How do some of these issues show up in every day life?
What does Chicana mean?
Chicana, or Chicano, is a chosen identity of some Mexican-Americans in the United States. The term became widely used during the Chicano Movement of the 1960s by many Mexican Americans to express a
political stance founded on pride in a shared cultural, ethnic, and community identity. Click here to find out more!
How did Chicana Feminism begin?
The Chicana Movement arose in the midst of the Chicano Movement in the 60s from a feeling of Chicana women seeking "freedom, emancipation from racism and sexism, plus cultural sovereignty: that the cultural integrity and dignity of a people be recognized and respected as equal to any other." Chicanas at the time couldn't rely on other movements happening, such as the Chicano Movement or the Women's Liberation Movement, because it required them sacrificing, either their identity as a woman, or as a Chicana. Chicano loyalists often accused Chicanas of being traitors to the movement, and labeled them as being anti-cultural, anti-family, and anti-man. However, the Chicano Movement often ignored the requests of Chicanas to incorporate relevant issues to the movement.
What were the main issues?
Some of the main issues Chicana women faced were related to their identity as women: universally oppressed by men, identified as an ethnic minority, and their Chicano heritage, which exaggerates the male domination over women. Chicanas wanted reproductive and health care rights, with bilingual assistance available; they wanted access to employment and a culturally relevant
education; they wanted to restructure their familial role as a mother and caregiver, and they wanted awareness for issues like domestic abuse and rape.
Chicanismo Language in the Play
"Two Women Participating in the United Farm Workers ( UWC) Boycott"- Nancy de los Santos 1975
Art and Social Justice
In times of hardship and social injustice, people tend to turn towards art as a method of resistance, and the Chicana Feminism Movement was not the exception. Through their art, Chicanas dissected and questioned traditional Mexican-American values, while adding a feminist perspective to their work. Chicana art ranges from murals, to photography, and even performance art.
Like Mercedez, write your own spoken word poetry piece as a way of taking action for an important social justice cause.