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With Broadway Plays Like ‘Mean Girls’ And ‘Frozen’ Doing Little To Represent People Of Color ‘Miss You Like Hell’ Is Vital

It doesn’t take a theater geek to know that if Latino representation on screen is bad, on the theatrical stage it doesn’t get much better. Of course, there’s no doubting the impact Latino creators like Lin-Manuela Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes have had on New York’s Broadway and other theatrical stages, particularly in recent years. Together both producers created the Tony-winning musical “In The Heights,” and separately Miranda created the much beloved “Hamilton.” Both works granted Latinos and other people of color immense opportunities beneath the stage lights. Still, this year, the newest and biggest shows of the theatrical season (“Mean Girls,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Frozen” among them) are noticeably very white, not just in their casting but in storylines and themes as well.

Fortunately, a play by Alegría is giving audiences an opportunity to see a raw Latina story right on stage.

‘Miss You Like Hell’ is the off-Broadway Latina-centric musical the theatrical world can’t stop singing about.

Long before DREAMers and chants to “build a wall” became part of the country’s daily political discussions, Hudes, the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother, was just coming off the success of her 2008 musical “In The Heights.” Building on her momentum, she completed the book for “Miss You Like Hell’ in 2012 and ultimately saw its premiere four years later at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego.

This spring, the production has kicked off once again and stars Broadway veteran Daphne Rubin-Vega and Gizel Jiménez and it’s hitting the stage with topics and matters that are even more relevant in today’s political climate. Both Rubin Vega and Jiménez play a mother and daughter pair. Rubin-Vega is Beatriz a mother who left her 16-year-old half-Latina daughter Olivia (Jiménez) four years ago and arrives on her doorstep to invite her on a weeklong road trip. Unbeknownst to Olivia, her mother has motives that stretch beyond their mother/daughter cross-country journey: Beatriz, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, needs her daughter to testify at her immigration hearing in order to keep herself from being deported.

The New York Times said in a review of the play that “it offers two seriously rich roles for women.”

The play’s themes intimately touch on the DREAMer and undocumented immigrant experience.

While various parts of the undocumented immigrant’s story are explored, reviews around the play have largely touched on scenarios documented immigrants and U.S. citizen easily shrugged off as minor incidents. From minor traffic infractions to anxiety Latina youth “Miss You Like Hell” dives into these looming fears head first.


Read: 7 Afro-Latina Writers Whose Books You Should Be Reading

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As Mothers We Need To Stop Thinking ‘Pow-Pow’ And Chancla Culture Are An Acceptable Way Of Raising Our Kids

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As Mothers We Need To Stop Thinking ‘Pow-Pow’ And Chancla Culture Are An Acceptable Way Of Raising Our Kids

I’m what they call a millennial Latina mom. That means growing up I often endured the old school style of Latinos parenting where chanclas and “quieres pow pows” were meant to be the end all be all of “bad” behavior. Today, even despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics has voiced their strong opinion that corporal punishment, physically disciplining your child, isn’t just inappropriate parenting, you can still find in our culture memes and jokes about la chancleta. And while the rate of spankings have gone down in recent years, polls have shown that those “good, hard spankings” that you might have “turned out alright” in spite of can cause long-term harm.

Here’s a look at the reasons why we have to stop spanking our kids.

Pow-pows teach the wrong lesson.

 
“Coco” / Walt Disney Pictures /Pixar Animation Studios

“It’s better to be feared than loved” is a sentiment often touted by managers and leaders who have an odd understanding of proper management. Mind you this phrase was also created by Niccolò Machiavelli a politician and philosopher who often encouraged dishonesty and the killing of innocents in certain situations in his work. Sure, this method of teaching which chancla culture stem from might encourage your child to cower at the sight of you when your raise a flip-flop but it also teaches them that you are not to be trusted particularly in a stage in their life when they are just learning.

Chanclas teach kids that they can get what they want by being physically violent.

harryswife801 / Twitter


As parents, we’re physically stronger and bigger than our children. When we use our size to overpower our children and try to get them to behave a certain way we’re teaching them that to get what you want you can abuse those who are smaller and weaker than they are. This is a classic example of why kids who are often abused at home often go to school and end up bullying their peers.

The reason for the spanking gets lots on them.

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They may forget why they are being spanked in the first place. They’re doing so much to avoid #lachancla that they can’t even fathom why they are in trouble.

Adults can lose control when expressing anger physically.

 
SaludAmerica / Twitter

When you give yourself a chance to hit your child you put yourself at risk of being an abusive parent. As adults we often experience so much stress and have a hard time coping as it is when we are frustrated, upset, sad or tired. When we start to hit our kids during moments of stress, our minds ultimately begin to associate the feeling as a release for the mind. Soon enough you could look to abusing your kid as a way to stop feeling stressed out.

It could damage your relationship with your child.

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Studies on the effects of physical punishment have found that the more spankings a child receives, the more likely they are to become defiant towards their parents and authorities, which means a decrease in the quality of their relationships with their parents.

You may not get the reaction you are looking for.

“Coco” / Walt Disney Pictures /Pixar Animation Studios

When spanking a child it’s likely that your initial intent might be to correct your child’s poor behavior, but what extents will you go in the moment of punishment if the reaction you want doesn’t happen?

You become the bully

 
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Kids are resilient and remember everything. Why let them think of you like that? After so long they will start to remember. Why become the bully instead of the parent?

Disrupting their self-confidence

 
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It’s almost like being in a relationship and feeling like you are emotionally being tortured. That’s what it’s like for kids. Even though they lose to test you and think everything is funny. Doing this constantly just is not.

You’re bullying a future child who will go onto get bullied by others

 
SaludAmerica / Twitter

Then parents wonder why their kids are being bullied. Even being yelled at furiously. Many kids end up becoming the bullied from being bullied at home. What’s more, children are more likely to become adult victims of abuse when they are older if they think that their parent’s abusive behavior is appropriate.

They won’t be a leader

 
vikypicon / Instagram

Growing up I was always taught the future of a Latina is being a leader. When you instill bullying or fear how is your child going to be a leader when you aren’t?

You’re not strong

 
EuniqueJG / Twitter

Spanking your kids can cause kids to think about all the pain they have to endure instead what they should focus on.

It’s really not that funny

 
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La Chancla is classic even to Latinos. All in all, it’s not as funny as many people put it.  Realizing this is not a funny way to discipline will help in the long run.

Older peers aren’t that powerful

 
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Every generation is different. It’s okay to give lessons to your parents or grandparents gave you. Have your own form of parenting to make your own mark.

I don’t want to be that parent

Modern Family

As a mother I don’t want to be pushed so using positive reinforcement is the way to go or you do end up feeling like spanking is the way to go.

Our world is already full of violence

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Fueling to the fire isn’t what Latinos are about. We want peace even within our families. We don’t want to be the stereotype on why the world is the way it is. This all starts at home.

I’m not the reason why mental health is out of control

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Our kids are the future. This means their mental health can become at stake when spanking as a form discipline.

I’m not their friend but I am their role model

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This is the main part of being a Latino mom. Uplifting to do better than what you had. Even if you had a great life before motherhood.

 You’re raising an influencer

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Making sure your child knows their worth is important. By spanking your kids you may instill a notion that they aren’t.

 It’s the 2000’s, not 1950!

 
I Love Lucy

Things have changed. That even includes parenting. It was okay to spank your kids but after all this time look at what it has put on our society and our future. What does it really teach you as a Latina Mom. Be strong and better than that.


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Things I Never Want To Hear Come Out Of Your Mouth During My Pregnancy

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Things I Never Want To Hear Come Out Of Your Mouth During My Pregnancy

Six months into my pregnancy I started to realize that not only were my raging hormones out of control but also the endless unsolicited comments and advice from strangers about my body.  My small 4’11 frame and almost ten-pound baby made me an easy target for body comments and I soon began to feel as if I was in some kind of freak show. As if dealing with indigestion, lack of sleep, shortness of breath and constipation weren’t enough I had to experience adult bullying to a whole different level. On any given day I would receive five to seven comments about my belly or how tired I looked from strangers who never seemed to show interest in me before. It’s crazy how popular pregnancy can make someone become. I soon began to find ways of coping with people who tried to approach me.

As a way of coping, I began to not make eye contact with people who walked passed me in the hallway and I’d pretend I didn’t hear them speaking to me.

pregnant_sexy_ / Instagram

This didn’t work. After a few weeks of this, I felt like walking around with a huge sign that said,” I’m making a human, fuck off!” Instead, I started to walk around with huge bitch face that would make me look unapproachable. This didn’t work either. I would still have people wave me down from across the parking lot at work and say, “OH MY GOD! YOU LOOK HUGE!”

This growing inadequate feeling in me occurred mostly during work.

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It also led me to almost go on maternity leave early.

Instead, I dealt with it and decided to jot down a list of “Eleven Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Person.”

ocauenascimento/ Instagram

Have a look and be sure to pass on what you learn to others who have a hard time keeping certain things to themselves when it comes to pregnant people.

1. “You look like you’re due now”

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Never pretend like you are a doctor and know just by looking at someone when their baby is due. 

Chances are you may be right but there is a huge chance that you may be wrong.

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The person may still have a few months to go. And besides, if she’s not your bestie, your cousin, your sister or your daughter, it really is none of your business when she’s due.

2. “OMG, WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?”

malloryhoop / Instagram

This must have been one of my favorite ones. It was close to my due date and a complete stranger from work came up to me and asked me “When did this happen?” Last time I checked we all knew how babies were conceived. I should have given her a complete rundown of that intimate moment when my daughter was conceived. Instead, I ignored the comment and continued walking to my desk. If I have never spoken to you before chances are I don’t feel like telling you “when this happened.”

3. “I wasn’t as big as you when I got pregnant.”

We all know that comparing ourselves to other people is not the kindest thing to do. Everyone carries babies differently. Some people carry babies higher, lower wider or narrower.

4. “Every time I see you, you get bigger and bigger!”

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This must have been one of the ones that got to me the most. It was the same woman at work that kept telling me this comment. The first few times I would just nod and say yes. Until the last time when my raging hormones were full blast, I basically told her to cut it out. She had this look on her face of complete remorse and regret but I just about had it. The following time she saw me, instead of telling me how big I looked, she asked me if I needed anything from the store since she was on her way.

5. “You look so tired.”

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The times that I was told how tired I looked I had either spent all night awake due to my awake baby moving around all night. I would completely know when I was not feeling like myself and usually when someone told me I looked tired it was something I already knew.

6. “Can you stand up so I can see how big you are?”

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Now, people, pregnant people are not here for our amusement. If it’s not right to ask a non-pregnant person to stand up to see their body, it’s not okay to ask someone who is pregnant to stand up so they can see your body. I refused to stand up to someone who asked me this. I stated that I was not going to stand up because my body was not going to be displayed for judgment.

7. “Once the baby gets here, you will never sleep for the rest of your life. ”

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The fact of the matter is that you do get to sleep, you just have to sleep when the baby sleeps and you have to have a partner that is willing to wake up in the middle of the night to let you have a good night’s sleep…

…I also know parents of four-year-olds who sleep from seven to eight hours at night.

victoriaochlionel / Instagram

I remember my mother sleeping endlessly when we were in high school. Once you hit your thirties, like me, you no longer sleep well anyways. Before I had my baby, I would function on four hours of sleep due to just insomnia. The fact of the matter is, no matter what, you will survive and when other people instill fear in you it is a reflection of the things they have to deal with.  

8.“I know someone who almost died during labor.”

_dearabby / Instagram

For some reason when you are pregnant everyone starts telling you all the tragic birth stories they had and, even if it’s their best friend’s friend’s great aunt who had a tragic birth story, they want to tell you that one too. Chances are this is not going to soothe mama into feeling confident about going into labor. I think we live in such a panic-stricken world that perpetuating these stories is a norm. However, positive stories of birth may be a better way of empowering an expecting mama.

9. “Will you have another baby after this?”

justus.is / Instagram

Chances are pregnant mama is not thinking this far ahead and just trying to overcome this pregnancy. This is a very interesting question that I hear so much. Children require so much time, money and attention. It is a big personal decision to bring a child into the world and an even bigger decision to bring additional children to the world. Only father and mother can decide if they have the tools to make this happen. Usually, it takes time to decide. I feel this can be a very personal topic that can only be genuinely be discussed between close friends and family.

10. “Are you having twins?”

pregnant_sexy_ / Instagram

This is a difficult question to hear especially if you are not having twins. I heard this about five times during my pregnancy. I would always ask myself if I was doing something wrong in what I was eating or how I was nourishing my body. But, the fact of the matter is that everyone carries babies differently.

11. “Man, I can’t picture myself starting all over at your age.”

singaporemotherhood / Instagram

The beautiful thing about life is that not everyone walks the same path. Some people get to have children young when they find their life partners at a young age in high school or college. For others, it may take a longer time to realize you want to be a mom or it may take longer to find the partner you can picture yourself having children with. The sooner we realize that and accept each other the sooner these unnecessary comments will happen.

I believe it is inappropriate to make any kind of comment on anyone’s body whether they are pregnant or not.

maternitystyling /Instagram

But next time you decide on making a body comment, or another negative comment to a pregnant person,  take into account that her hormones are working extra hard to keep their baby alive. She may already know that she’s gained all the weight you told her she looks like she’s gained and she may have had someone tell her the same exact thing the day before or that same day. Just chill, please.

Next time you plan on making a comment to a pregnant person make sure it is something she might not have heard that day like…

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“You are doing an amazing job!” or “ isn’t it amazing how strong a person’s body is? You should feel so proud of yourself!

Pregnant people don’t get enough recognition for the daily hard work.

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They have to put up with not only make a baby but to also, for some, going to work and or taking care of additional children. This is all while their bodies are working overtime to make and protect a life. Be kind to the pregnant people in your life and please be aware of the things that come out of your mouth.


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