Friday, April 20, 2018

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?

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