Protecting Our Autoestima

Throughout Rosie Molinary’s writing career, one question has consistently preoccupied her: How do Latinas reconcile the seemingly conflicting messages between mainstream America telling them to be themselves versus la familia telling them to strive toward beauty and femininity?

Molinary’s discoveries about living within two cultures appear in her critical books, Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina and Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance, which are “empowerment guides” to help Latinas love and accept themselves.

 “Women are hungering for affirmation of what they inherently know to be true, and guidance for letting that truth shine out,” says Molinary. Here, she shares four rocking body-image boosters:

1. Break negative pensamientos: “Our whole lives are affected by how we think and speak about our bodies,” says Rosie. “Find a bowl or piggy bank and deposit a quarter each time you knock yourself. Watch your self-awareness soar and your habits change.” Then treat yourself to a gift with the money or donate it.

2. Talk back: Do family or friends make jabs about your appearance or weight? Prepare a comeback, and practice it out loud. “Let that critical person know that your body is off limits for discussion,” says Rosie.

3. Make eye contact: “Much of our confidence is projected through our eyes,” explains Rosie. Avoiding eye contact communicates that you want to be invisible.

4. Stop body-checking: How often do you check yourself in mirrors or windows? Each time, “take a breath and change your focus,” says Rosie. By curtailing obsessive behavior, you train yourself to turn off [negative] tapes in your head.”


by Shirley Velásquez