American Studies

Thesis Abstracts

Amanda Levinson
Mujeres, Chingadas and Atravesadas: The Virgin of Guadalupe, La Malinche, and the Creation of an Alternate Chicana Aesthetic Tradition

This thesis looks at the ways in which contemporary Chicana artists and poets are engaging in the process of revisionist mythmaking utilizing two cultural icons which are seen as oppressive models of womanhood in Mexicano and Chicano culture: The Virgin of Guadalupe and La Malinche. The first chapter analyzes how contemporary Chicana artists revise those aspects of the Virgin of Guadalupe's iconography which they perceive as offering limited models of womanhood (passivity, maternity, self-sacrifice). The second chapter looks at how Chicana poets who use the figure of La Malinche reject her image as a whore and traitor to her culture. I show how, through their poetry, they embrace their personal identification with her as the mother of the mestizo race and as a figure who bridges several cultures at once. In the final chapter I argue that the use of these figures is part of a larger process in which these Chicana artists and poets are actively engaged: the creation of an alternate Chicana aesthetic tradition.