Briana Mendez, 25, who now works in brand partnerships, had that happen to her growing up in the suburbs in Florida. “I'll never forget getting made fun of in middle school for wearing hoop earrings that were gifted to me—I was called names and felt extremely belittled,” she says. “After that day, I stopped wearing my hoops and opted for pearl studs to fit in with the more preppy girls from my neighborhood.
But there are Latinx folks that are a little bit more careful, even conservative, about hoops because of the stereotypes people assign to what we wear. “My parents wouldn’t ever let me wear them because they felt it would put me into a box, being that I’m Latina and my family is from the Bronx,” says writer Thatiana Díaz, 26. “I know that my mom had a fear of being put into a box and not being taken seriously as an immigrant.
Like many Latina women, I got my ears pierced when I was a baby—my mother took me to the pediatrician to have it done less than a month after I was born. (According to her, there were many other new moms and infants in line at the doctor’s office to do the same. ) She says I cried through the night afterward, but she kept the earrings in because, as Puerto Ricans say, Antes muerta que sencilla. Better dead than plain.
Says Díaz, “I plan to wear my hoops for interviews, meetings, and any professional setting to make the statement: I’m a Latina, I’m from New York City, and I’m dressing like a congresswoman.
I wasn't the only person who, on that swearing-in day in January, felt she had more in common with a congresswoman than I'd felt in a lifetime. “To see a Latina woman like myself—making history and headlines, and being celebrated—own her whole look, her whole identity, gave me joy,” says Victoria Leandra, 22, a producer and writer.
So when Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Bronx-born Puerto Rican Democrat from New York, was sworn into Congress wearing a white pantsuit, a red lip, and big gold hoops, it wasn’t just a good look—it was a radical act.
And people are cheering for her to continue wearing her signature earrings. “Seeing AOC proudly wear hoops in Congress made me realize that…
It’s a visual reminder that Latinas have a place in the boardroom, the court bench, and yes, Congress. https://t.co/Vin7NONeEx— Glamour (@glamourmag) August 18, 2020