline/a Nieto says:

      I agree completely. The show gives Betty more depths than just being the Latina girl. She is the educated woman struggling in the new job market and trying to chase her dreams and aspirations. I also think that there is a comment on the fact that although you may have a certain goal in your life, there are different paths that can lead you to that goal. She wants to be a writer, but somehow ends up in fashion because of the path her life has taken her. It doesn’t mean she is any less successful, it just shows that life doesn’t always go as planned! I think this allows for people to connect more with the show. The idea of the, “when life gives you lemons” can clearly be seen with Betty’s character and because of this she becomes relatable. The struggle of making it, no matter what, is clear in this show and makes it very appealing to all.

      • True, there are always going to be times in your life when things doesn’t always goes as planned but it will lead you to you path that is waiting for you. Betty’s character is very essential in the show because even though she is latina, she is making her way up by meeting people who might help her in her career and she see people like Sophie that Betty doesn’t want to end up like her. She is educated and she can deal her problems by herself to have money to pay the rent, so her father could be at ease. The producer wants to show that even a person like Betty could succeed in a place where beuatiful people work and Betty prefers to be a smart duckling than a swan.

  24. Over this past summer I actually watched season one of Ugly Betty and did not realize a lot of things until now. It is obvious that Betty is the not the most prettiest girl but is a very intelligent, determined, and motivated young woman. Without even looking at her resume, Betty gets denied a job that she was very qualified for, not because she was Latino but because of her appearance. Meanwhile, the pretty, petite, fashionable white girl gets hired over her. But lets admit, her looks didn’t get her too far, except on her knees.

    One key factor that I felt was important in the show Ugly Betty was how strong and independent Betty is, not only did she represent these characteristics at her job but also at home. After her mother died it obviously put a strain on the family and in my opinion Betty may have taken over her mothers role as a wife and a mom. For example, in one scene she is on the phone trying to order prescriptions for her father and in another scene she explains to Daniel how she has to help pay for rent. Betty does face many struggles but she manages to stay determined. Another good example of this is when she begins working as Daniels assistant. Betty did everything and anything Daniel wanted and even when he asked her to work for him again she gave him another chance. Betty was very professional and offered great ideas that benefited both Daniel and the company.

    • That is a very good point. We often view Betty as this entrepeneur type when in reality alot of her independence roots from lack of a mother figure. She has taken upon herself to act as “the woman of the household. Her struggles are a lot for a young women but she does seem to perservere and take it all in stride. It could be that she draws her stregth and realibity from her upbringing, versus her work ethic into her house.

    • Ernie Abreu says:

      This is a very intersting point. Latina woman are very strong individuals whom often have a huge workload or a lot on their plates. In Betty’s case, she has to deal with her father’s health, and the absence of her mother adds more pressure on her to make her father happy and mainting the household. Adding social pressures to her life is even more of a reason of why she is a strong woman. First off, she is a minority who have to deal with discrimination on a daily basis. Secondly, she is not very attracive, so she gets discriminated even more in her workplace. All this discrimination is very fustrating and to be able to stand tall and strong after all, is the reason why she is an admirable woman.

  25. Jessica_Diaz says:

    I think it is soooo important for such popular media to consider the messages that are spread through intentional or unintentional symbolism. The stereotypes are so obvious and to the extreme (for example both Betty’s body type and her poncho from Guadalajara.) This episode rings true for the “American Dream” although Betty’s sister is the much more pessimistic view (a more current opinion on the matter), where someone who is ‘less fortunate’ is somehow given a once in a lifetime chance to succeed and is supposed to be grateful and do whatever he or she is asked just to survive. Its apparently unheard of for a Latina to make it on her own, even in the year 2012, unless a white male, specifically one of the upper-class decides to share his privilege with her. Thank goodness Latina’s have someone to help them succeed…

    • joserfigueroa says:

      I completely agree that media must consider the messages that they are spreading either intentionally or unintentionally. Shows like Ugly Betty speak to the younger generations and this is what media is selling to young people. Why can’t there be a television show where a Latina from a working class family excels in school, graduates from college and is successful in the work place? I know plenty of Latinas here at the University of Connecticut who fit this mold and who are positive representations for the Latin community. It’s sad that those who are in charge of media choose to focus on the negatives of the Latin community and have to show a Latina getting help from a white man. I hope for the day where Latinas can be represented in media as productive members of our community.

  26. Ernie Abreu says:

    “Ethnic and racial identities are to be assimilated, lost and erased throught the celebrated ‘melting pot’ of U.S. Culture. Liberalism thus devalues the importance of communitarian experiences and social indentities as determinants or barries to individual success. Instead, it proposes that all individuals are fundamentally equal and that, regardless of their social identity, everyone can control his or her fate through hard work, learned skills, and acquired education- the foundational myth of a U.S. Meritocracy (p. 124).” I would like to discuss this quote that I found from the article.

    Betty is a clear example of this myth of a U.S. meritocracy. Betty was by far the best candidate for the job that she applied for. She had the education, the work ethic, and the skills to take on this position. However, because of her ethnicity and most importantly her looks, she was racially profiled and discriminated. I believe it is a myth of a U.S. meritocrazy because she had all the necessary requirements for the job. According to quote above, she should have beaten the other attractive white woman who was not up to par like Betty was. But lets be honest, we live in a world where skin color and looks matters. Its as if a darker skinned person and/or a less attractive person loses all his/her attributes and credibility. What does appearance have to do with work ethics and an education? If Betty was applying to become a Victoria Secret Model, then I would understand that she is out of place. But for a position that she is highly qualified for, looks should not be the determining factor. Ethnic and racial identities should be lost and erased because of the melting pot of cultures in the United States. This melting pot is only increasing and to see that the same discrimination that took place half a century ago is still prominent in today’s society, makes me wonder, will we ever move away from racism and achieve Liberalism?

  27. Kelvin Li says:

    “It is about the trope of the “American dream,” a familiar story grounded in the ideological belief that free choice, individualism, equality, and hard work under limited government intervention will allow all to succeed according to their abilities” (120). Betty definitely reflects this quote. She doesn’t let politics and peoples values get in her way. She doesn’t care how people look at her. She is able to be herself and be proud of who she is. Especially when she walked into the office in her poncho. It was a representation of herself, not her ethnicity. I think she gets looked down upon on the way she looks rather than her ethnic background. It is a fashion magazine so everyone is egotistic and they try to put one another down. Betty is the complete opposite where hard work pays her success rather than her sexiness.

    Betty represents a very strong woman who is very in control and takes a leadership role. In the house, there are times where she kind of acts as the mother of the family. She has to call the medical company about her father’s bills. She is always being stressed out by the calls as well as work. She doesn’t have anytime to herself. But it’s that hard work and dedication that makes her unique. She wants to succeed, but its not only for her. Its for her family, her deceased mother; she wants to make everyone proud. There are plenty of times where she wants to give up but she just can’t. She has to succeed and provide for her family. Everyone else who works at Mode takes the easy way out. They use their assets to get ahead, whether they have to sleep around with people to get what they want. Betty earns it and she has to put up with a lot of adversity to get it. She doesn’t let society dictate her and bring her down because she doesn’t let the criticism get the best of her. She keeps it professional.

  28. “Minimizing the importance of ethnic specificity in favor of a more homogenized characterization of Latina identity contributes to the symbolic colonization of Latindad.” can be used to describe many characters spanning many television channels. A sitcom, like Ugly Betty, needs a factor in which a large audience can relate to. By minimizing the ethnicity, more viewers can step into Betty’s shoes even if they haven’t experienced all of her persona, and if they have, they especially appreciate it.

  29. joserfigueroa says:

    The show Ugly Betty is truly a refreshing depiction of the Latin woman. Though the show does not necessarily focus on Betty’s ethnicity, it’s nice to study a character who does not fit the stereotypes placed upon Latinas such as spit fire or exotic. It was also nice to see a Latina who is focused on furthering her career without resorting to using her sex appeal. Similar to America Ferrera’s character in the film, Real Women have Curves, Betty is educated and has goals that she is willing to work hard for. The show gives a different look on not only Latina’s but of minority women of the working class.

    Another interesting part of the show Ugly Betty is its supporting characters. The show, of course, greatly exaggerates stereotypes found in the working class and upper class, while also bringing awareness to the stereotypes. For example, Betty’s sister, Hilda, fits the norm of what a Latina is suppose to be as she is feisty, curvy and a single mother. In the article, ‘Ugly’ America Dreams the American Dream, she “ (in what is perhaps a reference to the more racially coded Latina harlot stereotype) is described as Betty’s “slutty sister,” Betty is always defined through ethnic and racially neutral terms (Molina-Guzmán 128).” Hilda’s character is there to show the difference between the stereotype and the outlier, and to show that there is more to working class Latina’s than just their sex appeal. Another character who is meant to speak to a certain audience is Hilda’s son, Justin. Justin does not fit into his gender norm as he is into fashion and worried about his weight. I think it is interesting that this character is included because it displays a different type of young man, a young man who does not conform to the gender norms usually assigned to men. The show Ugly Betty explores the different identities that could be found in the working class and I think it serves as a positive influence for young Latin@’s. It gives them more to aspire to than just the typical sexualized vixen.

  30. Gillianna Mendoza says:

    October 9th, 2012
    I think all the points you made were clear and very true. Unfortunately, in this world that we live in, a lot of people getting hired are getting hired because of similar superficial reasons. This show is not necessarily horribly wrong in depicting our society. A lot of people get hired based on attractiveness or who they know in the business regardless of experience or work ethic. And I think that this show is interesting because they chose a latina protagonist, who is hard working, and educated. Which is a huge sign of improvement based on the “typical” latina roles and what our society sterotypes Latinas with. I am not too familiar with the show, but based on what we saw in class, I think this show is a step in the right direction for Latinas, regardless of Betty’s appearance, while also ironically showing the flaws of our society and what we define as beauty, and aspects of business.

  31. Gillianna Mendoza says:

    October 9th, 2012
    I personally have never seen the show Ugly Betty, but based on our discussion in class, I can see why it is so popular and I think it is definitely a step in the right direction for TV. As Stephanie mentioned above, I also wanted to address the question we were talking about in class at the end, about where Betty’s source of struggle really comes from, her socioeconomic status or her ethnicity. I think it’s a mixture of both, because unfortunately, when addressing stereotypes, most lations are from a lower socioeconomic status. Just because no one in the show directly addresses her race, I think it is implied. For example, the poncho with Guadalajara written on it. Everyone acknowledges it Is ugly on the show, but its “funny” or “okay” because she’s poor. But its not as though the characters are illiterate or blind, they can also see that she’s Hispanic and what the words on the front of that poncho say. So I think it is a mixture of both ideas just because stereotypically, they overlap so much. Also, I think just for the purposes of it being a family friendly show, or having appropriate ratings, they would never really target and make fun of her, or point out her flaws when it comes to ethnicity, since everyone can imagine the uproar of that. In a way, its sad that these two concepts overlap and one is associated with the other, but at least she is shown as the main character who is a latina with strong work ethic, rather than some muse on tv exemplifying her sexuality. Regardless of how superficial our society is, I think it’s a step in the right direction when decided to create a character like betty.

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