Friday, April 20, 2018

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.

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