Bronze seduction: the shaping of Latina stardom in Hollywood film and star publicity
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This dissertation explores the construction and ideological implications of Latina star images in Hollywood film and film publicity in the last nine decades, through in-depth case studies of the publicity that shaped the public images of actresses Dolores Del Rio in the mid-1920s-early 1940s, Rita Moreno in the 1950s and 1960s, and Jennifer Lopez in the last decade. In particular, the shaping of each star’s image is analyzed in light of contemporary tendencies in Latina star promotion, including an emphasis on excessive, seductive bodies. The author documents how Latina stars have been demarcated as distinct from white stars since the transition to sound film, with this distinction positioning them as embodying a “lesser whiteness,” even while they also have been considered “allpurpose ethnics” able to easily portray Asian and American Indian as well as Latina roles. In this process, white femininity and Eurocentric beauty ideals have been protected and enhanced in Hollywood film and related publicity. Such paradigms are shown to reflect the status of Latinos in the U.S. and Hollywood at specific sociohistorical junctures. Within these dynamics, Latina stars have provided challenges to the status quo that have necessitated negotiation in their appearance, publicity, and film roles. As the dissertation documents, traditional Hollywood paradigms are both reified and under challenge in the present day, with current stars and shifting beauty standards reflecting contemporary shifts in the social landscape. Demographic changes, cultural shifts, and the rise of Latino-produced media have brought about an increased awareness and interest in the profits to be made from Latina stardom, while industrial structures and ageold perceptions continue to contribute to a decided ambivalence inherent in the marketing of Latinas as star figures.