- R.A. Ruiz Acosta
LATINX AF: "Gordita: Built Like This" by Daisy Ruiz Comic Review
The first performance of Josefina Lopez's play "Real Women Have Curves" was in May of 1990. The revolutionary film adaptation starring America Ferrera was released in 2002. In 2016, Gloria Lucas started Nalgona Positivity Pride, an "in-community eating disorders and body-positive organization" for BICC rooted in Xicana indigenous feminism. In 2017, Princess Nokia released her hit "Tomboy" celebrating her "little titties and fat belly." 2022 brings a new creative force to this league of cycle-breaking, body positive latina, indigenous, and women of color creatives tearing down diet culture: "Gordita: Built Like This" a new comic by New York based Chicana illustrator Daisy Ruiz.
We're introduced to middle schooler "Gordita" standing in front of her mirror holding her tummy. She explains to the viewer that although she is latina- she doesn't fit the stereotypical latina beauty standards pushed by the Latina American and US media. The societal expectation burdens her in her everyday life- rude, hypocritical tias... self hating mestizos... nasty classmates who say she's "built like spongebob" cus she lacks Selena's legendary curves. Even before Gordita's ultimate transformation- her creativity and personality shine through. While she stands in the mirror critiquing her own body, she's wearing red "Punk Princess" chones. She's owned the rude af "SpongeBob" dig, and turns it into her own character: "Hood SpongeBob" who proudly backs his square ass up while waving the Mexican flag. Later she embraces the idea that she is more than her body- and these little seeds that Daisy plants early on show that Gordita is a girl of strong character, humor, and creativity- she just needs a little guidance to dig herself out from the mountain of bullying and expectation that middle school, puberty, racism, fatphobia, and colorism have pilled on top of her.
"Gordita: Built Like This" tackles tough themes head on in a way that is empowering to those who need this work most. Daisy Ruiz has presented the traumatic intersection of when puberty and bullying collide with cultural and racial identity issues and body dysmorphia- yet Gordita comes out the victor. In this way, Ruiz has created a captivating hero for teens and adults alike that I hope we see more of!
"Gordita: Built Like This" is by Bronx based chicana illustrator Daisy Ruiz and is published by Black Josei Press. Today is the LAST day to pre-order your copy at this link. Follow Black Josie Press and Daisy Ruiz for more updates!