Quinceañeras Are All About Brown-Girl Empowerment

'Latino USA' Episode Gives an Inside Look At What It Takes to Plan A Quinceñera
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We all know that a quinceañera is an important part in a young Latina's life, but a recent Latino USA podcast episode brings a modern-day twist to what the celebration truly means. 

READ: This Marine & His Hija Put the Cutest Spin on Their Father-Daughter Quinceañera Dance

As host Maria Hinojosa sets the scene for the episode, “You Are Cordially Invited to Hailey’s Quinceañera,” she describes the traditional party perfectly.

“A quinceañera isn’t just any celebration, not just any birthday. It’s often a ‘pull out all the stops’ birthday, a lot of big hair, big dresses, glitz ... and the whole family gets involved,” she says.

In this episode, producer Antonia Cerejida goes behind the scenes of all things quince-related, but with a very significant angle — is the quinceañera a radical form of brown-girl self-love?

As we follow the story of quince girl Hailey Alexis and her mother, Rosie, we learn that the quince is so much more than just a party. As Cerejida describes: “A wedding celebrates the love between two people about to get married; a quince celebrates the love between parents and their daughter.”

“As women, we live in a society that privileges men, and then we live in an anti-Mexican society,” said Karen Mary Davalos, a Chicano & Latino Studies professor at the University of Minnesota. “How do you make sense of your body when you know you’re both Mexican and you’re a girl? Whether it’s conscious or not, this event allows people to create something that gives them meaning, where they’re not degraded.”

She also points out how the quinceñera is a chance to escape the restraints of economic class. For many parents, the extreme cost of the party doesn’t matter. This is a day where these young women are celebrated, unconditionally.

“In the context of today’s U.S., where brown girls are rarely celebrated on any national stage, this celebration is almost an act of resistance,” Cerejida said. “They’ve become an act of affirmation … they highlight just how special these girls who become women are.”

PLUS: 13 Breathtaking Disney Princess-Inspired Quince Dresses

You can listen to the whole podcast episode here.