Queer Chicana feminist writer Gloria Anzaldúa was born 71 years ago today. As an activist and theorist, she pioneered ideas of intersectionality, feminism, queer theory, cultural theory, language, and more.
The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian–our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the “real” world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.
“Literature has always been the foundation of the feminist movement. Since the 18th century, when Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, women have used print to spread knowledge and awareness, and promote feminist ideas.
Although feminist literature has been around for hundreds of years, we tend to stick to an unofficial canon of a few classics. But to promote progress and intersectionality, we should expand our feminist library to include more contemporary works, too.
In addition to being relevant to the times, today’s feminist literature often features more diverse authors and perspectives, representing the many voices of the feminist movement at large.
These 10 books do just that. And while they may not be classics yet, they’re well worth a read if you’re interested in expanding your knowledge of feminism.”
The process of falling apart (the Coyolxauhqui process), of being wounded, is a sort of shamanic initiatory dismemberment that gives suffering a spiritual and soulful value. The shaman’s initiatory ordeal includes some type of death or dismemberment during the ecstatic trance journey. Torn apart into basic elements and then reconstructed, the shaman acquires the power of healing and returns to help the community. To be healed we must be dismembered, pulled apart. The healing occurs in disintegration, in the demotion of the ego as the self’s only authority. By connecting with our wounding, the imaginal journey makes it worthwhile. Healing images bring back the pieces, heal las rajaduras. As Hillman notes, healing is a deep change of attitude that involves an adjustment and abandonment of “ego-heroics.” It requires that we shift our perspective. La
Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality
So, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity - I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself. Until I can accept as legitimate Chicano Texas Spanish, Tex-Mex and all the other languages I speak, I cannot accept the legitimacy of myself. Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate.
I will no longer be made to feel ashamed for existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue - my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.
Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza