Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

25 June 2007

¡Sí, Se Puede!

From the defunct Babes and Books blog where a bunch of friends challenged each other to read twenty books in one summer:

I finished Sisterhood Interrupted Friday morning and Borderlands last night before I went to sleep. Both thumbs up books.

Sisterhood Interrupted was way better than I thought it would be. As someone who has 2 minor degrees in women’s studies, I’ve read a lot of feminist history, especially second wave history. That’s also due to my obsession with the 60s and early 70s. I really didn’t think I’d learn too much new in it and while the book is NOT a history book, I did learn some new tidbits. Seigel does an excellent job at framing the intragenerational fighting during the second wave (Betty Friedan-ists vs. radical feminists) and the third wave (post-feminists vs. third wavers) AND the intergenerational fighting between second and third wavers. I went way into this with Cinnamon and wish I had recorded it because now I know I can’t do it justice again, but essentially I believe this is Seigel’s love letter to feminism as well as a plead for all of us to come together and finish the revolution. In the introduction, she asks, “How do younger women reconcile the gap between the tremendous opportunities they’ve been given and the inequalities that persist?” And that is such a fabu question to ask. I’ve been asked that plenty of times by women my age who say that we have it so good here. I usually snap back that it’s just not good enough and then rattle off a litany of wrongs in this country.

Borderlands just blew me out of the water.

Anzaldua discusses her personal journey thru what she calls the Borderlands as a Chicana who lives in a racist world and was raised to survive and work in this racist world. Far more radical than I am, Anzaldua pushed me to reconsider my own beliefs and assumptions. She also challenges us of Latina/o heritage to reclaim as much of our heritage as possible.The book also contains her poetry which I have not read yet. She writes in three languages, Spanish, English, and Spanglish, which made it difficult for me to read the book. That on top of my inability to read poetry the way it should be read scares me to dive into her poetry at this point.

I remember during graduate school a discussion about Chicana feminism and saying that I didn’t think I was there yet. A Chicana in the room waved her hand and said, “Yes, you are! Come on over!” In reality, I wasn’t. But I do think I am. There are just a few things I need to get settled in my head first. Then again, the one question I know will be the hardest to resolve is the most important. How can I balance being Chicana (a politically aware Latina invested in her heritage) and a player within the current economic and social system? There just seems to be a bit of isolationism in recovering my heritage.

Thankfully next up is So Far From God by Ana Castillo. Maybe diving into some good Latina fiction will help me answer some questions. Also on my plate will be Strange Piece of Paradise for my book club.