While Hollywood has a penchant for Mexican filmmakers, such as Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón, it still resorts to lazy stereotypes when it comes to putting Mexican characters in front of the camera. From gang members to ubiquitous maids, there are plenty of Hollywood stereotypes that Mexicans would love to debunk. Here are the top ten.
Did you know you can now travel with Culture Trip? Book now and join one of our premium small-group tours to discover the world like never before.
Mexican women are maids and nannies
Let’s start with the obvious one, shall we? Mexican women are only ever seen as maids and nannies, looking after the children of generally wealthy, but always white, families. In this role, they’re very often portrayed as unable or unwilling to speak English and sometimes as untrustworthy and lazy. The classic example of this in recent times is Spanglish in which (Spanish, not Mexican) Paz Vega plays a Mexican nanny for a US family, Cake is also notable.
Mexicans are drug dealers and gang members
Mexican men are exotic lovers
More often than not, Mexican men (when they’re not gardening or in gangs) are simply given the bit part as the Latin lover. Exotic, sexual and willing to sleep with multiple married women, this reinforces the assumption that Mexican men are to be avoided and not trusted. Aside from Diego Luna in Rogue One, how many Hollywood films have Mexican men in anything other than this role? Salma Hayek’s upcoming How to be a Latin Lover looks set to parody this though.
Mexican women have big boobs and butts
More of a Latinx stereotype in general, when Mexican women aren’t maids or nannies, they’re often presented as overtly sexualized objects of male attention. While you could argue that Colombia is more susceptible to this big boob, big butt stereotype – think Sofía Vergara in Modern Family – it also applies to Mexican women. A classic example is Salma Hayek’s role in Tarantino’s bizarre From Dusk till Dawn.
Mexicans live in a dusty desert in the middle of nowhere
This probably stems from the fact that many impressions of Mexico come from the often dusty towns near the US border. However, this representation completely ignores some of the most developed cities in Mexico, like Monterrey, Mexico City and Guadalajara, not to mention the beautiful towns of Guanajuato, Zacatecas and Querétaro. In short, Mexico is more than just a dusty desert, yet Hollywood fails to show us that.
Mexicans are illegal immigrants
The silver screen often gives us the impression that a Mexican in the US must be an undocumented immigrant, when the reality is that there are many millions of legal Mexicans living in the US. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t illegal Mexican immigrants in the US, because of course there are, but the lazy assumption that every Mexican is residing there illegally is one that’s only reinforced on the silver screen. Perhaps now more than ever, this needs to be challenged.
Mexicans are lazy
How often have you seen a movie in which the Mexican character is portrayed as lazy and unmotivated? Pretty often, it’s safe to say. In reality, Mexican working days are actually among some of the longest in the world, far longer than those of the US, and Mexicans in the US often take on some of the most arduous work in the country, whether agricultural or otherwise.
Every Mexican owns a poncho and a cowboy hat
Hollywood loves to revert back to the classic representation of Mexicans as poncho wearing, cowboy hat and boot sporting desert dwellers with a penchant for oversized moustaches. The fact of the matter is ponchos are far more common in Peru, whereas cowboy boots and hats are probably more likely to be sported by aging Texans.
Mexicans are poor
While there is a huge divide between rich and poor in Mexico, and the daily minimum wage is pitifully low, not all Mexicans are poor. This stereotype possibly ties in with the other classics such as portraying all Mexicans as low paid maids, nannies and gardeners or resorting to drug pushing to make ends meet. The truth is that many Mexicans work in high paid professions and are most certainly not all poor. In fact, one of the world’s richest men, Carlos Slim, is Mexican.
Latinx equals Mexican
Perhaps one of the most important of all the Hollywood stereotypes that Mexicans would love to debunk is the assumption that all Latinxs (or Spanish speakers) are Mexican. From the Afro-Latinxs of Brazil and Colombia to the Latinxs with Italian heritage in Argentina, being Latinx doesn’t automatically make you Mexican. However, on film, anyone with an accent and a name like Hernández or García is automatically presumed to be from directly south of the border.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.