Hips don’t lie and comments about them could get you fired

On Sept. 17, the University of Florida fired professor Timothy Taylor for offending students by saying that Latin American women dress more provocatively than U.S. women.  Bravo Gators! For once, I am on your side.

Clearly, Mr. Taylor has been watching too many Telenovelas.  It might upset him to know that, unlike those overly-dramatic television shows on Telemundo, not all Latin women dress in skimpy outfits, yank each other’s hair out, or have love affairs with their gardeners.

Saying that all Latin women dress provocatively is like saying that all Latinos are tan with brown hair and brown eyes. If that’s the case the mirror is seriously deceiving me. Latin people have a wide range of physical characteristics, ranging from blue eyes to blonde hair. “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” star Alexis Bledel, who has bright blue eyes and pale skin, is of Mexican and
Argentinian descent.

The public’s perception of women is just as skewed.  Take for instance, Colombian-born actress Sofia Vergara and American TV talk-show host Kelly Ripa. Put them in the same dress.  Vergara’s curvy figure and voluptuous assets will clearly catch more attention than Ripa’s size zero waste and flat chest.  But much like JLo’s booty, it takes more than just baggy clothes to hide Vergara’s goods.

Now, that is not to say that Latin women don’t exude sensuality. Culturally, Latin women are often raised in a sexually charged atmosphere. While U.S. women are raised dancing the Quickstep, Jive and Jitterbug, Latin women are dancing the Rumba, Tango and Salsa.

Ever seen “Dancing with the Stars?” Which dance styles have the raciest costumes? How about the beach? Is a bikini more revealing than a Brazilian Tanga?  No, but this does not mean that Latin women go to school in a tanga and dance salsa in the library.

Mr. Taylor used a stereotype and probably succumbed to one of his childhood fantasies.  He was fired, and rightly so. Now he can stay home and dream of Shakira in all her sensual glory.

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