As a woman of color, I feel it is my duty to introduce Chicana Feminism for the archive project. Hi, my name is Tatiana but I go by Tati most of the time. I’m a transfer student from Nassau Community College with an Associate degree in Science, Criminal Justice being my major. Since transferring to John Jay College, I’ve changed my major to Humanities & Justice, hoping to attend law school in the future. I’m Colombian-American with a strong connection to my Colombian heritage. I can say I’m beyond blessed to be exposed to both cultures: American and Colombian. And my mother made sure I was exposed to my Colombian heritage by sending me off every summer to Colombia.
As a Latina there is nothing more important than family and culture. I’m proud to be a Hispanic living in New York where I can enjoy two languages and cultures. What can be better than that? As a Gender Studies student, I have to say being exposed to issues and oppressions that many people face in our society has been an eye opener.
In the midst of fighting discrimination, Mexican-Americans embarked on a nationalist movement in the 1960s.
During this time, Mexican Americans communities throughout the United States wanted civil rights and equal opportunities, sharing the same ideology as the political Black power movement. Mexican-Americans also known as Chicanos/Xicanos united in their struggles from living in poverty to being discriminated in the workforce for a movement to get their voices heard in society.
Chicanas/Xicanas, Mexican-American women, were active within the Chicano Movement. Chicanas/Xicanas challenged the whole movement by raising their voices to the sexism and male domination they were experiencing. From that moment, many of the Chicanas/Xicanas began to see and experience the backlash of being a woman in a male dominated movement. Apart of gaining social and political equality for their community and their own people, Chicanas/Xicanas worked together as their own movement to fight “long-standing stereotypes of Mexican-American women.” In Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings, Alma M. Garcia (1997) informs us that Chicana/Xicana feminism existed for many years before any movement was created: “Chicana feminist inherited a historical tradition of political activism dating back to the immigrant generation of Mexican women, who together with their families, crossed the border into the United States at the turn of the century.” Mexican–American women played a significant role in their families and communities, they were the back bone of that would shape future Latinx women.
The Chicana/Xicana feminist movement, like other movements wanted to fight not only sociopolitical inequality like their counterparts, Chicanas/Xicanas also wanted to diminish gender oppression. Not only did Chicanas/Xicanas have to fight in a society where Anglo- white men were in power, they had to fight in their own culture, to prove they were an asset in a male dominated movement: “Chicana feminist shared the task of defining their feminist ideology and movement with other feminists, specifically other women of color (Garcia 4).” Women of color were seen as inferior to a white society, including to white feminists, and also face the “burden” of being a female seen as a helpless creature in a society of men.
In efforts for gaining full equality for women, Chicanas/Xicanas challenged traditional gender roles, which transformed them into an oppositional group in relation to their counterparts. Chicana/Xicana feminists frame their own oppressions based on their experiences of being women of color in a separate spectrum of the whole feminist movement that was occurring in the United States because many white feminist were blind to the racism that many women of color were facing in the country.
Since the evolution of the Chicana/Xicana movement, many feminists documented their experiences as Mexican-American women growing up in a polluted society: “They are testimony that some Chicanas during the movement years did not simply decry their victimization, but more importantly displayed their agency in combating injustice (Garcia 9).” WOW! Basic historical writings shaped what we today have as Latina women. To have recorded of all the injustices women of color faced inspires many women to fight for their ancestors and womanhood. Like Mercedez Holtry mentioned in the video, "my blood is beautiful," my own interpretation of feminism is that OUR blood is beautiful.
Garcia, A. (1997). Chicana Feminist Thought: The basic historical writings. New York: Routledge.