Back to top

Quinceañera Style

Quinceañera Style
Social Belonging and Latinx Consumer Identities

A dynamic study of social negotiation and consumerism in the coming-of-age quinceañera celebration and the impact of normalizing spectacles of luxury.

November 2019
232 pages | 6 x 9 |

Quinceañera celebrations, which recognize a girl’s transition to young womanhood at age fifteen, are practiced in Latinx communities throughout the Americas. But in the consumer-driven United States, the ritual has evolved from a largely religious ceremony to an elaborate party where social status takes center stage. Examining the many facets of this contemporary debut experience, Quinceañera Style reports on ethnographic fieldwork in California, Texas, the Midwest, and Mexico City to reveal a complex, compelling story. Along the way, we meet a self-identified transwoman who uses the quinceañera as an intellectual space in her activist performance art. We explore the economic empowerment of women who own barrio boutiques specializing in the quinceañera’s many accessories and made-in-China gowns. And, of course, we meet teens themselves, including a vlogger whose quince-planning tips have made her an online sensation.

Disrupting assumptions, such as the belief that Latino communities in the United States can’t desire upward mobility without abandoning ethnoracial cultural legacies, Quinceañera Style also underscores the performative nature of class and the process of constructing a self in the public, digital sphere.


Winner of the Emily Toth Award for Best Single Work in Women's Studies, Popular Culture Association

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction. Coming Out Latinx
  • Chapter 1. Quinceañera Style and Class Performativity
  • Chapter 2. Identity off the Rack: Selling Quinceañera Dresses and Manufacturing Identities in the Experience Economy
  • Chapter 3. Coming of Age in the Digital Barrio: Quinceañera as a Product in Cultural Economies Online
  • Chapter 4. Made in Mexico, USA: Beauty Professionals and the Manufacturing of Quinceañera Beauty Culture
  • Chapter 5. Ambivalent Embodiment: Reconstituting Quinceañera Performance Space
  • Conclusion. Rights/Rites and Representation: Reading Latinx Social Performance
  • Notes
  • Works Cited
  • Index

Rachel Valentina González
Austin, Texas

González is an assistant professor of Mexican American and Latina/o studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She was a Woodrow Wilson Early Career Fellow and is the coeditor of Race and Cultural Practice in Popular Culture.


“No prior scholarly approach to [the quinceañera] compares with Rachel Valentina González's brilliant analysis...Quinceañera Style delivers on its promise to bring out an analysis for the twenty-first century of an established yet ever-evolving tradition in the Americas...In more ways than one, Quinceañera Style articulates the underlying reasons why families would spend beyond their means to honor their daughter’s transition from childhood to adulthood.”
Journal of Folklore Research

“A richly nuanced study.”
New Books in Folklore

“This is a great book--a sophisticated, intersectional, and transnational project. González takes an innovative approach to quinceañeras that considers the complex, post-nationalist, global economy as well as some post-ethnic but gendered practices.”
Angharad N. Valdivia, University of Illinois

Quinceañera Style is an overdue scholarly examination of a popular cultural experience that is sure to join the important and growing body of research on Latinx youth, queer, and digital cultures.”
Anna Cristina Pertierra, Western Sydney University