Albion College’s Organization for Latino/Latina Awareness [OLA] and the feminist group Power combined their efforts to present activist, comedian and actress Maria Costa to the student body. Maria Costa had her education at Wayne State University. She began working on PBS, moved to Los Angeles and was soon cast in multiple television shows on different networks. Costa noticed a similar theme occurring with her casting, so she decided to start her new show, Macho Men and the Women Who Love Them.
The show brings up issues of race and feminism through a couple: one woman who cares about her career path, and a very proud man. Their conflicting personalities cause them to butt heads, but they always grow from their experiences. Costa uses comedy, dancing, multiple costume changes and live music to reach her audience.
“I felt that I was being cast as the stereotypical tough Latina,” Costa said in an email. “So I set out to write my own content with smart, funny and strong leading Latina roles.”
Costa focuses on issues of race and feminism in her speeches, acts and her new show, identifying the cultural norms set into place for women in the Latino culture, like the expectation of Latina women to be mothers.
“I knew there were many Latinas and other women who were dealing with the internal and external conflict of honoring their cultural traditions, while navigating in a modern world – which is not always easy,” Costa said.
The idea of machismo is also an influential topic for Costa. According to Dictionary.com, machismo is “a strong or exaggerated sense of manliness.”
“I think as women, specifically in America, we are redefining for ourselves what feminism looks like, which I think is more balanced now between family and career,” Costa said. “Also, machismo is very specific to Latinos and other custom based cultures, which I think adds another dynamic to the mix.”
After she performs, Costa often gives a more serious talk to drive the message home to her audiences.
Carl Jones, Clarkston junior and president of OLA was very excited to present the show to the campus.
“She was chosen because she represents a large background of not only people of Hispanic background, but the pride of being a woman,” Jones said.
Currently, Costa is working on her new project, Macho Men and the Women Who Marry Them. It shifts focus from relationships and working, to the married life and how that changes the same issues Costa focuses on.
“[Macho Men and the Women who] Marry Them explores what it takes to make a marriage work,” Costa said. “The message in the new show explores working at a marriage, taking a close look at what cultural traditions may serve you and your marriage and which ones do not. I also take on how the media and modern ideas serve or harm marriages.”
If you’d like to look into Costa’s new show, or any of her other material, check her out at her website.
photo courtesy of OLA and Power