I am Brown through and through. I come from a long line of proud Mexican people and rich tradition, but I have a problem with my browness. Not with the taint of my skin, but with the chauvinistic morals upheld by my brown culture. These morals or ideals have silenced me for a mere seventeen years. This silence has in turn fostered the ignorance of my people and any outsiders looking in.
By Mexican standards a woman’s role is to be obedient. To have a wife, daughter, or sister that blindly follows is the pride of any husband, father, or brother. If she looks good as she obeys that’s a plus. Throughout my life I have heard quips about how beautiful I am, how obedient I am. The words”Esa es una buena hija” That’s a good daughter, echo through my mind. My being a good daughter is merely defined by my blind obedience, an obedience that has stopped me from expressing myself and finding myself.
Seventeen years I have spent just being something to look at and praised for obedience. Obedience and beauty are outwardly visible traits. Never have I heard praise for my work as a budding writer, or for my skills on the softball field. Never have my opinions been agreed with because I am not allowed to voice them openly. These other actions though also outwardly visible do not comply with the so called “norm” of my culture. No one has acknowledged that within this obedient bronzed shell there is a flourishing mind and spirit. My opinion and what I do outside mi familia do not seem to matter. Wherever I try to be part of this patriarchy by engaging in conversations about beisbol or politica I am hushed by an older woman in my family and told “Esas son cosas de hombe,” Those are things of men.
What are things of men? What gives them the privilege to speak of what they want, but not me? In the end aren’t we all human? Well I have had enough. Call it Feminism, crazy, or radical. I want to be acknowledged for who I am, a young woman of strength and independence. I believe that in any culture, not just my own, men and women should work to complement one another. One should not oppress the other. One should not belittle the other. Through belittling we create oppression through oppression silence begins to creep. Through this insidious silence we create ignorance and then it begins all over again. This is a cycle I wish I could stop on my own, not for myself but for all those who will follow after me. This cycle of ignorance is not a Mexican issue; it is not even a feminist issue. It as an issue of humanity, an issue that won’t change until we all begin to put our drops in the ocean of change. This is my drop.