The gendered term yal has been recently employed in Puerto Rican colloquial parlance to characterize women who exhibit apparently indecent behavior. This article explores how the yal moniker has been extracted from reggaetón music and resignified through public discourse and performances. I analyze how female recipients of social welfare and federal aid in the Puerto Rican archipelago have been impacted by this classed and racialized stereotype. Paralleling the history of stereotypes employed to police African American women with the development of yal, I show how hegemonic discourses operate upon the vilification of poor women to rationalize social and economic stagnation.
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