Summer of Feminista: My parents planted a seed

Written by Melissa

I had a hard time writing this blog. When I first signed up I thought it was easy because of course I consider myself a feminist. Yes, I have created my own form of feminism. Yes, I am a feminist. Yes, I am a Chicana feminista! Then, I got to actually sitting around to brainstorm what to write and my head was all over the place. I don’t know if I was a feminista when I was younger or if I was ever raised by feminist ideals or if it was not until my Introduction to Feminist Studies and Chicana Feminisms class. No se.

Here’s the conclusion I came up with: I think I had a seed planted in me as a young girl, but it didn’t actually emerge until I took feminist studies classes. Who is responsible for this seed? I’m pointing my finger at both of my parents and I’m glad that they did. I was always angry because something didn’t feel right and I knew it wasn’t fair, especially having to see my parent’s struggle so much because they are undocumented immigrants. There was always one thing my dad always said to me, “Que no se te olvide de dónde vienes.”  My response was always, “Ya se pa’, ya me dijo tantas veces.”

The second semester of my first year in college I was enrolled in Introduction to Feminist studies - we read Gloria Anzaldúa’s “Borderlands,” and I couldn’t believe it! I had finally come across something in the academic world that I could really relate to from personal experience. Anzaldúa’s readings really hit close to home and that is where I learned: “the personal is political.” My experience as a daughter of Mexican immigrants was not to be ignored. No longer did I wish I was white and upper middle class like the rest of my classmates. I finally found a calm inside of me that was proud of who I am and just because I do not have certain privileges, did not mean that I could not achieve just as much as my classmates.

This idea was further reaffirmed the following semester when I took a Chicana Feminisms course, and the professor was simply amazing. A Chicana, born in Texas to a working class family and an academic! Her lectures, and required readings only made me love being myself. After taking both of these classes I reaffirmed the feminist seed inside of me. 

Being exposed to the readings, ideology and the wonderful professors that I have encountered has really challenged a lot of my ideas on what it means to be a twenty year old Mexican American/Chicana (or as one of my mentors said, depending on how political I am that day). I’m also a feminist who is proud of who she is and proud of her upbringing and most of all her parents. I appreciate what they have done and for showing me that no matter what obstacle we face in life, as long as we understand who we are and where we come from, there is no obstacle. Gracias mami y papi.

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.