Ian Koll Latin Stereotypes Response Dr.

Wolf 9/27/2011 Immediately preceding and during the early 20th century, the United States had a notoriously bad foreign policy in regards to Latin America- instead of acting upon the interests of our allies, the United States would impose military intervention in an effort to keep America’s commercial success at it’s highest possible potential. This imposed military intervention caused untold amounts of unrest in Latin America, and gave the United States a very negative image. In an effort to remedy this problem, Roosevelt adopted the “Good Neighbor Policy,” which was designed to help make relations more positive. Actress and singer Carmen Miranda, who happened to come along at a perfect time, was used as the poster child of this policy; her allusions to Latin American culture were designed to improve Latin America’s opinion of the United States, while her over-sexed and flamboyant image was meant to ease some of the prejudice felt in the United States. This is why she was a perfect figure in promoting the Good Neighbor policy- and Hollywood recognized this and capitalized off of them. In her clip “The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat” from the film The Gang’s All Here, viewers are bombarded with images of fruit and abundance- a Hollywood ploy to help warm Americans up to the Good Neighbor policy. Banana trees fill the stage, young and beautiful dancers carry giant bananas- even Carmen’s hat is made of bananas. These stereotypes, while silly, would make Americans much more willing to open up to Latin American nations, on the sole reason that films such as these portray Brazil (and other Latin American nations,) as tropical paradises full of gorgeous women and commercial promise. Even the song’s lyrics, in which Carmen refers to Brazilian women as “sweet and shy” who, despite this shyness, have a “different kind of time”

when the sun goes down reinforces the image of both innocence and sexuality- a double-edged stereotype that would be very appealing to an American audience. Above all else, though, Miranda’s over-the-top character evokes an image of a friendly nation; one that would be not only beneficial to trade with, but also desirable to trade with as well. The video is happy and silly, which would help sell the prospect of a closer connection to Latin America. Through Carmen Miranda’s stereotypes; from the ornate garb and the “tutti frutti hat” to her endearing malapropisms and subliminal sexual ferocity, we can discern that “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat” was a well thought out and choreographed advertisement- an advertisement that succeeded in opening the minds of both Latin Americans and United States citizens to the prospect of a more mutually beneficial relationship.

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