I’m watching the movie “Spanglish” right now on TBS. One of the first scenes in the movie, which establishes the characters consists of the mother, Deb, and the daughter, Bernice. Deb comes home with huge bags full of clothes for Bernice, and Bernice, all excited, starts trying on all the clothes. Immediately, it becomes obvious what is happening. Bernice pulls out a jacket and starts trying it on, and it doesn’t fit. She looks at the tag, “Eight.” she says. She looks through everything, and they’re all size 8. Deb then says, “what? I know you’re going to do it! You’re going to lose the weight!”

This scene makes me so mad at the characters. It’s heartbreaking. Bernice gets upset and cries, and I can’t help but sympathize. Poor girl. How many times have I tried on clothes that didn’t fit? How terrible did I feel? And here this girl’s mother had BOUGHT her clothes that don’t fit! It makes me so sick, and so angry.

The next scene is of Flor, the Spanish-speaking maid, and central character in the story, asking her daughter how to say “just try it on” in English, and then taking the clothes and altering them to fit. The next day, she forcefully asks Bernice to try it on, and she does, and the happiness is so beautiful. It was a little alteration. She was only one size bigger. And she just lit up at having the beautiful new clothes suddenly fit.

Anyway, it made me terribly angry to think that that sort of stuff happens. But I know it does. And it makes me want to scream.


Oh, and I think it goes without saying that Bernice is a beautiful girl. Can we please stop teaching these terrible ideals?


2 thoughts on “Spanglish

  1. First off, love the blog!
    I watched Spanglish with a couple friends a few years ago, and all of use were ranting about the mom’s behavior towards the daughter. I just don’t understand parents that make their kids feel bad about themselves…I thought one of the things about being a parent is that you’re supposed to instill a good sense of self-esteem in your kids.

  2. Of course that’s a sad scene, but it’s meant to be. It’s meant to show that the mother is an unhealthy control freak. The voice-over during the scene when Flor is altering the clothes is the message that the movie wants to get across, I think:

    “[All] women, I believe, actually feel the same… about weight: a desire for the comfort of fullness. And when that desire is suppressed for style, and deprivation allowed to rule, dieting, exercising American women become afraid of everything associated with being curvaceous, such as wantonness, lustfulness, sex, food, motherhood: all that is best in life.”

    -From “Spanglish”

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