chicana feminism

CHICANA FEMINISM, also referred to as Xicanism, is an ideology based on the rejection of the traditional “household” role of a Mexican-American woman. In challenges the stereotypes of women across the lines of gender, ethnicity, class, race, and sexuality. Most importantly, it serves as a middle ground between the Chicano Movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement.

Ethnocentrism is the tyranny of Western aesthetics. An Indian mask in an American museum is transposed into an alien aesthetic system where what is missing is the presence of power invoked through performance ritual. It has become a conquered thing, a dead “thing” separated from nature and, therefore, its power. 
      Modern Western painters have “borrowed,” copied, or otherwise extrapolated the art of tribal cultures and called it cubism, surrealism, symbolism. The music, the beat of the drum, the Blacks’ jive talk. All taken over. Whites, along with a good number of our own people, have cut themselves off from their spiritual roots, and they take our spiritual art objects in an unconscious attempt to get them back. If they’re going to do it, I’d like them to be aware of what they are doing and to go about doing it the right way. Let’s all stop importing Greek myths and the Western Cartesian split point of view and root ourselves in the mythological soil and soul of this continent. White America has only attended to the body of the earth in order to exploit it, never to succor it or to be nurtured in it. Instead of surreptitiously ripping off the vital energy of people of color and putting it to commercial use, whites could allow themselves to share and exchange and learn from us in a respectful way. By taking up curanderismo, Santeria, shamanism, Taoism, Zen and otherwise delving into the spiritual life and ceremonies of multi-colored people, Anglos would perhaps lose the white sterility they have in their kitchens, bathrooms, hospitals, mortuaries and missile bases. Though in the conscious mind, black and dark may be associated with death, evil and destruction, in the subconscious mind and in our dreams, white is associated with disease, death, and hopelessness. Let us hope that the left hand, that of darkness, of femaleness, of “primitiveness,” can divert the indifferent, right-handed, “rational” suicidal drive that, unchecked, could blow us into acid rain in a fraction of a millisecond.
—  Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
I have never met any kind of Latino who, although he may have claimed his family was very woman-dominated (“mi mamá made all the real decisions”), who did not subscribe to the basic belief that men are better. It is so ordinary a statement as to sound simplistic and I am nearly embarrassed to write it, but that’s the truth in its kernel. Ask, for example, any Chicana mother about her children and she is quick to tell you she loves them all the same, but she doesn’t. The boys are different. Sometimes I sense that she feels this way because she wants to believe that through her mothering, she can develop the kind of man she would have liked to have married, or even have been. That through her son she can get a small taste of male privilege, since without race or class privilege that is all to be had. The daughter can never offer the mother such hope, straddled by the same forces that confine the mother. As a result, the daughter must constantly earn the mother’s love, prove her fidelity to her. The son - he gets her love for free.
— 

Cherríe Moraga

I remember the first time I read something Moraga had written and it really affected me, but this was the first time I read something so impactful, true and close to home that it made me cry.

Here’s Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. She was a scholar, poet, and potentially-queer nun in 17th-century New Spain (now Mexico City). She’s an important historical figure, especially within Latina and Chicana feminism. Here are a couple reasons why she’s amazing:

  • At age sixteen Sor Juana asked her parents’ permission to disguise as a boy that way she could attend university. Sor Juana ended up entering a convent, instead, since at that time convents were the only place women could receive an education. 
  • Sor Juana was incredibly devoted to her education. Whenever she failed to remember a Latin lesson correctly she would cut off a lock of her hair.
  • Sor Juana virulently defended the rights of women, much to the chagrin of the male clergy who disliked that she argued so passionately for a woman’s right to mind and education. Sor Juana wrote that men were “adept at wrongly faulting womankind”, and essentially was writing feminist critiques of female oppression.
  • She possessed the largest library in New Spain at the time. 
  • She wrote soppy amorous poems to the Countess de Pareda (Maria Luisa). They’d met at intellectual salons Sor Juana hosted in her home. One stanza Sor Juana wrote to the Countess goes: “That you’re a woman far away/ is no hindrance to my love:/ for the soul, as you well know,/ distance and sex don’t count.”
  • Did I mention how amazing her poetry is even outside of her love letters? Check out this poem of hers titled ‘The Ripcord of Love’:
        “With the force of a mortal blow,
        with the sting of love’s sorry sorrow,
        I watched for death’s final call to go,
        I begged for the flood’s big swallow.
        Evil plagued my funny little soul.
        Pain by pain, there grew a hollow,
        so that in the time that dared to follow,
        I’d have traded life to die and wallow.
        And when the blows refused to end,
        and my surrendered heart to mend—
        in the final throws, in the blood’s last sigh—
        a strange magic rescued me just then.
        I came back. But why should I live? Why?
        For who, in love, has been luckier than I?”
  • She cared for the sick during a plague (which unfortunately ended up killing her).
Plus Size Maternity Shoot

I am 39 weeks pregnant today and my husband took me to the park so he could take my maternity photographs. He helped me to feel like a queen today despite how sleepy and achy I’ve been feeling lately. At this stage in my pregnancy I am listening to my hypno babies birthing affirmations every night to prepare for birthing in power and confidence. I am working hard to stay pregnant positive and counting down the days until I get to hold my precious baby.

Lots of love,
La Chica Mas Fina

Photo: Jeff Newton Photography

MUA: Carissa Garcia

Plus Size Maternity Shoot

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“… in the early days of the Chicano Movement for Civil Rights of the 1960s and 1970s, Chicana women activists were often the unrecognized supporters of their more visible male counterparts. At the same time, the Women’s Liberation Movement was sweeping the nation, causing thoughtful Chicanas to ponder their own situation. One of the first meetings of Chicanas to address gender inequality was convened at the 1969 Denver Youth Conference. Veteran civil rights activist, author and feminist Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, who began her activist career working with the Students Non-Violent Action Commiitee (SNCC) before moving on to the Chicano Movement, recalls the debates at the Women’s Caucus and the surprising conclusion. …”

Latinopia Event: 1969, Chicana Women’s Caucus
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Feminism is for EVERYONE. Spread this brochure around!

What does feminism mean to you?

Thanks to our amazing community organizing students at CUSSW: Tao-Yee, Estrellita & Mae for designing and creating this brochure :)

Cover picture by @soirart

I do have to denounce this hegemonic feminist discourse that promotes success without questioning the very context in which said success is supposed to take place. I do have to protest the increasing promotion of corporate participation as a measure of “feminist achievement” and women’s prosperity. Because for as long as we do not question at whose expense we are succeeding, we are going to continue creating a deeper gap between those women who are allowed to succeed and those who never stood a chance to begin with. We are not meant to have it all in our current set up. Moreover, we are supposed to always aspire to more. This is a model based on some nonsensical idea of permanent growth and the exploitation of more and more resources and people to uphold it. The perversity of it all is that we hardly have the chance to even consider alternatives. Who has the luxury of time for debate or political/ social organization when it is necessary to work two jobs, take care of children, family, social life and some scarce leisure time in order to barely survive? We cannot have it all, in part, because we are forced to participate in the illusion that we can have it all. And a growing portion of feminism has taken to the sidelines, in this role of reactive respondent to the news cycle, barely fighting so that what we have so far achieved cannot be taken away.
—  Flavia Dzodan, ’We cannot have it all because we no longer have dreams’
http://tigerbeatdown.com/2012/06/27/we-cannot-have-it-all-because-we-no-longer-have-dreams/

With the 1981 publication of the groundbreaking anthology, “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color”, Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua ushered in an era of Chicana lesbian writing. But while these two writers have achieved iconic status, observers of the Chicana/o experience have been slow to perceive the existence of a whole community - lesbian and straight, male as well as female - who write about the Chicana lesbian experience.

To create a first full map of that community, this book explores a wide range of plays, novels, and short stories by Chicana/o authors that depict lesbian characters or lesbian desire. Catriona Rueda Esquibel starts from the premise that Chicana/o communities, theories, and feminisms cannot be fully understood without taking account of the perspectives and experiences of Chicana lesbians.

To open up these perspectives, she engages in close readings of works centred around the following themes: La Llorona, the Aztec Princess, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, girlhood friendships, rural communities and history, and Chicana activism. Her investigation broadens the community of Chicana lesbian writers well beyond Moraga and Anzaldua, while it also demonstrates that the histories of Chicana lesbians have had to be written in works of fiction because these women have been marginalized and excluded in canonical writings on Chicano life and experience.

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MUCHACHA FANZINE TO RELEASE SELENA ISSUE 

For the 20th anniversary of Selena’s death, Muchacha Fanzine presents its 10th issue: “Celebrando Selena!”

This spring edition invites you to share how Selena has impacted your life! I am accepting stories, thoughts, art, photography, poetry, comics, essays, songs and more.

Please submit writing via email using microsoft word and simply attach images. In order to be published, all submissions must be sent to Daisy at riotgrrrl56@yahoo.com by no later than March 1st, 2015. In your submission you have the option of including a short bio/contact/website info. You can also remain anonymous. All of the contributors will receive free copies including domestic/international shipping. 



Para el 20 aniversario de la muerte de Selena, Muchacha Fanzine presenta su edición numero 10: “Celebrando Selena!”

Esta edición de primavera te invita a compartir cómo Selena ha tenido un impacto en tu vida! Estoy aceptando historias, pensamientos, arte, fotografía, poesía, cómics, ensayos, canciones y más!

Por favor envíe e-mail a través de microsoft y simplemente pega imágenes. Con el fin de ser publicadas, todas las propuestas deben enviarse a Daisy a riotgrrrl56@yahoo.com no más tarde que el primero de Marzo. En su contribución tienes la opción de incluir un pequeño bio/contacto/tu página. También puedes permanecer anónimo. Todos los contribuyentes recibirán copias gratis, incluyendo el transporte nacional y internacional.

My family grew up in the church, but we were not religious people. For starters we were usually late for service; a good Catholic family would have been on time. We also never went to church on Christmas Eve because the adults (and later, as we grew up, the grandchildren) were too drunk from tamale-making to drive, let alone show our sinner faces in front of God. But when I was 27 years old I walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, desperate to feel something familiar 3,000 miles from home. I sat down in a pew and cried as sunlight from the stained glass windows painted my face.
— 

La Malinche, La Llorona, La Virgen: My Mother’s Ghost Stories | The Hairpin

I’m talking about feminism and ghost stories over at The Hairpin today.

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Fatshion Is Resistance

For a BIG bodied woman like myself, fashion is a way to resist the negative stereotypes ascribed to plus size woman of color, such as lazy, dumb, & unhealthy. Looking on point & wearing my clothes with pride is a way of countering the shaming, policing, & stigma around fatness. Here’s a major spring trend I love for 2013 & am incorporating into my wardrobe: Peekaboo anything! In this case I am wearing a cold shoulder top by Eloquii & I paired it with my purple Torrid stiletto ankle zipper denim from last fall along with matching purple lipstick by MAC called “up the amp”. Keep shining ladies.

XOXO,
La Chica Mas Fina

TW for abortion

Raquel Reichard on Instagram:

“On the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, let’s not forget how policies like the Hyde Amendment disproportionately impact low-income women and women of color in their ability to access and pay for legal and essential healthcare - women like Rosie Jiménez. Rosie, considered the first victim of the Hyde Amendment, was a young Chicana and single mother living in Texas in the 1970s. With a scholarship and six months away from obtaining her teaching credentials, Rosie realized she was pregnant. Unable to afford a safe abortion, as the amendment barred federal funding, she later died in an illegal procedure.”