A History of Real Women Have Curves

Written by Josefina Lopez

Lopez was…

Born: 1969 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico (located Northwest of Mexico City in the state of San Luis Potosi)

She came to the United States when she was five years old.

Her parents were legalized but Lopez and five of her six siblings were undocumented.

Her household was, in her own words, very sexist – where girls and women were meant to be servants and men were the unquestioned masters.  

After high school she worked in her sister’s sweatshop to save money for college.

Part of the inspiration of the play came from an exchange she had with a friend who asked Josefina if she thought that Latina women were beautiful and she realized she didn’t think so because she was holding up white women as the standard of beauty.


“I had to write my novel Hungry Woman in Paris to show women that wouldn’t it suck if your greatest contribution to humanity was that you lost twenty pounds? How sad that so much of our life is wasted on how we look rather than how we can be of service to others, how we can change the planet, how we can transform the environment. There is so much that we can do as women but it is so taken away from us because we’re always trying to measure up to impossible standards that we can never get to.”

Real Women Have Curves

The play premiered May 25th, 1990 (the play takes place in 1987) at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco, CA.

The play was made into a movie in 2002 and had a cult following among latinx women, feminists and those concerned with the topics of the film including immigration and body image.  Real Women Have Curves re-emerged in cultural discussions when scholars and movie critics compared the film to the wildly popular movie Lady Bird – some even arguing the film plagiarized Real Women Have Curves.  Some people felt that Real Women Have Curves never received the attention it deserved as a film in part because it was focused on Latinx (and not white) women.