I'm a fan of Jennifer Lopez, as evidenced by the posts "J-LO: Gillette Gams of Gold" and "Globe Is Golden, Lovely Ladies are Latinas" because she is one of the few women who looks like me (to be clear, I am NO JLo look-alike, but you know what I'm saying) and has made it in the mainstream. I can identify and admire a woman--and Latina!--who has transcended her "block" to lead a business empire consisting of multi-million dollar contracts, TV and music producing, partial ownership of the Miami Dolphins, being named People's World's Most Beautiful Woman, and breathing new life into the blockbuster American Idol brand as the compassionate, yet savvy judge. Lil' Sis text: 7/15 3:06 PST: "JLo & MA: DIVORCED!"
Viviana text: 7/15 6:07 EST: "Who?"
Lil' Sis text: 7/15 3:08 PST: "JENNIFER LOPEZ & MARC ANTHONY!!!!"
Viviana text: 7/15 6:09 EST: (Gasp) OMG!
Since the announcement, the gossip-sphere has been burning:
¡Uy! el video with that telenovela hunk William Levy was muy caliente.
Bueno, JLo turned Marc Anthony into her private Project Runway when she improved his style and he didn't like it.
Pues, I knew there were problemas. Jenny (pronounced Yenny) showed up with Mami, instead of Hubby, to meet the new It-Couple: Prince William and Princess Kate in Los Angeles.
Tu sabes it's a publicity stunt to get los ratings para el Show (the future of Q'Viva, their competition show scouring Latin America for talent, has not been decided).
Harsh, silly, and distasteful spotlight aside, relationships and marriage are hard enough.
However, two substantial patterns merit discussion:
The more successful a woman becomes, the harder it is to maintain a healthy relationship
Despite continuing challenges including unequal pay and promotion opportunities in comparison to male counterparts, women are overachieving. A recent survey of twenty-somethings by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that while nearly 1 in 4 women had earned a bachelor’s degree by age 23, only 1 in 7 men had done so. Women make up at least half of the workforce. But according to a 25 year study by Western Washington University sociologist Jay Teachman, career women who are the breadwinners are nearly 40% more likely to get a divorce than women who contribute less or don't work. It's almost as if we're penalized for "making it."
K St. Lobbyist, a wildly successful peacock of a paramour actually said to me, "There's only room for one star in this relationship. And that's me." Indeed, it is not a coincidence that pre-Sexual Revolution era television shows depicting women in sexed-up but secondary roles such as AMC's Mad Men, ABC's Pan-Am slated for the Fall, and NBC's show in development about 1960s Playboy bunnies, are the rage.
So what's the problem? Are the Leonas of Today given little choice but to date, marry, mother children with, and ultimately, tolerate Pussy Cats?
Latinas' success (and that of other women of color) "castrates" the Macho Latino
Although the drop out rate among Latinas is alarming, they are graduating from college and pursuing graduate education at higher rates than Hispanic men. In the workplace, Latinas, are entering the workforce at record pace, although in terms of advancement they lag behind white men and women.
Yet as an Hispana becomes more educated and/or successful, her choice of mate seems to narrow. Unless she dates/marries outside her ethnicity which partially explains the high numbers of white male-Latina relationships.
But let's say, she finds the One and he's Latino as evidenced by friends who are blissfully happy with their Hispanic Honey! Now her struggle with the societal dynamics shared by many women combine with cultural ones. Can his Ego accept that she makes more money? Will he be OK making the proverbial bacon while potty training Yunior AND breaking up a fight between twins Stephanie and Tiffany because she has to travel or work late to bring it home? Most critically, is he going to resent her every time an indiscreet amigo or family member makes a crack about him being a vividor, literally a man who freeloads off of a woman?
Millions of Hispanas are succeeding at balancing work, marriage, and negotiating gender roles and expectations. Both Papi and Big Bro--Machos Latinos if ever--have been devoted, supportive, and loyal husbands. But JLo's split from Marc Anthony illuminates the continuing power struggle between women and men, made more acute, poignant, and emotionally loaded by cultural expectations.
As part of the largest--and growing--minority group in the U.S. fueled by births of Hispanics, acculturation, assimilation, integration, whatever you want to call it, is not an option but a fact. The trick when it comes to relationships will be a compromise that recognizes that behind every Super Mujer is likely a Super Hombre. And for that, he deserves a medal.
Do you date/did you marry a Latino OR do you stay far away?