Prior to colonialism, there was no race. Colonialism was a racialized, gendered and sexualized classification of people based on race. Gender was socially constructed. This dichotomy of people was made up of the light side, the liminal side and the dark side. The light side consisted of white men, white bourgeois, colonials and white women. The light side was considered dichotomously binary where heterosexuality was institutionalized. This dichotomy was not complementary. Men were portrayed with reason, public and mind and woman as emotion, private, non promiscuous, passive, pure and weak in mind and body. The liminal/in between side included servants, prostitutes and criminals. Those in the dark side were seen as animals that did not have a gender, were genetically differentiated and were differentiated as property. The dark side dealt with modernity, capitalism and colonialism. It pertained to issues of gender. With modernity, individuals were subjects/agents who made decisions, were responsible and had rights. Every act of oppressing was found by some act of resisting. By in large, people were denied gender. Women's bodies were regarded as property to be used to satisfy the erotic pleasures of men, who usually raped them. Gloria Anzaldua was oppressed by the white side of the gender system and by her own culture. Colonialism, capitalism and race cannot be separated when looking at the gender system. Chapter two "Movimientos de redeldia y las culturas que traicionan" from Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua contributed to a queering of race, meaning that the man/woman dichotomy was challenged. The whole gender system was racialized. It showed the relationship between intersectionality. Intersectionality alleged that the classical models of oppression within a society, such as those involving race, gender and sexuality were interrelated based on which indicators were relevant to an individual.
Although gender was significantly marked, it was also hidden. Chapter two "Movimientos de redeldia y las culturas que traicionan" from Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Gloria Anzaldua showed that women and queers were denied places in society and culture due to oppression. Confusion of sexual identity only made these individuals more at variance with their culture because the change to queer looked at a person's desire and always resisted the man/woman dichotomy (Anzaldua 39). Gloria Anzaldua was a mestiza, a woman who was a mix of mixed racial ancestry. She was Indian, Mexican and white descent and a lesbian. Indians personified savagery and were seen as uncivilized. They were demonized as animals to justify the abuses towards them. Indian savagery was viewed largely as cultural and racialized. They were seen as ignorant heathens and a demonic race that signified an innate evil. Based on the light side and dark side dichotomy, Anzaldua was on the dark side because she was outside the category of whites. According to the gender system, because she was a woman, Anzaldua was seen as weak, fragile, sexually passive, did not have to engage in labor and could not own anything. Being a woman, she was at the bottom of the ladder, right above deviants.
Culture shapes our beliefs and from those beliefs we make distinctions of the account of realism that it converses. Men, those which are claimed to be in power, made culture. Men established the rules and women conveyed them. Gloria Anzaldua's culture demeaned women to that of less than a man. Women were submissive to males according to culture and the Church. As women, their duties and roles in life were mapped out for them. Women were predestined to become wives and mothers. One was considered a failure if she did not marry and have children because this was her primary role. Rigid gender roles claimed men to be the superior gender and women to be passive. Based on what culture condemned, individuals exist last...
Cited: Anzaldua, Gloria. "Movimientos de redeldia y las culturas que traicionan" in Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1999.
Smith, Andrea. Conquest. Cambridge: South End Press, 2005.
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