When was the last time you saw a movie and you felt it wasted one hour of your life? For me, it was yesterday after I watched Girl in Progress.
The film is about a single mother named Grace who struggles to pay her daughter high school tuition while working two low wage jobs. In addition to her financial struggle, she is involved romantically with a married man that takes all the attention from her fourteen-year-old daughter who is desperate for her mother’s attention.
This fictional movie tries hard to entertain its audience at the expense of reinforcing the old fashion stereotypes of Latinos being uneducated and women being passionate and not rational.
Girl in Progress has clear definitions of characters based on their ethnicity. Latinos in the film are represented as extremely uneducated, unprofessional and submissive. For example, within the first five minutes of the movie, Grace has a hard time pronouncing a few English words, including her daughter high school principal, as if this is cute and funny.
Although Grace doesn't have an accent, she acts as she was never able to learn proper English. Furthermore, Grace’s vulnerability is illustrated when she decides to return to her affair with a married doctor, as he would help to solve all her problems.
Most of the women that appear in the movie don’t have professional level positions. Grace works as a maid, and as a waitress. In the restaurant she is seen often with her three females co-workers – old, fat and unintelligent women that they don’t add anything to the plot.
Another important observation is that females portrayed as successful in the film are white. For example, Ansiedad’s teacher is the only female that gives wise advice. The teacher is a beautiful young white women and Ansiedad respects her more than her own mother.
But the worst part about the movie starts with its production company called, Televisa.
Televisa, is a Mexican media giant that now creates English-language content such as movies and TV shows and shamelessly uses stereotypical formula to try to reach a broader audience to make profits. The content of this movie is “safe” and comfortable for the dominant ideology of this society. The message here is that white people will still be rich with great jobs and Latinos will still have low job expectations because this is the natural way. This is the subtle ideology portrayed in most of the movie even the ones made by Latino production company. Sad.