The movie real women have curves presents an exploitative marketplace and labor force
as systems of oppression. Estela runs the family sewing company that is not doing well and risks
closure. She is dedicated, talented, and works hard to ascertain the smooth running of the factory.
Also, Estela has a healthy relationship with her employees particularly Pancha and Rosali.
However, amidst Estela`s hard work, she receives a small compensation for her dresses while the
department store sells them at a high price. The department store buys Estela`s dresses at $18 per
piece and sells them at $600 per piece (Scott 67). This is a depiction of marketplace exploitation
and oppression whereby the producer who does a majority of the work gets a small
compensation, while the seller gets a hefty compensation for little or no work. Apart from
marketplace and labor exploitation, Estela`s dresses also depict the normative ideal of slender
beauty. The dresses only run to size 12 and hence are meant for slender women. Although Ana
admires the dresses, she can neither fit into the dresses nor afford them.
The immigrant experience comes out prominently in the film and immigrants are
portrayed as an oppressed population. The movie is set in a Mexican American family that is
experiencing various obstacles such as economic impoverishment and repressive gender roles.
Just like Ana, many youths of color and low income have limited choices in life and many end
up soliciting for employment opportunities to help their families financially. The economic
impoverishment of the family forces Carmen, Estela, and Ana to work in the garment industry.
According to Candelaria (24), the garment industry is both a difficult and low paying
employment sector for immigrant women globally. As immigrant women, Ana and her
colleagues, experience poor working conditions, low wages, and long working hours. For
instance, in a bid to meet a dresses order deadline, Ana and her co-workers work for 24 hours
straight. Also, they work in a dimly light and poorly ventilated environment. As a wageworker,