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Friday, May 22, 2015

To(o) Queer the Writer

To(o) Queer the Writer- Loca, escritora, y chicana, by Gloria Anzaldúa

I really enjoyed reading this article.  At first, I thought that Gloria’s writing carried a somewhat abrasive attitude, as her sharp tongue was very critical of others and she seemed fickle in regards to who can and cannot label her writing identity.  But once a few paragraphs into the chapter, when she stated:  “Marking is always ‘marking down,’” my mind opened and my attitude shifted.  Lesbian, writer, Chicana, working class…“The more adjectives you have, the tighter the box.”  And what are mine?  Straight, white, student, middle class.  Or would I be considered (if I were) as just a “writer?”  I realize that Gloria is speaking from her own subjected knowledge and experience, and I can do my absolute best in understanding her viewpoint, but I will never fully comprehend.  Does this make me not as appreciative of her work or accounts?  I like to think not, but possibly because I am not Chicana or lesbian and therefore do not experience what a lesbian or Chicana will experience in life.  She states that by putting a label on her writing, depending on who it is, they (the critics) marginalize it.  White critics view her as a Chicana writer rather than a writer who happens to be Chicana; and, this, I completely understand.  But how does one name/label someone else when they do not wish to be labeled unless it is themselves doing the labeling?  When Gloria stated that “colored dykes” are the only successful ones in capturing readers’ true awareness of “how it really is,” while white lesbians’ eyes are deflected and cannot read between the lines, this struck me as both powerful and challenging.   Her statement forced me to take a step back and think about things.  I took a film class a couple years ago where we watched a handful of lesbian film clips and believe I was quite aware of every little thing happening.  Although a film is not a book and this example may be way off, I want to be able to relate myself and share my experiences, to understand, and not be oblivious or ignorant if I can help it.  I’ve also read numerous articles written by lesbian writers, but I would not have noticed their sexual preference if I had not Googled their names.  It was incredibly fascinating to me when Gloria discussed how women have been taught to write and read like men.  It is so, so true!  Most males I grew up with never read Judy Bloom or Confessions of a Shopaholic, but young girls, including myself, read both-Goosebumps, Star Wars, pirate and cowboy adventures, as well as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Black Beauty.  This goes to show that women are far more rehearsed and knowledgeable than men.  Gloria then connects this to lesbian writers and readers.  Would the average straight woman reading a lesbian novel catch every single hidden line?  Most likely not.  Gloria then discusses a certain lesbian writing formula.  Would a straight or lesbian woman recognize a lesbian writer if she wrote a nonsexual novel?  Personally, I probably would not.  But who knows.  To me, a writer is a writer is a writer.  But at the same time, every single writer is a distinct individual with a specific type of writing style that no one else can replicate.  Writers need to be distinguished, but under their approval for the right reasons by the right people.

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