“Portrait of A Feminista” was born from AnaYelsi Sanchez’s desire to to see herself and her story reflected in others; an unwillingness to settle for a feminism that doesn’t reflect Latin@s shared history and experience. It began in November 2013 as the #SecretLivesOfFeministas twitter conversation addressing the absence of Latina voices in mainstream feminism and the unique struggles faced by feministas and is on it’s way to becoming a published anthology. Read about the twitter movement that led to this series.
I am Latina. For as long as I can remember that has been at the forefront of how I identify. As a white skinned passing Latina, it has been of the outmost importance for me to express my cultural and ethnic identity. Discovering feminism, as with most young girls, was an eye opening experience. But even as I explored feminism I knew a piece was missing. There was a voice missing in the books and articles I was reading. Lucky for me, my Women’s Studies 101 professor in college (shout out Mary Renda) assigned Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua. That along with This Bridge Called My Back, showed me there is another voice in feminism and another story to tell. For the first time it was my voice and my story in the books I was reading. This and other women of color feminists changed what feminism means to me. They showed me that being a Latina and a feminist were identities that were inextricably tied. This is why my blog is called Boricua Feminist.
#SecretLivesOfFeministas is important because it is vital for people to know that the Latina feminist community exists. I’m sure there are still other young Latinas out there discovering their feminism and like me 12 years ago, wondering where their place is in the movement. Through #SecretLivesOfFeministas and social media we can make sure that people can find us and hear/read our stories. I chose to become a member of the conversation because as Latina Feminists we are not a monolith. We all have shared experiences but we also have different backgrounds and varied paths. I wanted to make sure that my path was out there for others who may relate. It’s important to have a shared community of like-minded individuals. Although I have been lucky to find a feminist community in Boston, that has not always been the case and I am sure it is like that for others. But even though I love my community here, I am still often the only woman of color and usually the only Latina. Having an online community validates my experiences both as a Latina but as a feminist. I hope that the conversation will help others discover a sisterhood that took me a long time to find. I also hope that it can bring our stories to other feminists and non-feminists alike.
I have been an activist since I was about 12 years old. I continue to be an activist and being a Latina Feminist means I bring an intersectional analysis to what I do. I try and make sure that events are inclusive and POC points of views are considered. Most importantly I bring visibility of Latina Feminists in activist circles. I think it’s important for Latinas to speak out about their feminism in order to change the perception of what a feminist looks like. Although we know that feminists come from all different backgrounds, white liberal feminists is still what most people think of when they hear the word feminist. Wearing the label as Latina Feminist proudly will begin to change people’s perceptions. Latina Feminist realities need to be articulated and it begins with me. I want to inspire young Latinas to be confident in whom they are and discover feminism. I want all of us who already identify as Latina Feminists to kick the doors open in feminist circles and make ourselves known. #SecretLivesOfFeministas is a step in the right direction.
Brenda Hernandez is a law school diversity professional by day and a feminist activist and blogger by night. She currently volunteers as the Outreach Coordinator for Hollaback! Boston. She is also on the leadership team for the Organized Women branch of Boston Glow. She is excited to begin her abortion doula training this month. In her spare time she reads, sings and does yoga. You can read all her feminist rants, pop culture critiques and details about her impending Jewish Latino Feminist wedding at her blog, BoricuaFeminist.com.
Are you a feminista and want to add your portrait? Know a feminista whose story needs to be heard? Contact AnaYelsi at email@example.com.
Don’t forget to use #secretlivesoffeministas when sharing this series on facebook and twitter. Help to keep us connected.
Portrait of A Feminista: Ondine Quinn – Browneyedamazon.com
Portrait of A Feminista: Ynanna Djehuty – Browneyedamazon.com
Secret Lives of Feministas – browneyedamazon.com
Latina feministas unite at #SecretLivesofFeministas – feministing.com
The Color of Toxicity – vivalafeminista.com