Chicana Feminity in Ugly Betty

From the very first episode of the ABC series “Ugly Betty”, the titular character play is described/referred to as “Fugly”, compared to a dog that should appear in “Dog Fancy” and “Is that what you want representing you?” (Pilot). The majority of characters refer to Betty by appearance and as a what, completely removing her individual agency. This proves especially problematic when the majority of those characters are white; their bodies and their appearance revolve on the standard Eurocentric views of beauty. Betty, played by America Ferrera is a Chicana playing a Chicana. She is the ‘other’ in this setting of the show, completely removed from the traditionally attractive values. Jennifer Esposito explores the ‘ugliness’ in “Ugly Betty” in her article “Is Ugly Betty A Real Woman? Representations of Chicana Feminity Inscribed as a Site of (Transformative) Difference.”

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