Friday, June 28, 2013

Femme-spiration Friday: Selena Gomez

My love for Selena Gomez manifests itself in a lot of ways that are heartfelt. One might say she is the role model I didn't get to have, my main muse; others might find it somewhere between annoying and creepy (the majority of people who scoff while they ask me how young she is are actually the same age or younger than her), but anyone who knows me knows it is not a guilty pleasure. I am a genuine fangirl, artist, and self-proclaimed scholar of Selena Gomez. Reasons I adore Selena Gomez are frivolous and profound, rooted in longing, desire, celebration, and an unfinished girlhood (neither of us had QuinceaƱeras). 

After her success as the first young Latina protagonist to star in a television series on the Disney Channel, the now twenty-one year old Selena Gomez continues to rep her Mexicanidad in her post-Disney public image, pop music, and acting career. Named for the Tejana singer, Selena occupies a long overdue, totally rad position of a mixed/Latina teen icon at a time when more than ever young Latinas and mixed heritage girls need role models. Like any teen star who recently transitioned into womanhood, I realize she has sported and continues to rock a variety of styles and not all of them are flawless or free from valid criticism, but I’m going to share a few of my favorites.

I. Selena Gomez as Alexandra Margarita Russo

I first fell under the spell of Selena Gomez in her role as Alex Russo on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. This show came late for me. I was already 17 when it debuted, and in college by the time I discovered it. I didn’t grow up seeing images of my family portrayed in popular media. Most of my upbringing and identity formation happened around cultural clashes and differences, assimilation, de-assimilation, and struggling to be understood both in language and sexuality. It was sometimes painful and it was oftentimes humorous. Wizards uses humor to explicitly address the realities of mixed Latino families struggling to maintain their traditions and vaue systems in the face of white/anglo hegemonic U.S. ideals, without making Otherness a punchline.  
Alex is all about kicking back in converse, not the idea of wearing a fluffy pink dress for her QuinceaƱera.
The show can spark conversations for all kinds of mixed families, and does important work by celebrating a new type of young mixed Latina. So where do the outfits come in? Alex's style is actually pretty crucial to the way I think this show breaks free from stereotypical representations of Latinas in popular culture.
Why they couldn't hook it up with a spray can, I don't know. You'd expect Alex to find a way around the 18+ rule.
So let me get real for a second:

The Latina body has endured a complicated and prescriptive experience throughout the history of Hollywood cinema and television. There are very specific types and tropes that still dominate roles available for Latina actresses today. In many ways, mainstream media characterizations of ethnically and racially ambiguous Latina bodies have the power to destabilize and disrupt essentialist, traditional notions of Latina identity and authenticity. 

Alex Russo is flaca (not curvy) and she dresses in a generally gender nonconforming style (she loves jeans, shorts & converse sneakers) and her character isn't concerned with U.S. Anglo notions of beauty and femininity and defies assumptions about Latina identities. Alex Russo is very outspoken, artsy, mocks the idea of getting makeovers or having slumber parties, and is not interested in achieving popularity or excelling academically in school, preferring to earn her notoriety for her rebellious personality and artistic talents.

As bummed as I was when the series ended, Disney somehow read my mind and produced a special entitled Alex vs. Alex, which features an evil doppleganger villian who kills it, making my goth Disney dreams a reality. Alex actually has a few darker moments throughout the series, but this look is by far my favorite:

The villain stripe is a slippery look that very few have been able to pull off, but it's on point here and we'd expect no less from the franchise that created some of the most iconic and beloved villains.  More Disney villain femmespiration here.

Which brings me to another great look...

II. The Post-Justin All Black Everything

Something that I love about Selena is that she doesn’t really have one singular style (re: Taylor Swift or Demi Lovato), nor can her style really be traced in terms of the evolution of trends (re: Miley Cyrus). Lately, Selena has been sporting some darker, edgier looks that I whole-heartedly admire and would totally wear. 

From cut outs to sheer details, Selena has switched it up with plunging necklines and fully embraced the color black, (both on and off the red carpet) which I could not be more thrilled about as a woman who can never find a damn thing in heaps of black clothing. It’s in these looks that I really find inspiration in for my own style.

The dark cat-eye is key to pulling off this look & it's personally something I never leave the house without.

III. Honorable Mention: Casual Street Style

Selena is actually pretty low key in her day-to-day outfits. She sports a lot of flowy, lose fitting tanks, graphic tees, and beanies and she loves a good flannel. Her flannel look is always effortless and she always looks comfortable. 

Big thanks to Meg & Melina for inviting (and trusting) me to do a femmespiration post on the one and only Selena Gomez. 

besos y abrazos,


1 comment:

  1. I really like this post. I totally agree - her style is really cool and unique!