Many of you out there are familiar with Latina indie queen Melonie Diaz. The 33-year-old Nuyorican actress has an impressively long list of film credits going as far back as 2001. Raising Victor Vargas, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, X/Y (with fellow Latina actress, America Ferrera), and Fruitvale Station are just some of the films Diaz has worked in. To say that she keeps busy is an understatement. She’s even currently slated to be one of the lead witches in the upcoming Charmed reboot, along with two additional films currently in post-production. But I remember Diaz from one of her lesser known roles, in a little-known, ultra-feminist flick known as the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. And that, amigas, is what I’m here to talk to you about today.
If you’re not familiar with the film, it’s the story of a young Latina lesbian named Anna (played by none other than Diaz) who befriends a group of feminist artists and activists that turn her world upside down— in only the very best way. There’s more to it than that, of course. Anna has just graduated high school and is basically trying to figure out her life while working as a secretary for a plastic surgeon’s office — a job she’s not thrilled about. She’s also single, newly dumped and finds romance with Sadie (played by Nicole Vicius). Sadie is also the de facto leader of Clits In Action (the aforementioned feminist collective). And just like it is for many high school grads, it’s all a lesson in Anna trying out new things and figuring out who she is.
There’s so much progressiveness involved in this film. First off, how many Hollywood movies out there actually star Latinas, let alone a Latina that’s LGBTQ? Stories about queer latinidad in general are still few and far between. Liz En Septiembre and Mosquita y Mari are some of the only other queer Latina films I can even think of. What’s especially cool is that Anna’s family is depicted as being wholly accepting and supportive of her sexuality. Diaz obviously recognizes the importance of queer Latina visibility, taking on this role, as well as her upcoming role in Charmed, where she’ll get to play a lesbian witch, Mel Pruitt.
Aside from that, Itty Bitty Titty Committee is basically a lesson in Feminism 101. Throughout the entire film, we learn about important feminist thinkers, from Angela Davis to Emma Goldman to Shulamith Firestone. As previously mentioned, the girls are part of a feminist collective, and they use art as their form of activism. They create art installations, zines, and even deface public property, all in the name of smashing the patriarchy.
Diaz’s character slowly morphs herself from who she once was to an intersectional feminist with graffiti and Bikini Kill posters on her walls. She goes from being a heartbroken mouse-y type individual to a woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. It’s hard to think of many movies making feminism the overarching theme, but this one does so successfully, while always keeping a sense of humor about it. And with Diaz at the forefront, the whole movie feels real and believable, especially to any queer Latina who took some time to glow up, so to speak.
Of course, Diaz wasn’t the only awesome actress in this film. There’s skater Lauren Mollica (who plays trans character Aggie), Deak Evgenikos (who plays Meat), Jenny Shimizu (who had a role in the queertastic Foxfire alongside a young Angelina Jolie), Marissa Ramirez (The Young and the Restless, Bluebloods), and of course, Carly Pope as Shulie, the most radical feminist of the bunch (and was the star of late 90’s teen hit Popular). Still, it’s significant that Diaz playing a queer Latina was the star of the film. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll be here waiting with bated breath for the next queer Latina feminist film to make it to my queue.
If you somehow haven’t watched this movie, do yourself a favor. Watch the trailer above, read my full review, and then buy a copy. They’re hard to find these days (Amazon might be your best bet), but worth it. And then maybe send Diaz a tweet letting her know how much you appreciate her awesomeness (both in IBTC and all her other films)!