(Out)Classed Women: Contemporary Chicana Writers on Inequitable Gendered Power Relations

(Out)Classed Women: Contemporary Chicana Writers on Inequitable Gendered Power Relations

(Out)Classed Women: Contemporary Chicana Writers on Inequitable Gendered Power Relations

(Out)Classed Women: Contemporary Chicana Writers on Inequitable Gendered Power Relations


Critical discussions of the works of Chicana authors are invariably grounded in issues of power and politics. This book examines how contemporary Chicana writers have explored the subjugation of Chicanas. While Chicanos and Chicanas often suffer from the oppression of European Americans, Chicanas are additionally oppressed by a cultural system that subordinates them even further because of their gender. The first part of the volume discusses the major concerns and themes of Chicana writers in terms of the problems caused by inequitable gendered power relations. In the second, the proposed solutions of Chicana writers are presented. The final portion of the volume explores the relationship between Chicanas and other women writers and critics of color, Jewish feminists, and the mainstream feminist movement.


In terms of language, Gloria Anzaldúa claims that although the Spanish of Chicanas is as varied "linguistically as it is regionally" (1993c, 294), Chicanas who speak only English or only Spanish are as much Chicanas as those who speak several variants of Spanish. Chicanas from the southwest are no more or less authentic than Chicanas from any other geographic area in the country. in other words the term Chicana does not necessarily imply the necessity of a linguistic connection to the Spanish language so much as to a given ancestry and perspective.

Denise Segura defines the term Chicana entirely through ancestry, as signifying birth in the United States with Mexican ancestry and the identification of oneself as such. of all those men and women who identify themselves as Spanish by origin, more than sixty percent are Mexican by origin (1986, 61).

Vicki Ruíz defines the term Chicana as encompassing second-and-third generation Mexican American women (1993, 123). Irene Blea defines Chicana "as a Mexican American female, a minority female" subject to oppression by race and sex. She also notes that scholars rarely include in their analyses class issues in relation to Chicanas (1991, xi). This is an omission that I correct in this work.

However, in her otherwise penetrating analysis Blea accuses the United States of having an "internal colonial model." Only within the United States are minorities such as Chicanas unwillingly controlled systematically by oppression and treated as Third World populations. Coded discourse is used to indicate their inferiority, such as with derogatory stereotyping. She defines a colony as internal if one group is supposed to enjoy equal status legally with any and all other groups, but is discriminated against and subordinated to second class status (1991, 139). But by failing to differentiate Chicana experiences from those of . . .

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