What Is “The Myth of the Latin Woman”?

“The Myth of the Latin Woman” is an essay written by Judith Ortiz Cofer that discusses Latin womens’ identity in terms of the social stereotypes that are imposed on them. The essay was originally written for Glamour magazine before being included in a collection titled “The Latin Deli.”

In the essay, Judith Ortiz Cofer uses some of her own experiences to illustrate the struggle that Latin women face. For example, Cofer recalls how prior to her first poetry reading, a white woman tried to order a cup of coffee from her. Cofer goes on to recount other instances in her life in which the stereotype of Latin women as “the help” affected her.

The essay also examines the idea of Latin women being portrayed as highly sexualized in the media. Cofer examines how wearing the color red can be seen as provocative by the men of certain cultures. However, Cofer argues that the color red is rooted in the ornate and decorative clothing of the Latin culture, and is not worn in an effort to be provocative.

Cofer began to publish her literary works during the 1980s and 1990s. Her 1989 novel titled “The Line of the Sun” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She was selected to be a part of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2010. Cofer began teaching at the University of Georgia in Athens in 1984, where she served as the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing until she retired in 2013. She died at the age of 64 on December 30, 2016.