Sunday, July 8, 2007

Gloria Anzaldua

Feminist/Cultural writer Gloria Anzaldua was born on September 26, 1942 into a world where she would be looked down upon for her darker shade of skin, Mexican accent, and eventually, her sexual orientation. Besides these obvious social hurdles, she was also born with a rare and shameful congenital defect causing her to begin menstruating at infancy. When Gloria was 11 years old, she and her family moved from her birthplace in Rio Grande Valley of South Texas to Hargill, Texas where she worked alongside her sharecropper father, mother, and siblings in the fields as a migrant worker. The death of her father came shortly after their move to Hargill when she was only 14, however she still managed to overcome all hurdles to continue her education while monetarily supporting her family though field working.

Most Latina girls of that generation and social class (as well as today's) weren't able to finish school due to financial constraints. Instead they were expected to help their families earn money in the field and then take their place as a wife and mother. Not only did Gloria overcome these expectations and finish high school, but she also continued school and earned a Bachelor's Degree in English, Art, and Secondary Education from Pan American University in 1969. She also followed that degree with a Master's Degree in English and Education from University of Texas. Education was extremely important to Gloria. Unfortunately, she died on the 15th of May in 2004 of diabetic complications when she was only weeks away from completing her dissertation and receiving her doctorate from University of California, Santa Cruz.

Gloria has won many literary and feminism awards for her efforts towards the equal rights movement. One of her most famous books, 'Borderlands: La Frontera" was selected as one of 100 best books of the century by Hungy Mind Review and Utne Reader. It was also chosen as one of 38 Best Books in 1987 by the Literacy Journal. Among others, she's also won the 1991 Lesbian Rights Award, and the American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Her pursuance of greater education, lectures, and her written books, Gloria used these actions throughout her life to help eradicate oppression and motivate women and minorities in general. Through her biographical writings, she not only expresses support for Latina women, but also males and females in general who have felt oppressed or shunned by society. Up until her death, Gloria invested her time in visiting communities and educational institutions, and holding conferences in order to create awareness with regard to prejudice and violence against specific groups of people. Her life itself has set a blueprint for all women, as well as men, who have ever experienced discrimination.

Prior to this assignment, unfortunately, I was not familiar with this author as well as her extraordinary accomplishments in the field of feminism and humanism. She has brought to light the struggles and obstacles that continue to be prevalent in minority groups today. Being a Latina woman myself, I commend her fortitude and dedication in fighting for equal opportunity and justice for all. Through her perseverance, Gloria Anzaldua has taught me that no dream is too big.

Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera. Aunt Lute Book Company 1987
Anzaldua, Gloria. Interviews/Entrevistas. Routledge 2000
Keating, AnaLouise. Entre Mundos/Among Worlds. Palgrave Macmillan 2005

Marisa Aguilera-Wells

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