In order to play a more important role in society, Latinas are embracing an American lifestyle while also dealing with their Latino roots.
It seems like there's superheroes craziness on the big screens this summer. A mix of anticipated sequels, 3D effects, and high production budgets: a slew of superhero movies are coming to the theaters between May and August this year. "The Avengers" broke yet another record by becoming the third highest grossing film of all time when it surpassed "The Dark Knight."
Superheroes seem to be playing a major role in defining pop culture. They've been able to evolve and adapt to changes in society. Superheroes succeed in balancing their dual identities: "professional" and personal. They've been dealing with managing their own emotions while fulfilling the "perfect" role that society expects from them.
But today, I want to talk about a different - yet equally successful - kind of superhero: the bicultural Latino woman.
Adaptation of the Ambitious Latina
Realities have changed for Latinas living in the U.S. In order to play a more important role in society they are embracing an American lifestyle while at the same time dealing with their Latino roots (and the family pressure that comes with that).
Latino women have increased their presence on the labor force and are earning college degrees at a higher rate than Latino males.
More educated, with better jobs, and contributing to household incomes, Latinas are daughters of a big dream. They are expected to have advantages that their parents didn't. They carry the burden of making their parents' sacrifices worth it. On the other hand, this new reality has made them feel more empowered and independent.
The driven Latina wants to succeed professionally. She has postponed having kids, but that doesn't mean she has given up on her family's pressure. She simply wants to succeed as an individual first.
Just like superheroes, Latinas have learned to balance their dual identities and deal with what society expects from them. And in doing so, they have turned into "cultural chameleons."
The Chameleon in Action
The same way the chameleon adapts by changing the hue of its skin, Latinas have learned how to tone up (or down) depending on the environment and moment. Ezzy Guerrero-Languzzi says it better: "I know I have multiple voices: the hairstylist-nail technician, executive assistant, writer, reader, Mexicana-Americana, Californian, friend - all filtered to adapt to different situations and environments."
This ability to adapt can be either seen as a survival tool or a necessary means to thrive in a richer and more diverse America. As you can see on the chart below, Latina behavior changes (or adapts) to different realities and needs. As a worker, she's definitely more Anglo or a balance between Anglo and Latina. On the other end, emotions and passions come to life the Latina way, as a lover. It's clear that the notions of how to build and nurture an emotional relationship are highly influenced by her family and roots. As friends, Latinas tend to show more diverse colors. This might be a consequence of a diverse friend base (not just Latina "amigas").
Today's Latina has to manage many tensions in her life. She has to be a superhero both at the professional and personal level. That means balancing being American with her Latina heritage - being family focused versus mainstream attuned, and sticking to Latino traditions but raising kids who are bicultural in nature.
You may think that this duality might create some personality issues, but I believe that Latinas have learned how to switch codes from one environment to the other without losing their identity.
Chantilly Patiño nails it in her "Do You Code-switch?" post. "Our accents may change, our expressions, body language and even our whole attitudes can fluctuate between communities," says the Bicultural Mom. "Is this wrong? Does it mean we're being 'fake'? Or is it a sign of the growing diversity here in the U.S.?"
Marketing to Cultural Chameleons
In order to adapt to a changing and more diverse America, Latinas have chosen to behave as cultural chameleons. It's time for brands to embrace that same behavior to thrive in today's colorful marketplace.
Gustavo Razzetti is EVP, Managing Director of Lapiz, the Latino shop of Leo Burnett. He has 20+ years of experience in integrated marketing communications in U.S. and Latin American markets.
A change agent, with the expertise of transforming agencies into digital at the core shops, Razzetti has become one of the leading voices when it comes to understanding the new market dynamics of US Latinos.
Former Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer at Grupo Gallegos, president of GlobalHue NY and CEO of Euro RSCG Latino. Razzetti's career is marked by extensive experience working with top consumer brands such as Comcast, Walgreens, Verizon, NestlÃ©, Chivas Regal, General Motors, Coca-Cola, and BBVA, and 200 others. He also served as CEO of Euro RSCG both in Puerto Rico and in Argentina. Prior to that, Gustavo was CEO and founding partner of WhyNet - the no. 1 interactive agency in Argentina.
Strategist by conviction, digital pioneer by choice, leader by evolution; Razzetti has received recognitions that include Effie awards, Gran Prix AMBA, Euro RSCG's CBI Award, and Strategic Planning Director of the Year, McCann Erickson. Many of the campaigns he strategically led won Cannes, Clio, New York Festival, London, and FIAP awards, among others.
On a personal note, Gustavo loves scuba diving, bicycling, gourmet cooking, and fine wines.
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