Mexican-American Cholas Do Not Own the Rights to Thin Eyebrows


Writer Krysty Chávez wrote an op-ed in Marie Claire expressing her disdain over Rihanna’s British Vogue cover all because the pop star was sporting very thin eyebrows. As she puts it: “‘Wait, WTF?’ Why is Rihanna wearing chola brows?” Chávez goes on to say that as a Mexican-American Latina she was very offended that the Caribbean singer was appropriating chola culture. Chávez, I too, am Mexican-American, and I was raised in the streets of Los Angeles among cholas — and as you already know: Latinas don’t own the rights to thin eyebrows.

While there are several issues with her essay, Chávez herself expresses that “I understand that skinny brows were not created or exclusively owned by the Latinx community: They also have roots in South African culture, in Roaring Twenties fashion, in the Harlem Renaissance community, and I’m sure they can be found in many other subsections of the world, too.”

By stating that she is well-aware that Latinx don’t “own” thin eyebrows, why would she write an essay stating that there’s an issue with it in the first place? She adds “But to me and thousands of other Mexican and Mexican-American girls looking at these photos, RiRi’s brows look a lot like the chola brows our mothers feared we would one day wear—the brows that are now untouchable and unwearable to women like me, especially in conjunction with hoop earrings and, god forbid, lip liner.”

Here’s another pro-tip: we don’t own the rights to hoop earrings or lip liner either. In fact, we don’t own the rights to bolita hair ties or old school Nikes. The list goes on and on. But do you know who does own the rights to a lot of these things? Minorities. Low-income minorities. We dressed like this because that was the custom, or because we didn’t have the choice, or because that’s all we could afford, or because we tried to fit in.

Just as Chávez pointed out that other Mexican-American females had issues with Rihanna’s look via social media, a lot more people had an issue with her non-argument.

I won’t list all of them because you get the picture. I just find it pretty infuriating that this writer would include me — a Mexican-American from L.A. — into her essay. I am not offended by Rihanna‘s cover in the slightest. She looks amazing and gorgeous as ever.

So, please, before you get angry over someone appropriating your culture, ask yourself “do my people really own this?”

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