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.

Why I need Chicana feminism

Because I was taught to stay away from certain styles because they were too “mexican”. With phrases like “the bigger the hoop, the bigger the hole” when I loved wearing big earrings. Being told that red hair against my brown skin looked “ghetto” instead of fierce and bold. Wearing stylish flannels like the pretty pastel haired girls on tumblr and being told I look like a “chola”. Working hard to get rid of my slang because society taught me that it was “unflattering”. That bright red lips were too much. That my natural intense brows are now a makeup “fad”. When in reality all this shit was made up by people that want to put us down for claiming our own identity. 

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.

Latina Girls Deserve More

Jesus Christ.
I’m going to rant for a hot second.
We’re either considered too black, too Latina, or too white.
If you’re mixed, you’ll never be considered a part of either culture.
Lighter skinned babies are idolized, but when they grow up, they’re no longer Hispanic enough.
Afro Latinas are too dark for many to consider Hispanic but not often considered a part of the black community.
LBTP+ Latinas are rarely recognized in LGBT+ groups and organizations.
Even light skinned Latinas are ignored by white feminists.
The “chola” style is ridiculed and considered “ghetto”, but fashionable on white girls.
Thick eyebrows on Latina girls are made fun of but on whites it’s yet another fashion statement.
The most famous and incredibly talented Latina artist is only noted for her eyebrows and not her art or story.
Speaking with a heavy accent is ridiculed.
Not speaking Spanish is ridiculed.
Deportation jokes, especially towards Mexicans, are considered ok by society.
Indigenous descent isn’t considered “native” to white standards.

I have so much more I am so angry.

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.


You Bring Out the Mexican in Me

by Sandra Cisneros

You bring out the Mexican in me.
The hunkered thick dark spiral.
The core of a heart howl.
The bitter bile.
The tequila lágrimas on Saturday all
through next weekend Sunday.
You are the one I’d let go the other loves for,
surrender my one-woman house.
Allow you red wine in bed,
even with my vintage lace linens.
Maybe. Maybe.

For You.

You bring out the Dolores del Rio in me.
The Mexican spitfire in me.
The raw navajas, glint and passion in me.
The raise Caine and dance with the rooster-footed devil in me.
The spangled sequin in me.
The eagle and serpent in me.
The mariachi trumpets of the blood in me.
The Aztec love of war in me.
The fierce obsidian of the tongue in me.
The berrinchuda, bien-cabrona in me.
The Pandora’s curiosity in me.
The pre-Columbian death and destruction in me.
The rainforest disaster, nuclear threat in me.
The fear of fascists in me.
Yes, you do. Yes, you do.

You bring out the colonizer in me.
The holocaust of desire in me.
The Mexico City ’85 earthquake in me.
The Popocatepetl Ixtaccíhuatl in me.
The tidal wave of recession in me.
The Agustín Lara hopeless romantic in me.
The barbacoa taquitos on Sunday in me.
The cover the mirrors with cloth in me.

Sweet twin. My wicked other,
I am the memory that circles your bed nights,
that tugs you taut as moon tugs ocean.
I claim you all mine,
arrogant as Manifest Destiny.
I want to rattle and rent you in two.
I want to defile you and raise hell.
I want to pull out the kitchen knives,
dull and sharp, and whisk the air with crosses.
Me sacas lo mexicana en mi,
like it or not, honey.

You bring out the Uled-Nayl in me.
The stand-back-white-bitch in me.
The switchblade in the boot in me.
The Acapulco cliff diver in me.
The Flecha Roja mountain disaster in me.
The dengue fever in me.
The !alarma¡ murderess in me.
I could kill in the name of you and think
it worth it. Brandish a fork and terrorize rivals,
female and male, who loiter and look at you,
languid in your light. Oh,

I am evil. I am the filth goddess Tlazoltéotl.
I am the swallower of sins.
The lust goddess without guilt.
The delicious debauchery. You bring out
the primordial exquisiteness in me.
The nasty obsession in me.
The corporal and venial sin in me.
The original transgression in me.

Red ocher. Yellow ocher. Indigo. Cochineal.
Piñón. Copal. Sweetgrass. Myrhh.
All you saints, blessed and terrible,
Virgen de Guadalupe, diosa Coatlicue,
I invoke you.

Quiero ser tuya. Only yours. Only you.
Quiero amarte. Atarte. Amarrarte.
Love the way a Mexican woman loves. Let
me show you. Love the only way I know how.

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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On January 17th, 1938, Chicana feminist writer and activist Martha Cotera was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. Educated in Texas, Cortera began her career as a librarian in El Paso and quickly became involved with organizing in the Latino community, including the farmworkers movement. She was a pivotal figure in the Raza Unida Party that formed in Texas and she is one of the founders of the Texas Women’s Political Caucus. Cotera also wrote two books, Diosa y Hembra: The History and Heritage of Chicanas in the U.S and The Chicana Feminist, focusing on the history and role of women inside Chicano culture, including activism, and their contributions to and struggles within the US women’s movement of the 1970’s. 

For more on Cotera, check out this interview she gave to the University of Michigan about her life as a Chicana feminist on the frontlines on social justice movements.

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’

“… 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


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 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 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.