A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Discusses the significance of a quinceañera and its traditions in the lives of the Latina teens profiled. Segments feature topics like family, celebrating cultural pride, sacrifice, transphobia, and living as an undocumented person in the United States.
Positive Role Models
The young women and their families come from different ethnicities, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. One of the teens is trans, and older trans women and other members of the LGBTQ+ community mentor and support her. Some of teens work with their parents to earn money for the event. Most are very open about how grateful they are to their parents and extended families for helping them.
Violence & Scariness
The bullying of a child by children and adults is discussed. The absence, deportation, or death of a parent is also a topic. One of the teens is a boxer and is shown training and briefly fighting in the ring.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The quinceañera marks the passage from childhood to womanhood. Dating is discussed, and conversations sometimes include warnings not to have sex or touch someone of the opposite sex in a sexual manner. One grandmother talks about being married at the age of 12.
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Partial logos for Starbucks, Dasani, and others are visible, but not presented in an obvious way. Logos for Nike and others are clearly visible on clothes and boxing wear.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Non-alcoholic beverages that look like champagne are served in champagne glasses to teens.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the documentary series15: A Quinceañera Story profiles five Latina teens celebrating their 15th birthdays with a traditional quinceañera. It focuses on the personal and cultural significance of the party in each of their lives, and the efforts of family and friends to help celebrate their rite of passage. The gratitude the young people have for the generational sacrifices made to ensure that they have good lives in the U.S. is also expressed. The series is positive overall, but the teens' life stories include experiences dealing with things like transphobia, bullying, absentee parents, and deportation. There's no random violence or sex to worry about, but one young woman is a boxer, and is shown fighting in the ring, while another is warned against engaging in sexual activity by a parent.
Is It Any Good?
The heartwarming documentary profiles a diverse group of Latina teens from different parts of the United States who are celebrating their entrance into womanhood. But unlike unscripted TV shows like Sweet 15: Quinceañera and My Super Sweet 16 that focus heavily on the materialistic, over-the-top bling these parties are often associated with, their stories focus on their ethnic and cultural experiences, and the personal significance of the event within their unique life stories. Granted, there's still a fair amount of choreographed dance routines, photo shoots, tiaras, and big ball gowns. However, these things are presented within larger contexts that underscore the hard work that made it possible to purchase them, and the generosity of their padrinos and madrinas (godfathers and godmothers), who go out of their way to ensure that traditions are followed, and that the birthday girl has a wonderful day.
These stories are entrenched in Latino traditions and in some cases, religious values. But they also reveal how important being an American is to these women, and how their Stateside heritage also informs who they are. While some of these conversations are specific to their quinceañera, this appreciation is also expressed through the young women's choices to live in ways that are true to themselves, and how they are accepted by those around them. Furthermore, they openly voice their gratitude for the sacrifices the generations of loved ones have made to ensure that they live happy, healthy lives in the U.S. Overall, 15: A Quinceañera Story offers a humble and meaningful look at what this rite of passage is, and what it represents in the lives of these young women and their families.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.