Monday, April 23, 2018

CARA Exhibit and Alicia Gaspar de Alba

This week, through our reading and from the guest lecture by Alicia Gaspar de Alba, we learned about the CARA exhibition and both its significance and its troubles. This exhibition was the first of its kind as it was a traveling exhibition that showecased the works of over 100 Chicano/a artists and was the first exhibition of its kind to get press from the mainstream media. The purpose of this exhibit was to be as inclusive as possible and show the works from Chicano/a artists of all walks of life. This exhibition, although its aim was to promote inclusivity and give a voice to all chicanos/as, it was actually extremely unequal and biased in its presentation. Alicia Gaspar de Alba talks about this in her chapter and also in the guest lecture she gave to class. Chicana artists were severely underrepresented in this exhibit, with a hundred more Chicano artists being shown than Chicana artists. Not only were women completely underrepresented in this exhibit, but the manner in which the women that were shown were displayed also further feeds into the patriarchal ideas of the Chicano movement. The room in which the Chicana artists were displayed was sandwiched between two other exhibits, essentially continuing the narrative that the women are tied to the past and future of the movement because of their biological purposes in society. It seems that even in movements in which there is a lot of discourse about letting everyone have a voice and overturning oppression and discrimination that there needs to be a little of that applied introspectively to ensure that this political movement is inclusive and serves the whole community, not just the dominant group.
    I was very intrigued by Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s talk, she brought up a lot interesting questions that I think a lot of people do not really consider. One thing I thought was interesting was when she was asking the class if we consider ourselves to be “feminist” or people who are “queer advocates.” One of the guys in the class, I’m not sure of his name, but he mentioned that he does consider himself a feminist but doesn’t feel comfortable saying that because he said that he didn’t believe that it was a space that was created for him. I think this is really interesting to hear a guy admit this and I think a lot of men probably feel the same way. While yes, I think as a movement maybe it seems like it does belong to women, I think we need men to be advocates of the feminist movement because if we don’t have men as advocates, women will be running into the same struggles for equality again and again.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

CARA’s Politics of Representation- Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Professor Alicia Gaspar de Alba identified both in Chapter 3 and in her class lecture her critique of the representation of women in the CARA exhibit. I find her critique important and essential in understanding feminism and reclaiming the past in order to redefine the future. I believe her work and lecture not only do that but it challenges people to do so as well as she critiques an important historical exhibit. Her critique of CARA served to highlight the need to change the “ranking oppression” in which women who are illustrated in are are focused and identified as having roles of the wife, mother, and but not limited to “la fulana.” I believe her work is important in highlighting the need to have Chicana artist in order to move away from these ongoing prevalent gender issues that we have seen throughout history, but nonetheless continue to see and reproduce. Gaspar de Alba highlights how there are 100 more Chicano artist in this exhibition that Chicana artist. These numbers already prove to be complicated because as she states, “of fifty-four mural images projected, only seven were done exclusively by women or women’s collective.” Here Gaspar de Alba continues to describe the discrepancies with gender issues in the CARA Exhibition.Professor Gaspar de Alba discussion about politics of identity and identity politics really sparked my interest and ideas. When professor Gaspar de Alba asked how many of us were Feminist. I thought this occurrence in class was as her work strong and reflective. When thinking about my own politics of identity, which professor Gaspar de Alba explained is your own personal identities that include identity politics, race and that of myself I thinking of all this in understanding my own politics of identity I placed myself in an awkward situation. I say this because I have always thought of myself as a feminist in one way or another. Yet, I was uncomfortable because as a Mexican woman I reflected how much I have done for my community of women and how much I have shared my education with the machista male figures in my life. Overall, I enjoyed both the reading and her lecture because I was able to reflect on my politics of identity and encouraged me to work on how I want to identify and share the knowledge I gain about gendered issues not always talked about.

CARA Politics of Representation

In the writing, Alicia Gaspar de Alba addresses the faulty representation of Chicana artists at the CARA exhibition, tracing this irresponsible representation of Chicana artists to the rampant machismo of the Chicano movement of the 60s and 70s. This patriarchy led to the subjugation of women in the movement, confining them into distinct categories that they were supposed to fall into: domesticated and motherly, whoreish, or militant chingona.They also equated

She then looks at the ways that the CARA exhibition has done the Chicana feminists artists wrong. Besides the fact that the amount of womxn artists in the exhibition was minuscule, women's art was separated into its own room meaning that their art is seen as separate from mainstream Chicano politics. This spatial segregation from the rest of the exhibit also is strategically placed in between the "Redefining American Art" and "Reclaiming the past" sending a subliminal message of women's reproduction as being between the past and present.

She then goes on to analyze the artwork of the Chicanas in the exhibition and notices the way that the artists use the iconography of La Virgen, La Llorana, and La Malinche and how these three folk figures factor into their identities as Chicanas.

This critique of Chicana art representation in CARA is important because it identifies the issues faced by Chicana artists in exhibitions and galleries. It's interesting to note that recently, the Hammer museum held an entire exhibition and gallery to Latina art called Latinas Out Loud. The discourse and Latina/Chicana art representation has been carried far enough that Latinas/Chicanas are being dedicated their own art shows in the present day.

CARA; Politics of Representation

Professor Gaspar de Alba breaks down the sexual politics of representation in the Chicano Art Movement by analyzing the CARA exhibition. The CARA exhibition was the first of its kind; it was the first exhibit to focus on Chicano/a artist through the comparison of the historical and present struggle of Chicanos living in the U.S. The purpose of the exhibition was to break through the oppression; ironically, there were extreme discrepancies between feminist and Chicano identity politics. This exhibit, like the Chicano Movement itself, shows that although the cause was to fight for equality and representation, women’s rights were ignored although multiple women have supported and stood in the front line of this struggle.
Throughout this course, we have continuously focused on how women’s artwork is devalued. I was particularly impacted when Professor Gaspar de Alba mentioned that Chicanas work was ignored because there was a preconceived notion that they would only make pieces central to pregnancies, homes, woman’s work or “pretty pictures.” This critique reminds me of the saying, “a picture means a thousand words,” because there are so many things that can be expressed through womanhood, there’s pain, worries or happiness that are apparently not applicable to men but can be a source of healing for other women. I find this incredibly ignorant, especially coming from a man’s perspective, yet I also understand that this doesn’t pertain to their identity, but that doesn’t mean that they should ignore the concerns raised by women. There’s a lot of machismo that goes into these actions, especially when thinking about an art exhibition that required strategic planning. Whether it was consciously or unconsciously done, it shows that men devalue women’s work not just in the workforce or at home, it also happens when we stand together to fight for our rights.

CARA's Politics of Representation- Alicia Gaspar de Alba


Alicia Gaspar de Alba discussion of representation of women in CARA in the book CARA’s Politics of Representation was interesting to me when she discusses some of the underlying messages created by the placement of the “Feminist visions” exhibit and the type of art displayed by women and of women. Gaspar de Alba describes how the placement of the “Feminist Visions” exhibit between “Reclaiming the Past” exhibit and the “Redefining American” exhibit perpetuates the idea that women are cultural and biological links between the past and the present. This is similar to the way she describes that women during the Mexican revolution were seen as baby making machines to produce the future men. The constant view of women as having a sole purpose of being mothers is reinforced by the placement of the exhibits. It makes me wonder if this was done purposefully. In addition to this, it is so frustrating that most of the art in public spaces like at CARA are by men because they tend to include problematic reinforcements of the roles of women as well. Women are constantly being objectified and being illustrated as whore or being glorified as wives and mothers. Why are women not glorified while playing other roles outside of motherhood? In the chapter discussed, Gaspar de Alba also correlates the inequality between Chicanos and Chicanas to a quote in the novel Animal Farm, “some animals are more equal than others.” I interpreted this as like Chicanos in the Chicano movement are more equal to the dominant race because they are the dominant sex in a patriarchal society. This gives Chicanos more power in the movement and puts the importance of Chicana’s rights below the men’s. I also thought this was interesting because it could be applied to the idea of how 2nd wave feminism which was dominated by white women, the elite race, did not take into consideration the inequalities that women of color are subject to. Here, white feminists are the animals that are more equal. Both correlations to the Animal Farm quote exhibit how women of color are really at the bottom of the totem pole with regards to inequality.

CARA's Politics of Representation

347002In the article, Professor Gaspar de Alba discusses and critics the CARA exhibition's lack of inclusivity of Chicana artists. Gaspar de Alba explains the gender disparity and problematic female representation exhibited at CARA. For instance, she illustrates that many of the females portrayed by Chicanos are either depicted as mothers or as mistresses which objectify Chicana women to a constrain role or identity. This is interesting because I believe these expectations are still practiced in the Chicanx community. Unfortunately, women are seen as inferior due to the patriarchy and machismo embedded in society. Gaspar de Alba also discusses in lecture how CARA was created to preserve, represent, and maintain the Chicano/a experience. She specifically stated that it was "art for the people" which meant it was supposed to represent everyone in the most inclusive way possible. However, that was not the case since it represented only a few Chicana artists paintings and the rest were demeaning and hypersexualized Chicana women. This is upsetting since I believe that most male artist do depict women as objects and stereotype them either as mothers or whores. Chicana artists are historically underrepresented and their art work is always viewed lesser to the Chicano artists due to hegemony. However, many Chicana artists depict the reality of the Chicana experience and criticize and question the heterosexist Chicano narrative. Moreover, Professor Gaspar de Alba defines and distinguishes the difference between  politics of identity and identity of politics. She emphasizes how the politics of identity are the way an individual defines themselves. She then raised a very interesting question on who identifies as "Feminist" and unsurprisingly mostly women raised their hand and men did not. She then explains that many people misinterpret the meaning of feminism. It is stereotyped to be a "hating men" movement, when that is not the case.  Gaspar de Alba goes into depth explaining how a man can also identify as a feminist if he has shares the same beliefs as feminists. Similar, to being a queer ally any individual may be a feminist ally. It is not surprising to me that many people misinterpret the feminism movement because historically feminism was centered on the upper-middle class white women. Therefore, women of color and queer women did not relate to the initial movement and were in fact marginalized by the movement. Interestingly, many Chicana artists in CARA did not identify themselves as feminist because they believed it was not constructed for them. However, throughout the years feminism has taken account of the intersectionality of women of color and become more inclusive. Therefore, it is interesting to understand that many of these terms have been dismantled and reconstructed by people of color to fit into a more inclusive identity.

Alicia Gaspar de Alba: Cultural Politics and the CARA Exhibition

        In Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s essay on cultural politics and the CARA exhibition, I thought it was very interesting to read about how there was this expectation for women and how this expectation carried along with women and literally held them back from doing anything that was out of their designed roles, which were to be wives and mothers. Our guest lecturer explained how women were expected to be the support when they were never supported themselves. She also mentioned that there is a problem with the narrative which is completely true. Classifying women as inferior is no way to establish an equality within societies. During class, we also discussed how there are more pieces by male artists in the exhibition than by female artists, and we see this carry out in the broader scope of art in general. I am not really familiar with art and the only few names that I do find familiar with any artists, are male. I don't know if this plays out in the fact that there is a lack of recognition for female artists or that I just haven't been introduced to female artists or probably both, but it's frustrating to read that women are creating various forms of art and there continues to be a lack of recognition due to gender. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

CARA's Politics of Representation

The CARA exhibition was an art exhibition that focused on Chicano and Chicana artist’s work in an effort to highlight their culture and its importance. However, an in depth view of the exhibit done by Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s called into question whether the exhibit was really inclusive at all. With a closer look it was obvious that not only were there more male artists featured than female artists but that the male artists sometimes outnumbered the female artists 26/1 in extreme cases. 

            As professor Alicia Gaspar de Alba pointed out, it is not that there is a lack of female artists to choose from but that female artists have been widely underrepresented throughout history even within the Chicanx community, and are sometimes still seen as lesser than to males. In the chapter, Judith Baca is cited for standing at the front lines of the feminist artist movement and writing books that challenged the social norms for women such as climbing scaffolding and painting large murals, both tasks that were seen as male excusive roles. Chicana artists have been fighting for their space in the art world since its conception and are just recently starting to gain recognition for their talent and determination. It is important that writings such as this, done by Professor Gaspar de Alba, are recognized so that more awareness can be brought to these issues both in the art community, and the Chicano community. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Guest Speaker: Prof. Alicia Gaspar de Alba

It was really great and enlightening to hear Prof. Gaspar de Alba speak about CARA exhibition. Prof. Gaspar de Alba was discussing the art displayed in the exhibition and the use of Chicano art as a political statement. She mentioned that we as Chicano’s are not taught our history by our own people, and a way that we empower our communities is by teaching them about their own history, and a way that we do that is through art. Prof. Gaspar de Alba also mentioned politics of identity and raised the question of what identities we subscribe to. She asked the class, particularly the men, if they were “feminist”, and unsurprisingly not many raised their hands. This doesn’t surprise me because, although one student explained why he didn’t subscribe to that identity, and as Prof. Gaspar de Alba explained, many men or people in general misunderstand what feminism is and assume that it’s a group that “hates men”, which is entirely inaccurate. I do consider myself a “Chicana Feminist” as well as “Queer Ally” amongst other things, but it’s not necessarily something that I advertise unless some asks has questions or makes offensive remarks. I do support ideologies associated with feminism and support and defend my queer friends and family. 

Mita Cuaron: East LA High School Walkouts Event - (Extra Credit)

Mita Cuaron, shared her experience as a walkout participant in the 1968 East Los Angeles High School Walkouts by detailing her feelings and emotions throughout the movement. She disclosed that it always felt like a mini earthquake that was vibrating inside her body.  As a student at Garfield High School during the Walkouts, Mita was beaten, arrested and expelled for her role. She was dragged down the stairs by police officers, had a cocktail thrown at her and was dehumanized at her jail cell by being isolated by her peers and acquaintances.She was harassed and dehumanized by her teachers and was told by her history teacher that she deprived her classmates from getting an education due to the interruption the riots caused. Her house served as the main location were organizers met and planned the walkouts. Mita was a key figure in organizing the walk outs and orchestrated many meetings. What shocked me the most was when she mentioned the untold story about how most of the kids that participated in the walk outs were unable to go back to their house. She stated that parents were angry at their kids because they were questioning authority figures such as teachers and police officers.  I was also surprised that she said the church was even against them and it was upsetting that a lot of places and people did not support them.  Mita commended that the legacy of the Walkouts needs to continue and that she was excited that UCLA is offering a course dedicated on the  East Los Angeles High School Walkouts. She added that not everyone is getting and equal education and it is important to know the problems that exist in our communities to change the future, because the struggle still continues. She ended with thanking everyone in challenging the system and being in a higher educational institution.

CARA's Politics of Representation

In this paper, Gaspar de Alba goes over Chicano/Chicana pieces exhibited at the CARA exhibition. This exhibition was led by Chicano/Chicana members and displays many noteworthy pieces. The biggest issues that the author had with the exhibition was the gender disparities when it came to art categories. For example, the feminist art section had only Chicana artists, whereas the urban art section featured mainly Chicanos. This divide can have a lot of unspoken connotations, such that only Chicanas can be feminists or that Chicana art is only valued in a certain context. Also, many of the Chicano pieces featured women whose sexuality was the only part of their identity.

In combination with the Gaspar de Alba's lecture, I was mostly fascinated by the comment that Chicana's were not making art "for art's sake" but as part of a political frame. Even though this was revolutionary at the time, it made me wonder if things are still the same today? Obviously, we should all be very lucky that Chicano/Chicana artists give us this easily accessible insight into their injustices, as it cures us of our ignorance. However, shouldn't Chicanas be able to make art for art's sake the same way that white artists do? I don't know much about art or Chicano/Chicana history, so I wasn't sure how much space the art world makes for Chicana artists. I wondered if they have the freedom to just make art without a political framework, or if they are only being valued and accepted for the knowledge they can share with us. In this exhibit especially, it seemed like most pieces were political or historical.

CARA's Politics of Representation

This CARA exhibition was said to be truly inclusive of Chicana Artists, but Gaspar de Alba states that it was not because there were so many more Chicano male artists presented and only a few of works by Chicanas. But because some of there works were included, it was suddenly a great representation of Chicanas and their artwork. Also, the CARA exhibition did not collect the artwork of extremely important group of las Mujeres Muralistas who pushed boundaries and empowered other Chicanas. Which got Gaspar de Alba wondering what the position of this exhibition truly was.
I found it interesting how reviews of the exhibitions stated that this exhibition was inclusive, and such a great accomplishment by Chicanas when in reality it was reiterating the dominant-submissive Chicano and Chicana narrative.

What also struck out to me were the different types of feminisms that Gaspar De Alba discusses and how she asked in class who was a feminist and not many students raised their hand. Personally, when I think of feminism I do agree with their views, but I also know that intersectionality is not truly considered when thinking of feminism as a whole. This relates to the "White feminism" and "Third World Feminism" that she discusses in her chapter. For example, Chicanas are not only oppressed and constrained by their two roles, to live for their men and for their families, but also because of their skin color. Sexism and racism intertwine. This exhibition may not have truly considered the oppression of Chicanas within their own communities. It frustrates me because this exhibition is viewed to be so great, but the oppressions are continued to be reiterated.

CARA's Politics of Representation

Cesar Martinez's La Fulana

Through reading Professor Gaspar de Alba's chapter, Out of The House, the Halo, and the Whore's Mask: The Mirror of Chicanismo, the two roles women are often categorized as struck me. In other Chicano Studies classes, I have learned about Adelitas during the Mexican Revolution, women who fought with the men, cared for them, fed them, and supported them. Adelitas are stereotypically seen as supporters and loyal but never given full credit for their work. In this description, I recalled the work of the Hijas de Cuauhtemoc during the Chicano Movement at CSU Long Beach, started by Anna Nieto-Gomez. Professor Gaspar de Alba briefly mentions Anna Nieto-Gomez, saying that she was attacked by men during the Chicano Movement, saying she is anti-Chicano for her feminist's beliefs. In this, I found how easy it is to go from being categorized as an Adelita to a Malinche (a traitor). Through the limited categorization of Chicana women, I found that in Chicano art women are still mainly only portrayed in these ways. For example, the artist who created La Fulana, Cesar Martinez casts this "other woman" as a Malinche, a traitor for being a mans lover. Further, it supports the virgin/whore binary that Latina women are typically represented as. As Professor Gaspar de Alba comments, this artwork is one of the lasts that someone sees as they exit the exhibit, furthering the stereotypes Latina and Chicana women face. On the other hand, Adelitas are also portrayed in a sexual manner that also furthers the stereotype of the overly sexual Latina. Popular images of La Adelita have circulated to create an image of the perfect supportive Chicana, ready to fight for la causa, while also being highly sexualized. Although these stereotypes are not new, what is surprising is how stereotypes like these remained present in the CARA's exhibit, with curators mainly being white people who dictate the art used and the order in which it's presented, essentially dictating the story they wish to tell with this exhibit.

Alicia Gaspar De Alba: CARA's Politics of Representation






When reading Chicanx articles, the idea that always struck me the most is that the Chicano Movement was originally intended for men. It's surprising and disappointing realizing that this is how the Movimiento originated, but how could this possible if, we as a community, suffer through the same struggles? With this said, I admire Professor Alicia Gaspar de Alba for having the enough courage , like many Chicanas, to go against the current and criticizes the male-dominant representation within the Art Industry. What I found the most shocking is the fact that women are underrepresented within the Chicano Movement Art exhibitions, but when their art pieces are shown, their meaning change somehow. I found it extremely appalling due to the idea that men always want to suppress women into the colonial roles that have been given to us. Regardless if we are both brown and a minority within an oppressive country. De Alba mentions that, "el Movimiento, Chicanas were granted one of two patriarchally defined identities...'Adelitas or Malinches'..." (126). Once again, this indicates how these names have been denoted as a "traitor" or a "whore" are used to stigmatize women. This brings us back to the book Chicano Sexuality and Gender, where the refiguring of cultural symbolic icons are necessary to deconstruct negativity and oppressive meanings that have been given to them as time goes by. With this said, the image that Professor De Alba included within her article, Libertad by Ester Hernandez, provides a clear message that Chicanos are not immigrants, nor were their ancestors, since they were here long before the colonizers discovered the North Continent (143). To me, this image is very empowering because it makes me think of how I have been fighting assimilation ever since my father brought us to the United States. Therefore, I can truly relate to Hernandez's image of Libertad because it also offers us resistance towards patriarchal domination. In a like manner, I would also like to appreciate the successful changes made to cultural symbols that now provide a sense of resistance, rather than a strong dehumanizing image towards women.

In relation to what we covered during the guest-lecture, when Professor De Alba asked the class who, from the mens, identified as feminist? The shocking fact that, well no one raised their hands, reminded me of my own father. Although I love my father and I'm grateful to have him still with me, I still disagree in many of his opinions towards feminism. As a very traditional person, he has very strong views towards women that "rebel" against the social roles they were meant to follow. When he expresses his machismo, hurts my mother and I. It sucks that my father is like this and he thinks that being a feminist as a male, is being "vulnerable". But, what can I do when society has made us believe that one is better than the other?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Alicia Gaspar de Alba: CARA

First off, I would like to emphasize what a great article by Alicia Gaspar de Alba. Professor Gaspar de Alba really made a complicated subject easy to understand, especially for someone like me who doesn’t have a background of Chicano or Art studies. Something that popped out to me in this article was when she talked about feminism (specifically, pg. 123-126), and I will tie it in to what we discussed in class. The sad part is that even when ‘representing’ Chicanos, Chicanas were still outnumbered by men, which is a clear indicator of sexism. Chicanas have to deal with being a minority, and a minority within a minority, that is, being women, plus other issues. 

The issue I have with the various definitions people apply to the word ‘feminism.’ Feminism refers to the belief of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Under feminism, there are other components that fall under that umbrella, which are used to emphasize the needs of certain groups of people or the problems they are currently facing, for example, black lives matter, the MeToo movement, LGBTQ+ movements, etc.  For me, it is a bit counterproductive to refer to “white feminism” as an actual branch of feminism, since it isn’t used as a voice for those who need it most. It is not real feminism. We need to be aware of intersectionality.

In class, a student mentioned that he doesn’t identify as feminist because he doesn’t feel it is “his space” or feel like he is “intruding” in something that doesn’t belong to him, and although I can appreciate this viewpoint as a symbol of respect, I think he is misinformed. Men hold authority and power in society more than women, their voice is needed to make a difference. Like Professor Gaspar de Alba stated in class, we can be LGBTQ+ allies, and when allies speak out, it makes a difference. You don’t have to ‘intrude’ to speak out about these issues. When a bystander stares and watches something bad happen, and doesn’t do anything about it, doesn’t that make him guilty too?

Alicia Gaspar de Alba's CARA essay

Something that struck me from the Alicia Gaspar de Alba's essay was the idea that the grouping and curation of artworks in an exhibition is just as important, if not more so, than the original intent of the artist. This was evident in the artist exhibition CARA: Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, where although individually, the artworks chosen to display could be seen as strongly feminist, when grouped together as they were, portrayed Chicanas in a patriarchal light.

This notion was all the more striking because, just months previously, I had seen Judith Baca's Las Tres Marias shown at the Hammer Museum as part of their Radical Women exhibition. When I saw it displayed there, I interpreted it as challenging perceptions of what a Chicana woman should and could be. I was surprised, then, to see just how much the placement of the piece at the CARA exhibition distorted and reduced it to a placement of women between two equally male-driven views of the Chicana.

I also wanted to address something we discussed in class, which was why none of the male-identified students in our class wanted to identify as feminists and very few as queer allies. Although I appreciated one student's viewpoint of being aware enough to not want to co-opt a space, I'd argue that not publicly voicing your support for a group does more to advance the opposing viewpoint than your silence does to help the one you're quietly for. Furthermore, another student mentioned a reason for not wanting to identify as feminist was because he felt a sort of cognitive dissonance between the ideals of feminism and his consumption of mainstream music and culture. This is something I've struggled with as well, but as an old professor told me, "masticalo como chicle"--that is, you can chew music and pop culture like gum, without fully ingesting it, staying aware and critical of the structures that have built such a culture. Thoughts?

Monday, April 16, 2018

"Chicana Sexuality and Gender" Debra J. Blake

In Chicana Sexuality and Gender by Debra J. Blake argues that Chicana artists, authors, and oral historians play a critical way in the way marginalized narratives and representations of Chicanas can be (re)remembered and empowered. Through an alternative, re-imagining process of iconic figures and symbols to better depict their subjectivities, Chicanas have integrated a feminist and non-heteronormative lens to promote a counter-culture and counter-memory of Chicana hxtory and representation that has been tainted by the effects of colonization. Throughout the novel, Blake offers various instances where queer Chicana feminist scholars and artists have re-imagined icons such as Coyolxauhqui, La Virgen de Guadalupe, La Lorona, and La Malinche to reveal how cultural productions created by feminist muxeres of color create a rupture in the dominant discourse and heightens a sense of belonging with this reconfiguration of Chicana feminism struggle and survival. 
What I find particularly empowering and beautiful about this book is the ability for muxeres of color to continue to exist and resist systems of oppression by finding creative ways to liberate themselves from the violence and limitations placed upon themselves. Post-coloniality reveals how the bodies and sexuality of muxeres has become taboo. It is ingrained in us that we are objects of desire, rather than those who do desire. However, to re-imagine and reconfigure figures utilized to police our bodies such as La Virgen, artists such as Professor Lopez and writers such as Glora Anzaldúa reveal how it is possible to decolonize from this way of thinking by reclaiming the memory and narrative of these ingrained subjectivities to better represent Ch/Xicanas' sense of self and culture to empower the community.

Debra Blake's Chicana Sexuality and Gender


One of the most iconic cultural symbol is La Virgen de Guadalupa. From the oral histories of the nine women that Blake interviewed, it is perceived that everyday Mexican American women have a special resonance towards Guadalupa. She was a female divine, their central religious belief. Contrary to these women, Chicana writers and artists picture Guadalupe as only one of the indigenous goddesses. I completely agree with Blake’s statement that says, “the icon of La Virgen de Guadalupe is unstable not only in its evocative potential but in its symbolic meaning for women of Mexican origin or ancestry” (114). To Chicana and U.S. Mexicanas, Guadalupa is a symbol of virtue and virginity, one with independence and reform movements. However, it also represents piety and a Catholicism standard that is expected in all women. This uncertainty leads to alternative meanings that ultimately produces both positive and negative ramifications. For example, in Rivera Reyes’ interview, she was ashamed of the defloration narrative her divorced husband blamed her of. Due to the idealized purity and religious confinement seen in Guadalupe, Reyes’ accused absence of virginity lead to physical violence from her husband, and even often questioned her self-worth. Moreover, Alma Lopez’s piece on “Our Lady” depicts the real lives of Chicanas and refigures Guadalupe as being strong. However, due to the public’s godlike aspect on Guadalupa, many were offended by her “nude” representation, which was in fact unnecessary.