Immigrant Mothers & First-Generation Daughters


Latinas often grow up in strict households where the rules are usually much harsher for girls. This repression and double standard can be upsetting and confusing. Ana, 38, for example, said she wasn’t allowed to shave her legs, sleep over at friends’ houses, wear make up until she was 15, or stay out past 11 pm. My mother had very similar rules. I remember, for instance, that I was punished for shaving my legs at 13 even though I only did it to avoid the ridicule of my classmates. I knew that these kinds of rules had traveled from my mother’s hometown in rural Mexico and that she did not understand how repressive they were in this culture and era, but it was still incredibly frustrating.