Let’s Stop the Copy-Paste Latina TikTok Trend, Please

Copy-paste may be a useful function on our phones and computers, but lately, it’s become harmful on TikTok. Over the past few weeks, the term “copy-paste Latina” has emerged among Latine creators on the app, and no matter how innocent it sounds, its repercussions are dangerous. 
The trend first emerged under a viral TikTok sound in early October. Since then, thousands of users have made videos to show whether they are a so-called copy-paste Latina. The term was never concretely defined, but one glance at the videos makes it clear who it refers to: Those who embody characteristics the U.S. typically associates with Latina women, like silky black hair, light skin, Eurocentric features, and heavily-applied, feminine makeup. One side of the trend has framed the copy-paste Latina as an aesthetic to be coveted, even filming tutorials on how to achieve the look. Meanwhile, another seems to mock the women who adhere to it. Either way, both interpretations are incredibly destructive.  

"The copy-paste Latina trend reduces our diversity to a monolithic beauty standard that’s unattainable for most."

tess garcia
There are 33 countries in Latin America, but the copy-paste Latina trend reduces our diversity to a monolithic beauty standard that’s unattainable for most. It erases Latinas who don’t subscribe to the aesthetic or don’t have the “right” features for it — plus, it diminishes those who fit the look as “basic,” when in reality, they’re simply expressing themselves. Referring to any style as “copy-paste” negates our rich cultural histories, which could never be fully encompassed in a single video.
To understand the implications of the copy-paste Latina trend, we spoke with Latina TikTok users about how they felt when they first encountered it and why they find it problematic.

Vianney Casas, San Diego, Calif.

@vianneyharelly “Its not that deep” in my page it is. To the people that have been insecure all their lives it is. To their & YOUR inner child it is, you just dont see it yet. ❤️‍🩹 #latina #latinas #copypastelatina ♬ New Home (Slowed) - Austin Farwell
The first time I came across videos with the "copy-paste Latina" phrase, something immediately felt off. Generally, the concept of "copy-paste" implies literally copying something in order to replicate it exactly as it is. I am a writer, so to me, words have weight and meaning. I always like giving people the benefit of the doubt and want to believe they might not always have hurtful intentions, but I was just confused, especially seeing people in my community joining the trend. I decided to look at the videos under the sound being used and my confusion switched to disappointment. 
The hair being referred to was straight and silky. The makeup, not surprisingly, fit into the Eurocentric ideals we have worked so hard to escape for centuries. It broke my heart to see girls with Black and Indigenous features saying they were sad they would never be a "copy-paste Latina." As I stated in a video response, trends and norms were created by a capitalist society to profit off of our insecurities and differences. 

"Trends should be fun. Once they disrespect or exclude someone, especially someone in a marginalized community, it has crossed a line we need to reflect on as a community."

Vianney Casas
People participating in the trend were saying it’s not that deep, but the internalization of stereotypes and colonized thinking run very deep and it can be instilled in our minds without us even noticing. In an ideal world, we would all celebrate, support, respect, and honor our roots and our differences. Trends should be fun. Once they disrespect or exclude someone (whether or not it was intentional), especially someone in a marginalized community, it has crossed a line we need to reflect on as a community.

Angelina Ingram, Deltona, Florida

@iheart4ngelina LOL being afro latina lowkey superior tho#iheart4ngelina #afrolatina ♬ Buddah Lovaz - serina
The copy-and-paste trend going around is honestly just Latina stereotypes restarting themselves with a specific group that doesn't include all of us. It’s extremely problematic. Being an Afro-Latina, no one accepted my features, my skin tone, or my hair type growing up. So this is history repeating itself.

"The copy-and-paste trend going around is honestly just stereotypes restarting themselves."

Angelina Ingram
My initial reaction was to recreate the trend using my ethnicity and race to make a joke out of it, because I really thought it was kind of stupid. As Latinas, we all separate each other and put each other into different groups, which I hate.

Andrea Beltrami, California

At first, I didn’t see an issue with it. But once I started seeing more and more girls hopping on the trend, I was like, "Oh, so you’re saying you all look like each other." It wasn’t until I started seeing younger girls comparing themselves, asking if they looked like one or feeling like that was the beauty standard, when I was like, "I don’t know about this anymore."
It’s younger girls who are impressionable looking at this and comparing themselves. A lot of other people brought up the fact that it’s just another example of colorism in our community. All these girls, they were lighter-skinned, so you have girls who may be more melanated looking at that like, "I don’t have that skin tone or that kind of hair." It’s also the kind of thing we see in telenovelas, so the trend reinforces that again, of everyone wanting to be like that. I’ve seen girls commenting, "Well, everyone wants to be like us, so that’s why it’s copy-paste."

"It’s just another example of colorism in our community."

Andrea Beltrami
We’re not really aware of how many young girls are on TikTok. Sometimes, I’ll get random comments from 14-year-olds. It’s something we need to be more aware of because I know I used to be like that as a kid, thinking, "Why isn’t my skin lighter" or "Why isn’t my hair like that?" We need to help uplift the younger girls who don’t look like the superstars in the telenovelas. We’re all so different as a community, so if we celebrated our differences more, it’d be so much better.

Margarita Burgos, Pomona, California

@mamacitamaggs Stop trying to belittle us latinas by saying we all look alike, latinas come in sooooooo many different shapes, sizes and colors. #fyp #itbeyourownpeople #fuckaroundandfindout #copyandpastelatina #chicanoculture ♬ original sound - Margarita ✨🇲🇽
A few weeks ago, Hailey Bieber wore the chola lip and called it "brownie glazed lips." Another woman came up with agua frescas and called them "spa water." They claimed the "clean girl aesthetic" but didn’t give credit to the Black and Brown women they stole it from. It’s tiring to see people consume trends so fast that they can’t even learn from the people they're copying. Seeing my culture as the latest trend to ridicule had me unsettled.

"It’s meant to belittle the Latina that looks like the so-called 'copy-and-paste' type while excluding the Latinas that do not fit this description. ."

Margarita Burgos
It’s meant to belittle the Latina that looks like the so-called "copy-and-paste" type while excluding the Latinas that do not fit this description. Not only does it divide Latinas by trying to fit us in categories, but it belittles a lifestyle with a culture of its own. I hope by calling out the ignorance of this trend, society gives credit to its origins: the Chicanas in LA, the around-the-way girls in New York, and the chongas in Florida. This is a culture we are proud to share so long as it is embraced, not stolen and renamed to fit ever-changing trends.

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