Friday, October 9, 2009
Chicana Feminism Within Woman Hollering Creek
In Saldívar-Hull's Argument: "Woman Hollering Creek" she "fictionally articulates a Chicana feminism that simultaneously decenters predominantly white feminisms and destabilizes class assumptions." Within the argument, she states that, "Cisneros makes it clear that Cleófilas' migration to patriarchal domesticity and the north is not the product of a singular engagement with "romantic" constructions of marriage, but of a lifelong engagement with media representations (the books, the songs and the telenovelas) that define and ultimately discipline women's passions." I don't particularly agree with the assertion that she makes, though. Cleófilas goes north for practical reasons: her husband works and lives there. I also believe that Cleófilas goes into marriage with a both a dreamer's and a pragmatist's attitude about marriage. She understands the domesticity of it: she's been carrying out the functions of "wifely" duties for many years now. She understands the tradition of maintaining home and hearth as they have been drummed into her, even without a mother figure to teach her.
While, I support Saldívar-Hull's assertion that Cleófilas has been surrounded by images of what love is on the telenovelas and in magazines, I also believe that she romanticizes love in that manner because didn't have a loving relationship to learn and grow from. Her mother died and there is no mention of a stepmother, so she doesn't have a real life, practical model to learn the ways of what happens between a woman and a man, so she gleans this "knowledge" of all encompassing, all consuming love from the examples that she does have: fiction. Like any young woman, she has an idealistic view of what marriage will be like and, like each person that goes into the unknown, there is always the possibility that your expectations of a situation will not live up to the reality.
When the blinders are removed and Cleófilas sees her circumstance for what it is, she goes along with the only other option that presents itself and returns home. She has no money or home in the U.S. without her husband, she doesn’t have any training or prospects to get a job, and she has two children to provide for. I support Cleófilas' decision to return home. Yes, it is returning to a "patriarchal domesticity" as Saldívar-Hull puts it, but at least in her father's house she won't be physically abused.
Posted by Demetrius Flint at 6:11 AM