7 Chicana Feminist Authors You Should Be Reading

800px-Gloria_AnzalduaI am a woman of color. If you are too, you probably understand my frustration when I say it was nearly impossible to find role models in the mainstream media as a child. I don’t know about you but, that doesn’t sit well with me.

As a young Chicana/Xicana, I probably read fewer than a handful of Latino/a authors throughout grade school. With a lack of representation came a sense of lost identity—which was followed by a need to assimilate. It wasn’t until I picked up Borderlands by Gloria Anzaldua that I had an “oh shit!” moment, when my identity as a Chicana womyn began to make sense. During the reading of this profound book, I actually allowed myself to love myself from who I am, color and all.

With only a few days remaining in National Hispanic Heritage Month, I encourage you to honor my revolutionary Chicana sisters who have changed the lives of many feminists across the racial spectrum. Check the slideshow below for a recommended reading list!

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote to Alicia Gaspar de Alba. The error has been corrected.

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Gisselli Rodriguez (@gisselli) is an editorial intern at Ms. She is studying gender and women’s studies with a concentration in media and journalism.

Comments

  1. Marisa Delgado says:

    I have read Anzaldua and Cisneros; I was introduced to them by my Hispanic/American Literature professor. This class was so important to the development of my personality and made me feel pride in my heritage as well as being integral to my formal education. It is so sad that the class was unique and not every college, and/or that most major colleges and universities do not have a class like this. The class was about the identity of the Latinos here in the US. It is nice to know that the list of Chicana authors has grown, too bad their writing is not marketed as well as Dan Brown or James Patterson but women, especially women of color aren’t usually considered important enough for the front tables of big book retailers. Perhaps we could find more common ground and better understanding as humans if these books were marketed instead of conspiracy theories and serial killers.

  2. georgina miranda ortega says:

    i am a 59 year old soon to start my next decade in febuary. a proud chicanca feminist and mother of two great chicanca feminist, i am alwas looking for chicanca writers, growing up as a farm worker and then a high school drop out, a young mother at 19yrs. a child of the 70’s married and did not find myself until my olderest daughter went to high school. I found myself fighting for her to have a better life then me. my hard worked, a lawyer and my youngest finishing her bachlor degree. i tell myselfe i will go to school someday. but for now i read and listen to other woman like me.
    thank you for all this great info. i am oing to order these books, i have a long cold winter here in el norte las vegas,new mexico.
    retired postal letter carrier, divorcee

    • Hello Georgina. I believe there are many of us aspiring Chicana writers that are forthcoming. I am a newly 50yo and have lots of stories to share! I love writing and have lots of started stories. One day hopefully will be published!

  3. I am very honored to be included in this list of “Chicana Chingonas,” as we are also known. I just wanted to point out that the quotation under my name is not my own, but taken from one of the other essays in the Making a Killing anthology, which I co-edited with my then-graduate student, Georgina Guzman–herself part of the next generation of Chicana chingonas. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind changing the quote to something from either the Introduction or my essay in the book. I also wrote a novel about the Juarez femicides called Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders. All my books can be ordered online. Mil gracias!

  4. Patricia Amador says:

    Chingonas! Love it!

  5. Marilyn Elkins says:

    Great selections. But I would also add Monserrat Fontes to the list. First Confession is a wonderful feminist coming-of-age novel.

  6. WOW. It is incredible to see me mother’s foundational work acknowledged here. So often we think that Chicana feminism began with Borderlands/La Frontera or This Bridge Called my Back. While those works continue to be FOUNDATIONAL for me and many other Chicanas, we also need to acknowledge the women who laid the groundwork for those important interventions. Women like Francisca Flores, Anna Nietogomez, Adelaide del Castillo, Norma Alarcon, Rita Sanchez, Enriqueta Vasquez, Dorinda Moreno, Sylvia Morales, and many, many others. We have begun this work with Chicana por mi Raza, a digital archive documenting Chicana feminist praxis in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. We have collected thousands of documents and over 60 oral history for our digital repository. And we have encouraged a new generation of scholars to produce curations based on their research in our repository for our public site (which is growing every day). Check it out at: chicanapormiraza.org

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