“You wear jewelry now?”
The question stumped me as my aunt eyed the gold name chain around my neck. See, for many women in my family, jewelry is essential. My grandmother never leaves the house without her chunky hoops. My aunt is always displaying her latest bracelets (with charms given to her by her best friends). Heck, I even owned gold ear studs and a name-inscribed bracelet before I could utter my first word. Point blank, jewelry was always connected to my Latinx culture.
And yet, I grew up resenting name chains, door knocker earrings and big hoops, quite possibly because I feared they made me look too “other,” like I’d never be taken seriously in prominently non-BIPOC spaces. In 2018, New York Times writer Sandra E. Garcia explained a similar feeling: “I felt that wearing large hoops would make me stand out, make me seem too loud, too visible, too ghetto, too black.”
But despite my (and many other BIPOC women’s) inner turmoil and identity crisis, the fashion world kept telling us hoops were “cool! trendy! chic!” And sure, I guess this is fine. Until you see who exactly is rocking them and how calling them a “hot must-have item” ignores years of Black and Latinx history.