‘Xicana Warrior’ by Melanie Cervantes

“I pulled out the matrix for this print. It is the second print I ever designed during my class at Laney Community College over 10 years ago. It is also one of the only printmaking classes I have ever taken. Many people don’t realize I did not receive training in art school. I have learned everything I know through my mentors and through my DIY inclination.”

Xicana Warrior (Bronze)
by Melanie Cervantes
8.5 x 11
2-color, Handmade Screen Print
White Bristol Paper, archival
Printed in San Leandro



I grew up with an ideal of beauty that didn’t suit a fuzzy little Xicana like me. It’s taken time to love my super fuzzy arms, big nose and awkward tooth. I’ve grown into myself and learned that if I love the things that people don’t think are beautiful, I could not be hurt by the cruel things people can say about them.

I remind myself:
“Hairy arms” does not mean ugly.
“Crooked tooth” does not mean ugly.
“Big nose” does not mean ugly.

I radiate beauty just as I am.
You radiate beauty just as you are.

It’s hard to love the features you’re the most insecure about. The insecurity might not ever go away, but if you ever need a reminder that your features, whatever they may be, are beautiful just hmu.

This especially goes out to my fellow Xicanas that got made fun of in elementary school and onward for their body hair.

“I don’t think I have rebelled against Latina culture. I have rebelled against those who try to make me warm tortillas for my brothers when they can warm them for themselves, I have rebelled against a patriarchal religion. I rebel against small mindedness in all ways and in every situation but those things are not an intrinsic part of Latina culture and I will fight tooth and nail against anyone who tries to make me feel like I’m less Xicana for not embracing the small-mindedness.” - Alice Bag, interview on 1/23/12