Guest post written by Laura Luna
Every true feminist is aware of the diversity that exists among all feminists. We come in all colors and from all walks of life. In theorizing Feminism and battling oppression, it is not possible to isolate our gender from our race, our culture, our sexuality, our age, our religion, or our class status. All these factors intersect and feed off each other to make us who we are.
I am a Chicana Feminist because I cannot separate my race and culture from my gender. This is because my race and culture have greatly impacted the woman I have become. I also refuse to rate those factors in terms of importance because one does not exist without the other. Being a woman and a feminist has impacted my life just as much as being a Chicana.
So what is “Chicana Feminism”?
Although the Chicano movement included respectful aims for the Chicano community such as embracing their cultural nationalism, it remained largely a male-centered movement that ignored the importance and issues of Chicanas.
On the flip side, the Anglo Feminist Movement in the mid 1960′s was comprised primarily of women whom were white American and middle to upper class. Although they fought for equality for women in government, employment and labor unions, their sole focus on gender inequality was erroneous because they failed to acknowledge the implications of other factors such as race/ethnicity, sexuality, class and how these factors can work together to further oppress certain groups of people.
Consequently, Chicanas felt excluded from both The Chicano Movement and The Anglo Feminist Movement. In response to this exclusion, Chicanas created their own branch of feminism that helped the “Chicana” become recognized as a valuable asset in her community. Chicanas could not rely on the men in the Chicano movement or the women in the White Feminist Movement. Each of these movements wanted Chicanas to sacrifice her needs for the larger movement. Chicanas were often told by both movements that they had to choose between being women and being Chicana. Which begs the question: Why can’t we be recognized as both simultaneously?