Chicana feminists must be heard
By Conciencia Femenil

|Published: Sunday, April 4, 2010
Related Articles: Chicana Feminism Conference to host workshops for both women, men (at bottom of this page)

We formed as Conciencia Femenil in the summer of 2009. We were inspired by our foremothers, Las Hijas de Cuauhtémoc, who were also students at Cal State Long Beach in 1970. Las Hijas stood up valiantly for the rights of mujeres in a Chicano movement that, though inspiring, was machista or male chauvinistic and exclusionary.
In 1971, the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán, M.E.Ch.A, held a mock funeral procession that was a ritualized attempt to kill Las Hijas. They carried caskets and walked with candles to a makeshift graveyard with gravestones for Las Hijas leaders and a lynched effigy of Anna Nieto Gomez — her name inscribed on this effigy. Las Hijas faced this for trying to transform the sexist oppression within M.E.Ch.A. This history has never been written about or confronted. This is why we feel it has repeated itself.
As a collective we decided to organize a Chicana Feminism Conference to address the cycle of zero, or the chronic erasure of marginalized communities, which includes queer Chicanas. Conciencia Femenil was recently hit with the firsthand experience of history repeating itself.

The Chicana Feminism Conference took place at Cal State Long Beach on March 17-20. We wanted to bring attention to heteropatriarchy at CSULB within the departments, student organizations and Chicano communities. And we too were recently attacked with misogynist and homophobic violence. In response to an article by the Daily 49er announcing the conference, hateful homophobic and sexist attacks against the organizers and conference speakers Cherrie Moraga and Alma Lopez were displayed on the publication’s Web site.

The homophobic slandering attacks intensified and eventually escalated into remarks that referenced an appropriation of an alleged “Aztec Law” that described how gays and lesbians were punishable through murder and other explicit details as to how to administer the punishments. We recognize that this is not an isolated event but is deeply intertwined with the recent hate violence at UC San Diego, UC Riverside UC Davis and Washington State.

The escalation of visible hate violence both on our campuses and communities only brings attention to the everyday violence we experience as low income, Chicano, women, people of color, undocumented, disabled and queer/transgender people. Those who do not see the violence are blinded by their privilege. We who are marginalized by the interlocking systems of oppression are forced to face the frequent wrath of violence.

The ideology that silences and erases us from our communities, curriculum and classrooms, demonizes, scapegoats and keeps us out of positions of decision-making power, forms the breeding ground for hate violence. The delegitimization or constant discrediting of queer, feminist, ethnic studies and queer feminist ethnic studies within academia institutionalizes our marginalization and is a form of violence itself.

We recognize that the sting of a virulent heteropatriarchy lashed out at us is an attempt to undermine, silence, threaten and intimidate our organization. The Chicana Feminism Conference called out for an intervention to hold accountable a curriculum and a community that strives for liberation but falls short by refusing to see the intersections of racism, classism, heterosexism, sexism and colonization. We will not be erased, defeated or discouraged by academic and community attempts that fail to account for the way that these systems of oppression intersect. We are fueled and stronger than ever to continue in the struggle.

We have reclaimed “concienca maricona,” a feeble threat launched against us as Conciencia Femenil. Homophobic and sexist retaliation against women calling out sexism in the Chicano movement have long been used as attempts to silence and intimidate us; this is not new, and we are reclaiming another term from the past: “lesbionage,” which was used by La Raza Unida Party and others to discredit mujeres’ organizing. Heteropatriarchy: Game Over!

A movement that is not down for all of us is not down for its people.

From the margins, we clearly see the connections between our disenfranchisement on campus and that faced by our communities, as well as that imposed by our communities, and we recognize that these many layers of oppression are responsible and complicit with the hate violence used against us.
Concienca Femenil is a chicana feminist group.

Nadia Zepeda, Audrey Silvestre, Pablo Ildefonso, Claudia Ramirez, Natalie Muniz, Lizeth Zepeda, Angelica Becerra, Denise Zepeda, and Jocelyn Gomez contributed to this article.

Disclaimer: The Daily 49er is not responsible for comments made on Persons commenting are solely responsible for comments made on this Web site. The Daily 49er strongly advises individuals to not abuse their First Amendment rights, and to avoid language suggestive of hate speech.

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erin 1 week ago
wow- i had no idea we had such a history of chicana feminism at csulb. glad to see it lives on today!

Cuauhtli 1 week ago in reply to erin
Comment removed.

Yadira A. 6 days ago in reply to Cuauhtli
2 people liked this.
What is up with you advocating patriarchal rule? Is "cultura" all your narrow-minded and death-loving excuse for, I presume, an activist cares about?

When you're done blabbing and posting irrelevant research, what have you said? You've said that Aztecs/Mexicas were patriarchal and that anyone who claims to be a descendant of such should fight the white wo/man and their pro-woman and pro-gay ways. Funny, because most people don't claim that the arrival of the Spaniards in Mexico brought any sort of male-female equality. Are we talking now about the English and white Americans? The idea of gender equality didn't flourish in those societies either.

You are obviously on the side of patriarchs everywhere. YES, even white patriarchs, so there's your Aztec loyalty for ya'. You are faithful to the interests of men (power over, sexual dominance, female subservience, rigid gender roles...) anywhere and everywhere.

As for your claims of emasculation, well, one might consider it effeminate of you to whine. But that's really not the point I'm trying to make here... and you might be a woman. The fact is that your focus on the supposed emasculation of Mexican men in the United States is, how should say it, lacking. You don't even know WHAT you want, you just know you gotta "fight". If Mexican men have been disproportionately incarcerated it might be, call me a genius, because the impoverished working class is especially needed to make profits and must be kept struggling (drug charges, theft); the system's divisive racist tactics have especially chosen the "minorities", and precisely because these men are acting out in habits of the worst patriarchs (rape, homicide). So you see, it's not these men's fault, they are a very consequence of the system that raised them. They have been DISEMPOWERED, not emasculated, as it alludes to there actually being a masculinity that folks with penises should aspire to.

So yeah, go on and spread your crap, which doesn't help anyone but you and your fellow men. You may think saying this shit feels good typing from the comfort of your desk chair or that it is funny, but I don't -- this rhetoric has real consequences for men and women who don't subscribe to bullshit gender roles. Women and men have gotten harassed, raped, maimed and murdered over this, as you yourself have pointed out.

So why keep spewing this bullshit theory about life? Probably because you, my friend, are a self-righteous and necrophilic being with no business trying to be in a movement for justice; you're a joke.

However, you can always join us. The world would be a better place.

juliosalgado 1 week ago
Keep on writing history girls! Viva la consencia maricona!

rosa perez 1 week ago in reply to juliosalgado
Okay, I do agree that there were many insults in the comments made regarding the chicana femenist conference. However, this article ignores the fact that people like Alma Lopez highly insulted many of us Latinos and our religious beliefs by painting the Virgin of Gaudalupe in bikinni. I am a woman myself, and as a woman I demand eqaulity has well, but that does not give the right to disrespect something as sacred as the Virgin of Guadalupe. That's not the way to demand equality!!! Mujeres, we are better than this, less not reduce ourselves to something as low!!!!!!

Yadira A. 6 days ago in reply to rosa perez
2 people liked this.
I completely agree with Maricela. Go ConFem!

Rosa, you defend religious beliefs that have put us in this position to begin with. Catholicism in Mexico has been a tool of colonization, as can be clearly seen in the Virgen de Guadalupe example, with her story of indigenous co-optation (el Tepeyac was the site where Aztec goddess Tonantzin was said to have appeared, long before the Virgen).

The Virgen is as sacred as those who've been brainwashed by it. Her image only serves to further, and falsely, dichotomize the genders. I mean, go to Mexico if you want to see the effects of this shit religion: las mujeres le temen a la masturbacion, a sus hombres y al lesbianismo, but you don't have to travel that far, of course. Mexican Catholicism is excellent for making women docile at its worst, and at its pathetic best, strong at protecting their own oppression! Talk about some ridiculous, self-denying and guilt-inducing crap that any human being in search for freedom would recognize as such. The concept of original sin is mental and spiritual incarceration.

What is the common goal of humanity if not to live happily, o sea, free and equal? Catholicism does little of the sort, and when it makes attempts, i.e. the pro-migrant stance, it does nothing to challenge existing modes of domination, or get to the root of the problem.

Look, I have had to be "respectful" before grandmas and other elders, but I'm going to imagine that as a university student and one who also demands equality, that you are sincerely looking to challenge systems that oppress. Unfortunately, for the lifelong customs of some of us, two of those systems are religion and patriarchy. I am glad that you also are committed to changing the status quo, but I would urge you to find what all the systems (capitalism, patriarchy, racism, etc.) have in common. If you are for women's equality, how can you not be for total equality?

Lastly, I would like to sympathize with you in your apprehension at seeing La Virgen bikini-clad. I too am tired of seeing women defined by our bodies and plastered everywhere as sexual objects. However, I think that Alma Lopez did nothing of the sort. She attempted to counter one particularly harmful female archetype, the Virgin, with another, the openly sexual Whore. I think doing this opens the conversation for what is in between those two false binaries and more reflective of reality, which would be a healthy woman, in charge of her sexuality and committed to love and equality. That is all Lopez sought to do.

Maricela Becerra 1 week ago in reply to rosa perez
2 people liked this.
And you're ignoring the fact that Alma Lopez used the cultural context of La Virgen de Guadalupe, not necessarily its religious image. Women in Mexican culture are always defined in two categories: the Virgen and the Malinche, (la virgen o la puta). La Virgen de Guadalupe goes beyond its religious image as it also affects the social and political construction of femininity in Latino culture. You have to really study our history to truly understand how much us mujeres are affected and oppressed by the cultural significance of la Virgen and that's what Alma is protesting! To my interpretation of Alma's art, she is only defying these machista female archetypes and finding and expressing her own sexuality. I'm proud of her and the ConFem mujeres that are brave enough to step away from these cultural stereotypes and find their own femininity! Para que nunca mas nos vuelvan a borrar!

Pedro Paramo 1 week ago
Comment removed.

Maricela Becerra 1 week ago in reply to Pedro Paramo
Más asco me da tu ignorancia!

Pedro Paramo 1 week ago in reply to Maricela Becerra
La ignorante y perversa eres tu, cochina!!! El infierno eterno te espera.

Maricela Becerra 1 week ago in reply to Pedro Paramo
hahaha uy que miedo! viene el coco! hahaha I was going to reply something else, but you're so dumb its funny so I'll just leave it like that!

Yadira A. 6 days ago in reply to Pedro Paramo
El infierno? Que fantasia estas viviendo, muchacho. Te a de gustar sentirte mal, culpable y reprimido por tus propios deseos. Me das lastima.

Haters gonna hate 6 days ago
Why can't we all just get along?

Yadira A. 3 days ago
This is in reply to Cuauhtli's post "This is not about justice..." since I couldn't directly reply.

Justice would be about what is right and what is wrong. Let me remind you that the fact that certain ideologies exist doesn't mean they are wrong. Just because there WERE Aztecs, and if they indeed were brutal towards homosexuals, doesn't mean they were right and that we must continue their harmful ways. Try human sacrifice, and see if you are not met with resistance about what is right and what is wrong. Pronouncing death (La Ley Azteca) for people who do no harm doesn't benefit humanity, it promotes violence, intolerance and the worst aspect of humanity: its preposterous and vile ego. Oh, and the concept of Raza is only good insofar as we recognize how we've been colonized and oppressed and how our egalitarian and freedom-mindedness connects us to that past and present to make us stronger against injustice and human sickness. The only thing worth preserving about our cultura is that which will help, or at least not stand in the way, of freedom for everyone.

You're making stuff up. There is no proof (and you gave none) that homosexuality is detrimental to anything. In fact, its free expression only serves to expand the heart and loving energy that we have. And what family structure? There is nothing inherently good about the nuclear and heterosexual family, so why protect it? By the way, homosexuality has not been condemned by every society throughout history; you have a limited well of information.

Your opinions are only making the world more sick. I urge you to reconsider, for the sake of the generations that follow. Go work on your logic too. So, the Muslims behead gays? How the hell does it follow that everyone should? The white man, raped us. So now, is that justification for everyone else raping?

Ridiculous. Your mind is a nutjob.

Yadira A. 3 days ago in reply to Yadira A.
CORRECTION: Let me remind you that the fact that certain ideologies exist doesn't mean they are wrong.

SHOULD BE: Let me remind you that the fact that certain ideologies exist doesn't mean they are right.

Diego 2 days ago
"The delegitimization or constant discrediting of queer, feminist, ethnic studies and queer feminist ethnic studies within academia institutionalizes our marginalization and is a form of violence itself."

"we too were recently attacked with misogynist and homophobic violence. In response to an article by the Daily 49er announcing the conference, hateful homophobic and sexist attacks against the organizers and conference speakers Cherrie Moraga and Alma Lopez were displayed on the publication’s Web site."

"The escalation of visible hate violence both on our campuses and communities only brings attention to the everyday violence we experience as low income, Chicano, women, people of color, undocumented, disabled and queer/transgender people"

Using the word violence for verbal arguments, verbal attacks and internet postings makes the article more interesting but makes the Conciencia Femenil seem pretty petty.

daily49er 1 day ago
The comments by Cuauhtli citing La Voz de Aztlán have been removed because it was brought to our attention that the group has been cited as a hate group by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. We apologize for any discomfort our reader's may have felt in the comments, and the Daily 49er will work to ensure that hate groups do not use our Web site as a forum for hate speech.

Gustavo Arellano 22 hours ago
God bless the Chicanas at Long Beach St. La Voz de Aztlan can rot in hell—maybe they should pal up with Kevin MacDonald? Here's an article I wrote on this issue:

Chicana Feminism Conference to host workshops for both women, men
The conference will be at 5 p.m. at the Anatol Center.
By Matthew Guhit

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Related Articles
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Panelists speak on minorities
Conference to empower Latina students

“Ya basta!” — or “enough!” — is the slogan used by civil rights activists in Mexico. The phrase is now being used by a new group on campus to express their discontentment with suffering.

Conciencia Femenil will host its first Chicana Feminism Conference at the Anatol Center today at 5 p.m. Speakers include former Cal State Long Beach organizer Anna Gomez, artist Alma Lopez, UCLA professor Maylei Blackwell, and author and playwright Sherrie Moraga.

The meeting will cover a variety of issues, primarily focusing on sexism, racism, immigration and women’s reproductive health. It will also feature several workshops about the feminist movement, Chicana feminism and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Lopez will be commenting on the history of the movement, according to Audrey Silvestre, organizer of Concencia Femenil. Lopez received her master’s in fine arts at UC Irvine and her artwork includes serigraphs, paintings, photo-based digital prints, public murals and video.

CSULB has not had an active Chicano voice since the early 1970s, when a group called Las Hijas de Cuauhtemoc formed on campus in 1969 and published its periodicals in 1971. Now that a new organization has been established, its goal is to set up a foundation for the next generation to take over at CSULB.

Clarissa Rojas, assistant Chicano-Latino studies professor, said this is an amazing opportunity to bring the history of CSULB’s past to current students and to allow them to continue what former students had started.

According to Rojas, Las Hijas de Cuauhtemoc recruited many Chicanos during the 1970s, which tripled their student population. She added that with the current budget situation, the number of Chicano students may start to decrease.

Conciencia Femenil was inspired by Las Hijas de Cuauhtemoc and wanted to honor the group’s legacy. Conciencia Femenil is currently networking with other campuses to inform others of their cause, according to CSULB senior and Conciencia Femenil member Nadia Zepeda.

Although the conference is primarily about women’s rights and Chicana empowerment, Zepeda emphasized that this event is open to everyone.
Silvestre said that men are welcome as well.

“They are our allies,” she said, “and we need to focus on men and women.”

Cuauhtli 6 days ago
The name Conciencia Femenil should be changed to Conciencia Maricona because the organizers and participants of this conference are a bunch of lesbians hiding under the guise of feminism. Worst, Alma Lopez is a decadent artist who has painted sacrilegious images of Mexico's most revered religious icons, the Virgen de Guadalupe. She has depicted La Virgen in a bikini and with obvious erotic sapphic symbolisms. This 'mariflora' is a sick pervert.

Sherrie Moraga is another perverted dyke trolling the colleges and universities for naive and unsuspecting coeds. This conference is an abomination. When they say that men are welcomed too and that they are "their allies" they mean the jotos.

pacifist 4 days ago in reply to Cuauhtli
If you dont like the way they do things then make your own thing, no need to be intolerant. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and view of issues, so stop the unnecessary fighting.

one love 3 days ago
Cuauhtli-(Eagle) is governed by Xipe Totec, God of Seedtime, as its provider of tonalli (Shadow Soul) life energy. Cuauhtli is a day of fighting for FREEDOM AND EQUALITY.
For someone who's clearly bashing any form of tollerance for equality and respect for queer people, you need to check your shit before you claim the name and appropriate indigenous symbols.

rosa perez 7 hours ago in reply to one love
you call equality the fact that this fucking idiotAlma Lopez thrashed something as sacred as the Virgin of Gaudalupe by painting her in vickiny. I respect the fact that we women are looking for equality but this is not the way.I am a woman myself, and as I woman I am digguested with the fact taht someone as sraced as the Vigin of Guadalupe, a role model in our lifes, gets thrashed like that. I do respect people's views on religion, but please don't spitt on mines. Please don't confuse eqaulity that as women we all derve with the almost demented points of view that Alma Lopez brings.

Rogelio Sotomayor 2 hours ago in reply to rosa perez
I agree with Ms. Perez. It is time for decent Latino families to put an end to the promotion of sexual deviancy on colleges and universities. Lesbians and homosexuals are not just content with the freedom to practice their abominable sexual perversions but now they want to be able to destroy religions which oppose them.

Xochitl 2 hours ago in reply to one love

La sodomía, muerte en la horca,

- Homosexualidad, empalamiento para el sujeto activo; extracción de las entrañas, por el orificio anal, para el sujeto pasivo

- Lesbianismo, muerte por garrote,