With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians

With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians

With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians

With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians

Excerpt

Chicana lesbians have been appearing in print for over thirty years. They have been created by heterosexual Chicanas and Chicanos, by lesbian Chicanas, and by other writers whose works fall both within and outside Chicano/a literature. Yet Chicana lesbian writing has yet to be studied as a distinct field—as a body of work with genealogies, with imagined communities of writers and readers, with definable characteristics, themes, paradigms, and contradictions.

In this study, I begin to map out the terrain of Chicana lesbian fictions. In defining Chicana lesbian fictions as drama, novels, and short stories by Chicana/o authors that depict lesbian characters or lesbian desire, I realize that I am emphasizing one genealogy over others. By situating these works within Chicana/Chicano studies, I acknowledge the relationship between writings by queer Chicanas and Chicana/ Chicano literature in general. Other valid approaches would be to examine these writings within the realms of Latina lesbian fiction, writings by lesbians of color, lesbian literature, or women's literature, and I try to acknowledge each of these genealogies at different points in my study.

The objects of my study are plays, short stories, and novels that feature Chicana lesbians: these texts are written primarily by lesbian and bisexual Chicanas, but there are also a number of texts produced by straight and gay male Chicanos, Chicanas who don't identify as lesbian, U.S. Latina, Latin American, and Anglo-American writers. All of these contribute to the image of the Chicana lesbian as she is constructed by literature, and make up a formidable collection of writings dating . . .

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