Homosexuality, or even being anything other than straight and cisgender, is often looked down upon in communities of color. Personally, I’ve been told things such as “being gay or transgender is not normal” or “being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is only for white people and famous people.” These statements are obviously not true and although I’m not a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I know that hearing things like that so often can really make you think that these statements are true and make you feel practically worthless. This is why I think that films like Mosquita y Mari are so important. This film showcases two young Mexican-American girls exploring their sexuality and their families that never suspect this is happening. Having a film with such strong representation can not only positively impact a viewer, but it can also point out a horrible flaw in society: the belief that only heterosexuality and being cisgender is the norm. This is really highlighted in a few key scenes.
In one scene, Yolanda and Mari are hanging out together and end up checking people’s cars to see if any of them are open. When they eventually find an unlocked car, they have a little jam session together in the car. A while later when both Yolanda and Mari’s parents were in the grocery store, the cashier tells them that he saw both of their daughters enter a boy’s car, which is obviously not true. Why did he go straight to assuming that they were in the car with a boy or multiple boys? Was it really that hard to believe that they were in there alone? In addition to this, in another scene, Yolanda and Mari are laying down on the couch in Yolanda’s home. Of course, her parents aren’t around. While they’re laying together they start to get a little touchy-feely and just when you think something big is going to happen, Yolanda’s parents walk in and they both get as far away from each other as they can get. When they’re asked what they were doing, Yolanda says that they were just studying and that’s the end of the conversation. The fact that maybe they were doing something other than studying never crossed their minds, and shows how strong the idea of “being straight” is. The way that girls are suspected of sneaking around with guys and vice versa should be the same way that girls should be suspected of sneaking around with girls and so on. Even though a parent has every right to be mad that they were sneaking around, they shouldn’t be mad that their child is attracted to the same gender. It simply isn’t fair.
Secondly, just the inclusion of two Mexican-American actresses in these roles, instead of “relatable” actresses like Shailene Woodley that one of these roles may’ve been given to in another situation, is enough to inspire someone that may find themselves seeing many similarities between Yolanda or Mari and themselves. Not only that, but multiple scenes really show how invested they are in their culture. For example, when Yolanda was in her parent’s room, she puts on her father’s cowboy hat and dances to Latino music. There was also a scene in which Yolanda and Mari are at their secret hideout and Yolanda talks about memories of her grandmother in Mexico and her desire go back. Characters like this can be so inspiring to people that may see themselves in these characters. Someone may be going through what Yolanda and Mari are going through or see two characters that have the same background as them, and they will begin to realize that they’re not alone, which is really important to me.
Overall, the representation of two women of color in a film in which they are exploring their sexuality is important because it goes against negative statements that viewers may’ve been hearing all their lives and it may help them realize that they’re not alone. It also points out and critiques the idea that heterosexuality is the norm which is obviously not true. I really hope that this film inspired people in the same way that films similar to this one inspired me.