Warning: The following article contains spoilers
In a world where Latinas in the media are constantly hypersexualized, Netflix’s new “Wednesday” series is a breath of spooky fresh air.
The show is centered around a long-beloved character, Wednesday Addams, and her first year at a boarding school for “outcasts,” including shapeshifters, werewolves and sirens. She is wearing the same all-black outfits we all know and love and we even see cameos of the rest of her famous family, such as Gomez and Morticia Addams.
In the past few years, the media has improved portraying Latina characters that don’t fit the one-size spicy Latina narrative — like Sofia Vergara’s character in Modern Family). Characters like Rosa Diaz from “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and Elena Alvarez from “One Day at A Time” challenge the idea that Latinas in film and television are supposed to be sexual, eccentric, temperamental and hyperfeminine women.
Jenna Ortega’s portrayal of Wednesday Addams is another one to add to the list of the changing representation of Hispanic women.
What makes Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday so remarkable is that all her movements and orations are so uniquely “Wednesday.” Her deadpan stare, showing little emotion and her monotonous voice make for a character that differs from your overly emotional, high-tempered Latina.
Wednesday is actively the opposite of hypersexualized. She hates all types of physical touch and rejects offers to be romantically involved with people on multiple occasions. Her fascination with all things dead and creepy makes it difficult to also pursue love and sex.
In addition to defying these stereotypes that have plagued Latinas for so long, Wednesday is simply a character like no one else. Despite what others say about her, she is unapologetically herself and refuses to change.
Being an outcast in a school of other outcasts makes for her to be a surprising protagonist. You wouldn’t expect a girl who was sent away for hurting a classmate to end up saving a whole school from mass murder.
I have to say, “Wednesday” made me fall in love with Jenna Ortega’s energy. There’s something so dark and intense about her aura while she’s playing this character. It’s absolutely thrilling to watch. Especially in the scene where Wednesday is at a school event and starts dancing. You can see the rarity of her character shine as she moves through the space in a rigid, Bob Fosse-esque manner.
I always found the character of Wednesday — in the many years it’s been reinterpreted — as one that is monotonous and empty. However, Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday proved me wrong in the best way. Though Wednesday has a rather dark personality and shies away from showing affection, she has a soft side in her own way. She ends up warming up with both her roommate Enid and Eugene, a boy in her class that didn’t have many friends.
Wednesday doesn’t possess a shiny, extroverted personality, but she is characteristic of the ever-evolving image of the new Latina. She’s dark, witty and caring — although she tries not to show it — and she’s everything I want in a character.
If you haven’t watched “Wednesday,” do it — you will not regret it.