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Małgorzata Martynuska

Abstract

The article concerns the hybrid phenomenon of Tex-Mex cuisine which evolved in the U.S.-Mexico borderland. The history of the U.S.-Mexican border area makes it one of the world’s great culinary regions where different migrations have created an area of rich cultural exchange between Native Americans and Spanish, and then Mexicans and Anglos. The term ‘Tex-Mex’ was previously used to describe anything that was half-Texan and half-Mexican and implied a long-term family presence within the current boundaries of Texas. Nowadays, the term designates the Texan variety of something Mexican; it can apply to music, fashion, language or cuisine. Tex-Mex foods are Americanised versions of Mexican cuisine describing a spicy combination of Spanish, Mexican and Native American cuisines that are mixed together and adapted to American tastes. Tex-Mex cuisine is an example of Mexicanidad that has entered American culture and is continually evolving.

Open access

Małgorzata Martynuska

Abstract

U.S. Latina/o identity is a complex and panethnic construction. One of the most enduring tropes surrounding Latina women in US culture is that of tropicalism, which by erasing ethnic specificity helps construct homogenous stereotypes such as bright colours, rhythmic music, and brown skin that are represented in visual texts. Tropicalization helps position the Latina body as oversexed as well as sexually available; all that is identified with seductive clothing, curvaceous hips and breasts, long brunette hair or extravagant jewellery. The article concerns Latina images in US media and popular culture and focuses on such stars as Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek in order to explore the gendered signifiers surrounding Latinidad and Latina iconicity. The female ethnicity is depicted as other through its categorization and marginalization in relation to dominant constructions of Whiteness and femininity. The article bridges the approaches of gender studies and Latina/o studies with recent research on hybridity and transnational identities.