Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Juliana Britto Schwartz

Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Juliana Britto Schwartz

So what are some of the differences you see among feminisms in the U.S. and across Latin America?

Almost every country in Latin America lived through a dictatorship in the late 19th century. These ranged from relatively benign to absolutely brutal rule by military governments and dictators, and most of them were backed by the U.S. This matters because today’s generation of social activists still hear stories about those times. My mom, for instance, grew up keeping her head down or leaving the country; social activism wasn’t safe to participate in when she was young.

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As a result, for a few decades, Latin Americans were fighting for their right to democracy and free speech, or just trying to stay alive while their relatives disappeared. This means that in some cases, the U.S. has a head start on Latin America when it comes to some of the struggles that often characterize the feminist movement. For example, abortion is illegal in most of Latin America, in some countries even in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life. While Latinas in the U.S. are fighting for access to abortion care, in Latin America they want to stop reading stories of 10-year-old rape survivors being forced to carry pregnancies to term, or of women dying after seeking out back-alley abortions. 

But these additional hurdles also show that Latin American feminist movements are that much more fierce, organized and, quite frankly, f**king courageous. 

You make an effort to ensure that your work is inclusive of cultural identities and languages that often get lost, or straight-up ignored, in dominant Latina/Chicana feminist spaces. Why is it important for us to respect but also move beyond the Chicana feminist and/or Spanish-language feminist frames? And how will this make Latina feminism, and the work we do through it, more effective?

First, let me say that I stand on the shoulders of Chicana feminists. The work that they have done laid the foundation for folks like us to start talking about what we now call Latina feminism, and any feminism of mine will include and build upon those movements. 

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