I haven’t seen “The Back-up Plan” yet, which is Jennifer Lopez‘s new flick about a woman who conceives via a sperm donor before meeting a guy she falls in love with. I just read this post at Feministing by blogger Miriam Perez, though, which pointed out something kind of odd: Lopez’s character in the film not only has a Caucasian grandmother, but gives birth to blue-eyed, redheaded, light-skinned twin babies.I know not all Latinas have dark hair, dark eyes and darker skin like Jennifer Lopez does. Some Latinas can have Caucasian-looking skin while Latinas can also have red hair and freckles. (In fact, my friend Alana is half Latina and has the most gorgeous red hair I’ve seen in my life.) It’s also entirely possible that the grandmother character was Caucasian because Lopez’s character was biracial. Who knows.
But nevertheless, it still strikes blogger Perez as strange that J.Lo, the director, the casting directors, etc. would choose blue-eyed, redheaded babies to be the fake onscreen children of the world’s most famous Latina actress. As Perez put it, “She looked more like a surrogate to an Irish couple than the parent of her own children.” One wonders if, when she appears on the big screen, Jenny From The Block is being “whitewashed” — a concept that means scrubbing away a person’s ethnicity to make him or her more palatable to white audiences.
On the other hand, though, it seems distasteful to suggest that Lopez’s onscreen babies should look exactly as dark-haired and dark-skinned as she does, as there is no one way a Latina or Latino person “should” look.
As I said, I haven’t seen “The Back-up Plan,” so I’d like to hear from Frisky readers who saw the flick. Does it bother you that J.Lo’s character has a Caucasian grandma and babies? Should an actress — not just a Latina actress, but anyone — always have onscreen family members that look exactly like them? Or are Lopez and “The Back-up Plan” being trailblazers in the sense that they’re bucking what’s expected? [Feministing]
Thanks to commenter Smellory for helping to fix a typo! ;)