indigenous mexicans

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. 

Juchitán is a colonial town that predates the Spanish conquest. Home to the indigenous culture of the Zapotec, a third gender known as muxe (MOO-shey) – said to derive from “mujer,” the word for “woman” in Spanish – has long flourished here. The muxe gender encompasses a range of identities that are between the male-female binary. While a muxe would have different labels to choose from in the U.S. – “trans woman,” “gay man,” “genderqueer” – “muxe” spans all identities between male and female here. The term is unique to the Zapotec.

Stemming from pre-Columbian societies that had “mixed-genders” outside of male and female, the muxes are analogous to other “two-spirit” identities in indigenous populations of North America. Muxes traditionally have the freedom to dress in women’s clothing, wear cosmetics and grow their hair long. They can be seen wearing the traditional Tehuana costume of the region, a two-part gown made up of a huipil – a shirt with colorful embroidery – and a long skirt that usually matches the top. Called muxes vestidas – “dressed muxes” – they participate in more traditional female gender roles, such as working as seamstresses, than do muxes pintadas – “painted muxes” – who dress in men’s clothes, but still pluck their eyebrows and wear cosmetics.

When asked why a third gender is accepted in Juchitán, the townspeople invariably point to “the matriarchy” of Oaxacan households – women handle the finances of the family, since they’re the ones who work as vendors in the marketplace, giving them more of an equal standing with men than elsewhere in the countryside. Many mothers would sooner force an unaccepting husband to leave the house than kick out a muxe child.

Location: Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico

Photographer: Shaul Schwarz

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Minoritized languages moodboard: Zapoteco

Zapotec languages are a group of closely-related indigenous Mesoamerican languages, spoken by the Zapotec people from Mexico. They live mainly in Oaxaca and its surrounding states: Puebla, Veracruz, and Guerrero.

bbc.com
Mexican Tarahumara woman wins 50km race wearing sandals - BBC News
The 22-year-old is from Mexico's Tarahumara indigenous community, known for being excellent runners.

María Lorena Ramírez defeated 500 other runners from 12 countries in the female category of the Ultra Trail Cerro Rojo in Puebla, in central Mexico.

She ran without any professional gear, and her pair of sandals was reportedly made from recycled tyre rubber.

The Tarahumara are famous for being excellent runners.

The race was held on 29 April, but only now has word about her victory spread.

If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.
—  The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
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Cultural Appropriation is a real, important, and harmful thing, but god damn if it’s not one of the most recklessly abused terms in the social justice lexicon.

Transcription under the cut for accessibility

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