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15: Quinceañera

January 24, 2019

Not a girl. Not yet a woman, but a heck of a party.

Do you remember that MTV show, My Super Sweet 16? I’m not the biggest fan of reality television, but I hearted me some Super Sweet 16. These parties were so over the top and the girls were so spoiled it was ridiculous. Not having had a huge party for my sixteenth birthday, I could only shake my head.
Honestly, when I saw this DVD, I thought it would be the same thing, just in Spanish and for the girls’ 15th birthdays. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Before watching this HBO documentary, I knew about the Quinceañera, but I didn’t know about the cultural significance it has. When Latinas reach 15 years old, they are officially inducted into womanhood. It’s the equivalent of a Jewish bat mitzvah. The birthday girl gets a traditional last doll – because this is the last doll she’ll ever play with. And she is presented with high-heeled shoes to further cement her grown-up status. 
I’m sure some of these parties go way over the top, but the four stories featured here were very moving. 
And different.
Of the five girls featured, one is a boxer with a DREAMer mother and an undocumented boxing coach at risk for deportation, one girl has her party in Cuba, two girls on a Texas riding team share their party, and one girl is trans. All of the parties were a big deal, but none of them were crazy-over-the-top. The stories that they told were very moving – no, I wasn’t crying…you were crying. I’d love to know what happened after the series aired. I kind of can’t believe that Ashley, the boxer, was so open about her family’s immigration status. I tried to find out if her coach or her mom had been deported, but there was nothing online about it. 
All of these girls were beautiful and their stories were poignant. This was just a good watch and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Hopefully there will be more of these in the future.
Feliz viendo…
:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.