A thesis statement for Judith Ortiz Cofer’s article “The Myth of the Latin Women” could be expressed like this: The author is the product of a Latin American culture which is continually misinterpreted, misunderstood, and reduced to stereotypes by the mainstream culture of the West.
The majority of the article is taken up with examples of this misunderstanding and stereotyping, beginning with a British man who drunkenly serenaded the author with a song from West Side Story on a bus while she was spending the summer studying at Oxford. Even in a foreign country, while studying at a prestigious university, the Latin American stereotype had followed her.
The author gives numerous instances of times when her style of dress has been misinterpreted or regarded as inappropriate. At her high school Career Day, students were told to come dressed for a job interview. However, Cofer writes:
It quickly became obvious that to the barrio girls, "dressing up" sometimes meant wearing ornate jewelry and...
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