Raising Victor Vargas Handout

Raising Victor Vargas
By: Amber Jones and Sabryne Vidal

Background: Victor Vargas is a Dominican teenager who lives on the Lower East Side of New York City with his Grandmother, little brother Nino, and little sister Vicki. He endures the perils of adolescence while trying to balance family, friends, and his love life. The basis of the film surrounds Victor trying to heighten his reputation by pursuing “Juicy Judy”, a desired girl around the neighborhood. Juicy Judy and Victor decide to make their relationship official for completely different reason, Victor desires her for his benefit and Judy wants him to keep the other guys away from her. Although they came together in the start for different reasons they ended up learning and growing from one another.

Categories of the Film

-Macho Personality
– Cocky
– Ego
-Licks Lips in order to abide by the “Papi Chulo” image
Question: Since Victor did not grow up with a father figure , do you think that his image of masculinity was distorted?

– Victor’s player reputation
– Some kind of rite of passage between boys to becoming men??
-How do you see similarities between Piri’s rep and Victor’s rep?
– How would sleeping with “Fat Donna” make Victor’s a “punk” according to Piri?

Negative Influences
-Peer Pressure
-Guys on the street
-Victor’s friends (Harold) plays a role in how he acts
Question: Why does Victor feel a need to put on an act with friends ? Does he possess insecurities.

Victor’s objectification of women:
(video clip)
Discussion questions:
How do you think the dialogue between Carlos and Victor represents the objectification of women?
Why do you think men feel the need to objectify women?
How does this female objectification apply to Latino culture and how do men tend to assume ownership of women…between relationships, marriages…examples?
Women as sexual targets
– The treatment of women within the film
– The women are only looked at sexually

-The Grandmother is the sole provider of the family
-The Grandmother has set expectations for Victor that he can not seem to abide
-She believes Victor is the root of mishap in the family.This idea comes to light when she catches Nino in the bathroom.
– Victor teaches his little brother how to be a “papi chulo”
Question : We see when the Grandma gets fed up with Victor , she decides to kick him out. After this incident -Victor does a turn around. How is the family related to masculinity?
-Victor teaches his brother how to be a ” Papi Chulo” , is it valid to assert that the act of masculinity is an endless cycle?

Question: Judy and Melonie differ abundantly where Judy has attention paid to her and Melonie does not. Once attention is paid towards Melonie she in return acts in impulse and sleeps with Harold, do you think that some females desire to be a sexual targets?

The Transformation
In the beginning both Judy and Victor were trying to achieve a personal goal, but towards the end they seem to deviate away from their initial goals.
Question: What changed their outlook on one another? What has the power to change the way masculinity is acted out? Could it be love? Family? turmoil?


Raising Victor Vargas. Dir. Peter Sollett. Perf. Victor Rasuk Judy Marte Melonie Diaz. S GOLD Technicolor Distribution Services, 2002. DVD.

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