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Summer of Feminista: I know "OF" feminism

Written by Noemi Martinez of

Heaven forbid we ever called ourselves feminist, Chicana or acted “smart” growing up. My dad who came to the US during the latter part of the bracero movement said in his rancho, children didn't go past the education their parents received. This meant he only went up until the third grade. Then he tells me, his hermanos would find him reading books under a tree with the goats long gone. That little gem of desire to learn and read was passed along to me. The difference was I was a girl, of course.

My mom was 36 when she had my younger brother. She was a sociology student at a community college in Chicago, with five children and one of the way. Throw them in as a Pentecostal way of thinking couple and a father insisting his wife bear him a male, you get a 36 year old six month pregnant woman having a heart attack. She didn't' go back to school.

Fast forward to me being a teenager and dropping out of high school-because books turned us women evil (indirect quote-it was something like, te vas a volver loca como tu mama).

I know "OF" feminism.

I came to know of feminism through the back door, via the self-education route of zines and soaking up book reviews and top ten books from my favorite grrrl zinesters. I get a kick out of comments on blogs where folks complain that either there's too many women of color in their women studies classes or the same quotes of Audre and Gloria and hooks are rehashed over and over. Because that IS ALL I know. And I do not have a problem with that.

I had enough indoctrination of dead while males in the required literature courses at the local UT campus I went to eons ago. No one mentioned Gloria Anzaldua even though she walked the same campus and probably felt the same stifling oppressive valley heat that I did. The Lorde wasn't even on my radar, sacrilegious indeed.

And it's been good like this, a self-proclaimed mujerista, distinct and aparte from feminism like Chicana is to Latina. In some circles, a feminist sure, in other's don't even.

Summer of Feminista is a project where Latinas are sharing what feminism means to them. Positive. Negative. Academic statements. Personal stories. Learn more or how you can join the Summer of Feminista. This is a project of Viva la Feminista. Link and quote, but do not repost without written permission.


Anonymous said…
i love this post because i also learned feminism from zines and i think the thing i liked so much about zines was the love for girls, fat girls, queer girls, crazy girls-- the girl i was, it made me feel good and validated as a young woman growing up :)

Anonymous said…
I didn't have zines growing up - but just the idea that you could make something yourself and distribute it (the first time I saw a zine was a poetry chapbook called "Duh" by a lonely punk rock boy) was an amazing realization to have. Great to see you here Noemi! I always love your perspective and reading what you write - especially as an urban east coast person - and see the different ways that words travel. Keep up the good work! xo

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