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AlejandraMedina
ProfessorDitch
English113B
11February2015
RisingAboveTraditionalNormsandCulturalBeliefs
Individualsbegintoanalyzewhatbehaviorsareappropriatebasedonthecertaintimeof
dayandlocation.Itbecomessurprisingtoseethatmybehaviorchangeswithinindifferent
culturalspacesbecauseIamafraidpeoplewillstereotypethecultureIamapartof.Althoughit
isnotnormalformetohavetodisownmycultureinfearofwhatsocietymightthinkofme,
despitethelocationandwhatotherethnicitiesIaminteractingwith.Inaddition,myMexican
culturalideologiesofhowawomanshouldportrayherselfalsorestrictmyactions;attheendof
theday,IwalkintothedoorsofaHispanichousehold.Howeverwhenthesunbeginstorise,
thereisatransformationinmyportrayalbecauseIamafraidofpeoplelookingthroughme,
generalizingandputtinglimitstomyactionsinsteadwhatIamcapableofdoing.MyMexican
culturehaschallengedmetoovercomebarrierssuchasgenderroles,traditionalnorms,and
stereotypes.Thesechallengeshavetaughtmetoriseabovethetypicalexpectationsandlimitsof
whatmycultureandsocietyssterotypestomycultureandmotivatemeintoapathofacademic
success.
I come from a community filled with hypocrisy, but worst of all,
segregation. I say hypocrisy because although every hispancis consideres
them selves to be all equal, men continued to view them selves superior to
women. In my Hispanic culture the mans role is to be the head of

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household. It seems like a perfect life style for women to sit at home, give
birth to children while a man provides the income, but along with pros,
comes cons. The male can often be the oppressor because the female is the
dependent. A womans values begin to decrease because their opinions are
not considered. Men begin to believe that women are simply objects that
provide personal needs and pleasure. In the article, My Hips my Caderas,
Alisa Valdez-Rodriguez states So when I want to be loved for my body, I am
Latina. But most Latino men will not love my mind as they love my body,
because I am American professional. (75) Similar to my culture ValdezRodriguez argues that a womans intelligence is not valued, the only thing
that seems to be important is the body image she displays. An opinion this
ignorant has become a challenge in my actions because as hard as I work to
show how committed I am to growing smarter, it will never be seen. In my
culture the best impression is literally the first impression, the way the
body moves and looks.
Myroadtosuccessiscompletelydifferentthanthenormsofmyculture.Myfatherwill
becontentifIcameacrossamanwhowouldtakemebymyhandasIadopthislastname.Many
ofthefemalesthatattendedmyhighschoolhavealreadytakenthatpath.Isaidtomyselfthat
willnotbeme.Iwillnotstayhome,doallthechores,andlistentorequestwhenIhavemyvery
ownvoice.Iamthefirstinmyfamilytoattendauniversity,itseemscompletelyfoolishtothem.
Myfatherbelievesamanthatcanfulfillmyneedsinsteadofhimhavingtopayforyearsof
education.AccordingtomyfamilyIshouldbespendingtimeathomeinsteadofwastingmy

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timeatschool.InthearticleDistinguishingSelfandOther,AnastaciaKurulostatesInorderto
understandyourselfidentity,youmustfirstunderstandhowyouarriveyoursenseofrealityand
learnaboutwhoyouarethroughcommutativeprocess.(122)Mycultureseemedtoforcethe
ideaofwomennotneedingtoattendcollege,howevereducationintroducedmetomanymore
aspectsoflife.Ifoundmyselfandnoticedthatwomentoocanhaveagreatpurposeinlife.Itis
importantforpeopletobeopenmindedandnotberestrictedtocertainideas,peopleneedto
begintoseeandunderstandthemselvesandtheirworldinradicallydifferentways(Del
Gandio3).DelGaniostatesthatitisimportantforindividualstoobservetheworldwitha
differentperspective,becauseanideaoutoftheordinarycanleadtowardgreatpurposes.Iwill
becominghighlyeducatedanddemonstratingthatwomencanescapetheircomfortzones,and
traditionalnormsandbethepersontheywanttobe.
OftenmyMexicancultureseemstobeabarrierintoformingthefutureseemyselfliving
inandinaddition,myculturefeedsanegativeimagetopeoplethatIhaveneverunderstood.
BeingHispaniccomeswithmultiplelabels.Thesestereotypesvaryfromlazytowetback.
BeinginacommunitywheremostofthepeopleareHispanicmakesyoufeelverycomfortable.
AlthoughwhenIstepintotherealworld,itbecomesdifficulttointeractwithpeoplethatdonot
looksimilartomyself.Icanwalkdowntoanyrestaurantinmycommunitywearingpajamasand
flipflops.Inmycommunity,IdonotfacetheriskofbeingjudgedopposeifIweretodoina
communitywithamassdiversity,thosestereotypeshaveagreaterchanceofbeingimplied.
PresentingmelikeIlackinterestcanleadotherstoquestionmyraceandcultureandwonderif
Hispanicsarereallylazyanduseless.Ifanotherpersonwithafairskintonewenttothestore
wearingthesameclothingpieces,conclusioncanbedrawnthatthepersonwashavingabadday.

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Opposetootherswhoseemelookingnonpresentable,theindividualcanassumethat,thatis
theywayIcarrymyselfinadailybassesbecauseofthestereotypesthatsocietyhasusedto
attackmyculture.Kurlostateswhensomeoneistreatedasother,theindividualisbeingacted
uponandcontrolslittletonothinginthecommunicationencountered.(120)Kurlousesother
toemphasizeacertainpersonencounteringasite,wherehecannotassociatesoeffortlesslywith
thepopulation.IforexamplehaveencounteredasituationwereIwalkinwithmyheadheld
high,howeverwhenIamtreatedasotherIlackselfconfidencebecauseitfeelasifpeople
withapredominantracearetreatingmelessthanwhatIreallyam.Ittookmelongtimeto
understandthatinordertohaveahealthyselfesteemapersonmustalsohaveahighsenseof
selfworth(Kurulo121).Peoplewhomlookeddownonmegavememoremotivationtoprove
themwrongandshowhowadominantraceinwhichpeopleviewasunproductivecan
reconstructthatbeliefandformthecontrary.
Evenafterdriftingawayfromthenegativestereotypesappliedtomyculture,andmy
parentsideologiesofwomannothavingastrongvoice,mycommunityandhighschoolplayeda
bigroleinlimitingmyeducation.InhighschoolIworkedforabusinesscalledPartyButlers.
MycoworkersandIwhereinchargeofmakingsureaneventransmoothlyaswecatered,
cleanedandgreetedpeople.EverytimeIwassenttoowealthyneighborhoodssuchasPalos
Verdes,ManhattanBeach,orBellaire,Ibecamefascinatedwiththearchitectureofthehouses.
AfteralongdayofmakingrichpeoplecontentIwouldgobackhomeanditseemedasifIdrove
intoatotaldifferentworld.IntheArticlecominghometoVanNuys,SandraTsingLohstates
YousteppedoverasmashedMichelobbottleandsuddenlyyourememberyourlife;yourepoor,
youranonymous,andyoudriveashittycar(121).Tsinglohstateshowtherearesymbolsthat

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remindyouofyourhome.WhenIgohometomycommunitytherearesymbolssuchasthe
sleazyhotelacoupleblocksdownfrommyhouse.InoticedIneedtoaimhigherandhave
symbolsthatreflectmyhardworkinthefuture.TsingLohiscorrect,Iamanonymousnotjust
me,butmanypeopleintheMexicanCommunity.Iwasintheriskofbecominganonymous
becausegrowingupIdidnotreceiveenoughresourcestomakemylifesimple.Myhighschool
lackedresources,manyofthetimethecomputersdidnotwork,andsometeachersdidnoteven
teach.Theideaofajoyousmeltingpotwasnotseeninmycommunity.(TsingLoh122).The
problemwasthatmostpeoplestandardswerethesame,mostpeoplespokeimproperlythesame.
InthearticleCulturalInfluencesonpersonality,HarryC.TriandisandEunkookM.Suhstate
personalityisshapedbybothgeneticandenvironmentalinfluences(135).TrandisandSuh
argumentisveryprecise,mygeneticsconnectedtomycultureandtheenvironmentIlivedin
wasamassmajorityofMexicanculturetoo.Thesetwoideasshapedmypersonality.BecauseI
didnotinteractwithdifferentculturesandidentities,Ilackedcommunicationskills.Iwas
intimidatedandoftendidnotaskquestionsbecauseIwasafraidofpronouncingwords
incorrectly.InoticethatIcannotfallintotheanonymousgroup.BeingbornintoaMexican
cultureandlivinginpredominantHispaniccommunityonlyindicatesthatIhavetoworktwice
ashardincollege.InthehandbookRhetoricForRadicals,JasonDelGandiostatesRevolution
occurswhenpeopleundergoarhetoricshiftthatbreakswiththepastandcreatesanewframe
workfordifferentactions,ideasandsocialrelations(3).DelGandioreferstohowanunusual
experiencecanchangeperspectives.AttendingCaliforniaStateUniversityNorthridgewasa
drasticchangeinmylife.Ineedtowalkoutofmyconfrontzonesandhavethecourageand
motivationothershavebecausethereculturesemphasizeacollegedegree.Iwillnotbe

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anonymous.MynamewithMexicanrootswillbeheardbecauseIwillbesuccessful.
IalwayshadsecondthoughtsaboutmyMexicanculture.Ididnotlikethelifestylethat
isaccustomedasthetraditionalnorm.IlookatmymotherslifestyleandIdonotseemyself
followinghersteps.Idonotunderstandhowsheisabletolivelifefollowingthesameschedule
everyday.Itisimportanttomyselftohavemultipleviewsoftheworldandhavemyown
opinion,insteadofhavingthemanImarrychosemylife.Evenafterovercomingthatnorm,I
stillhavetoworkhardintheacademicfield.MyhighschoolteacherssaidIwaspreparedfor
college.Preparedwasthewrongterm.IamworkingtwiceashardassomeindividualsbecauseI
wasnotprepared.Mygoalsaresethigh,andIwillachievethem.Myculture,andstereotypes
willnotgivemeanexcusetoslackoff.Iwillsucceed.

WorksCited
DelGanio.Jason.RhetoricforRadicals.Canada:NewSocietyPublishers,2008.Print.
Edwards,Bill,MichaelKurylo.SelfIdentityandCulture.2010.Print.
ValdezRodriquez,Alisa.MSNUnderwireMyHips,MyCaderas.2000.Print.
Triandis,HarryC.,andEunkokM.Suh.CulturalInfluencesOnPersonality.Annual
ReviewofPsychology53.1(2002):133.AcademicSearchPremier.Web.17Feb.
2015.
TsingLoh.Sandra.DepthTakesaHoliday:EssaysfromlesserLosAngeles.Coming
HometoVanuys.1996.Print.