Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

03 September 2010

Summer of Feminista: Born Feminista or Made Feminista?


Written by Silvia Martínez, Founder of bilingual blog Mamá Latina Tips / Partner and Editor in Chief of Spanish blog Disneylandia Al Dí

I’m the only daughter in my family, the oldest granddaughter on my mom’s side, and the youngest granddaughter on my dad’s side. All my childhood I felt my family expected big things from me.

None of the women on my mom’s side of the family went to college after high school, they all had to start working when they were young; my grandfather said they would get married and didn’t need studies.

And still, they valued education so much that two of them became teachers later in life and my mom got her high school diploma after getting married and still plays with the idea of becoming a psychologist. I was the first woman in my family to get a university degree, the first to get a master’s degree, and the only one who ventured out of Mexico to live in another country.

My grandmother was very traditional: It would be hard to call her a feminist. But having said that, the interesting thing is her daughters are. So maybe she was some sort of stealth feminist, secretly plotting the emancipation of her daughters from the “just learn to be a good housewife” mantra.

I was raised very independently, by Mexican standards, since from a very young age my mom taught me how to be in charge of my own needs; cooking, washing clothes, doing my own hair, being responsible for my homework. My mom and grandmother pushed me to always get higher grades, to be the best I could be, to speak my mind… a lot of pressure for a little girl, I was so afraid of disappointing them.

I wonder: if I had been raised in a family of not so strong women, would that have changed the woman I am today? Almost certainly, but maybe I would still be the same. Maybe I was born this way.

What do you think? Are you born feminista? Or are you made feminista?


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.

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