Tag Archives: Latinoculture

A Latin-x Proverb directed at Women

Informant Info:

  • Nationality: Mexican
  • Age: 22
  • Occupation: full time student
  • Residence: Los Angeles
  • Primary language: English
  • Relationship: Friend


“Calladita te ves más bonita”

English translation: “The more quiet you are, the prettier you look”


ES grew up here in Los Angeles, but her parents are from Mexico. The proverb pertains to her Mexican culture and household. She first heard the proverb above from her grandmother. Her grandmother would tell her “Calladita te ves más bonita” as a form of advice. ES told me, “I always interpreted it meaning that oversharing can be dangerous from listening ears, or the less you say the better.” She also told me that she remembers her and her aunt would use the phrase as a comeback in a lighthearted way to make each other laugh. ES pointed out that she never had realized it before, but the phrase is targeted towards girls/women. 


I also grew up hearing the proverb in my culture, and I greatly identified with the informants take on the phrase. When discussing the proverb with her, I too realized that it is a saying that isn’t really said to men/boys. In Spanish the ending of a word is meant to distinguish between genders. If the word ends with ‘a’ it is usually feminine. The words ‘calladita’ and ‘bonita’ end with an ‘a’ and are feminine. If it were targeted towards men, the words would end with ‘o’ and be considered masculine. Growing up, I never heard the saying told to my male companions. Sometimes in Latin-x culture, there can be a lot of toxic masculinity or “machismo.” Machismo means a sense of strong masculine pride, male overbearing control over the wife and family, and sexist ideology. Younger I didn’t really associate toxic masculinity with the saying, but now from an older, more mature point of view, I can acknowledge that it is present. ES and I were having a conversation about how in our latino culture, it is very much embedded into women from a young age to sit still, look pretty, and be quiet. Of course, we aren’t trying to stereotype our culture from this lens, we are simply acknowledging some patterns we noticed.