At Latina, we are excited to announce a new interview series called Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday, where we will feature badass Latina feminists who are doing their part in dismantling oppressive gender roles, barriers and discriminations as well as examining how these issues intersect with race, ethnicity, immigration status, language, class, ability, sexual orientation and more.
Our first feminista kicking misogyny’s ass is Afro-Peruvian-American and self-described “artitvist” Favianna Rodriguez.
When did your feminist activism begin?
My activism began in racial justice, but very early on I felt my power as a young woman. I organized the first Latino club in my high school, and I was always surrounded by strong women, so my activism was still very woman-centered. As years went on, it became obvious to me that I was experiencing inequality as a woman, too. I always felt that I could do everything, but the barriers started becoming obvious.
A real turning point for me, though, was when I had my abortion. At that moment, the personal really did become political. Doctors were telling me to reconsider it, and I couldn’t even tell my parents, though they always inspired me to be confident and raised me to be a ninja in academics. This was in 2001, so the Battle of Seattle had taken place and I had learned about globalization. I started to understand that every single aspect of how I was affected actually touched on different global problems. For instance, the attack on migrants affected my family in my home, silence around sex affected me being a full human being, and diabetes was becoming a problem in my community around the same time I realized that there was only fast food restaurants in my community.
How has your family responded to your feminism and social justice work?
My mom would come to the meetings and scream at organizers, telling them that they were brainwashing me. It was scary for my family, largely because they were taught to assimilate, to be quiet and not to be seen. But later my activism would help make my mom abandon her homophobia, because I challanged her to embrace my brother, who is gay. Now she’s a proud mom and super queer-friendly -- she completely shifted.
Read more on page 2>>>