Havana, For Real

As a lefty progressive and a child of Cuban exiles, I’ve always been privy to two dominant narratives about Cuba. From family members who were forced to leave for political and economic reasons after Fidel Castro’s rise to power, I have heard the very typical anti-Castro perspective of Cubans in the U.S. My family mythology […]

Brazil’s Top Court Recognizes Same-Sex Unions

Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court announced yesterday that it had voted unanimously to recognize the legal rights of same-sex partners in civil unions. While the Brazilian constitution defines a “family entity” as a “stable union between a man and a woman,” Attorney General Roberto Gurgel argued that the clause is a definition, not a limitation. It does […]

Another Woman Leader in Latin America?

Last month, Sandra Torres announced that she was divorcing her husband, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, in order to run for the presidency herself. “I am getting a divorce from my husband, but I am getting married to the people,” she told reporters. The Guatemalan constitution bans the president’s relatives from running for office. If Torres […]

Five Fascinating Latinas for Women’s History Month

The Latinas we see on TV and in film too often are relegated to being maids or sexy, voluptuous women. But we are so much more. This Women’s History Month, I want to celebrate just a few of the powerful and inspirational Latinas who defied stereotypes, greatly contributed to history and personally inspired me. Frida […]

My Favorite Feminist: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

In honor of Women’s History Month, I want to honor my favorite (and too-little-known) feminist, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a 17th century nun, poet and scholar. Juana was born in 1648 in San Miguel Nepantla, Mexico, near Mexico City. She was officially registered as “a daughter of the Church” because her parents were […]

PBS Draws Attention to Human Rights Crisis in Guatemala

PBS’s new two-part report on women in Guatemala, which aired this week, shines a much-needed light on a mounting crisis of women’s health, rights and safety while offering a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. As I reported in the Winter 2011 issue of Ms. Magazine in my article “Fighting Femicide”, the […]

This Century’s War of the Roses

Regardless of your feelings on Valentine’s Day–whether you were the cis-girl who staged Valentine’s day protests, the trans-boy who nervously wondered if the girl he liked could get past their cissexism, or the teacher who smiled on it all–the gift of flowers is usually considered a harmless staple. However, like many other products that reach […]

Argentina Says “Don’t Cry” About Unsafe Abortion

In the land of gauchos, pampas, the tango, grilled beef, Evita and now legal same-sex marriage, unsafe abortion is the leading cause of maternal mortality. In 2008, more than 20 percent of deaths resulting from obstetric emergencies were caused by unsafe abortions, according to a report issued by Human Rights Watch. The administration of Cristina […]

More Violence Against the Women of Juarez

Before I finished my Ph.D., I worked in the cosmetics industry for ten years as a makeup artist for Lauder Corp, which owns such prestige brands as Clinique, Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown and MAC. The cosmetics industry is often a place where Chicanas and Latinas work their way through school, and I was one of […]

Can Soccer Reduce Brazil’s Domestic Violence?

A troubling statistic from Brazil: Ten women are killed in the country every day due to domestic violence, according to a recent study called the “Map of Violence” published by the Sao Paulo Instituto Sangari. The study found that 41,532 women were killed in Brazil between 1997 and 2007, which amounts to a woman’s life […]