agency father law

agency father law - Chicana Studies 1B Word Count: 2,371...

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Chicana Studies 1B Word Count: 2,371 Chicana Agency and the Law of the Father The use of strict dichotomies as moral spectrums to classify women has been present in Chicana culture since the time of European conquest in the Americas. As Spanish soldiers oversaw and protected the development of Christian missions throughout the western regions of North America, they were able to justify their raping and use of native women as mere sexual objects by utilizing the ideology of a virgin/whore dichotomy that they had brought overseas from Europe. This way of thinking defined all “good” women as women who practiced chastity until marriage, and were then sexually obedient to their husbands once married and were able to bare a legitimate male heir, while “bad” women were defined as sexually open women who were not at the disposal of male lust and were not able to produce legitimate male heirs. Being that all of these Native women were supposedly of an “inferior” race, they were naturally unable to bare legitimate heirs, and were therefore seen as objects that were ultimately subject to the sexual needs and wants of the Spanish military. This mode of thought consequently became implanted in meztiso/a society and has lived through and past the time of Spanish control in the Americas. While its standards and the consequences felt by women as a result of this ideology have evolved through time and become less blatantly severe, Chicana women still walk a tight rope of how to dress and act morally as enforced by their families and their peers. The fear that family members, namely fathers, have of daughters becoming “bad girls” and bringing dishonor to the family drives fathers to monitor the actions and appearances of their daughters, often
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inhibiting a strong restriction on the agency of young Chicanas. This authority that the father displays is known as “the law of the father”. In the autobiographical essay “Becoming La Mujer ”, Marisa Navarro tells us the story of her growing up in East L.A., where the common stereotypes of Chicana youth entailed them not going to college and becoming mothers on welfare. This was a future that Marissa’s parents feared her succumbing to, and as a result, they stressed education all her life and urged her to be a good hijita ; “Be quiet. Study hard. Don’t have sex. Go to college, and then get married. A good daughter doesn’t dress like a slut. A good daughter doesn’t pierce or tattoo herself. A good daughter doesn’t rock the boat” (Navarro, p. 39). Such were the things her parents told her. Through the influence of her parents, Marisa became convinced that if she stepped out of line by not being a good hijita , her “whole future would be over” (Navarro, p. 39). On top of being a reserved, mainstream good student, being a good girl in Marissa’s family also meant becoming desexualized, which is described in the text as being “of the mind and not of the body”; a way to let men know that she was unavailable for sex. As Marissa explains,
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This note was uploaded on 05/22/2008 for the course CH ST 1B taught by Professor Barvosa during the Fall '08 term at UCSB.

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agency father law - Chicana Studies 1B Word Count: 2,371...

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