Sociological Theories Sociology of Gender Term Paper

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Sociology and Feminist Theories on Gender Studies

Postmodern Feminism in "Cherrie Moraga and Chicana Lesbianism"

In the article entitled, "Cherrie Moraga and Chicana Lesbianism," author Tomas Almaguer analyzes and studies the dynamics behind Moraga's feminist reading of the Chicano culture and society that she originated from. In the article, Almaguer focuses on three elements that influenced Moraga's social reality as she was growing up: the powerful effect of the Chicano culture, patriarchal orientation, and homosexuality that she experienced within the context of her nationality.

Chicano culture centers on race as an indicator of one's cultural orientation, while patriarchy serves as the ideology that is prevalent in Moraga's social reality. Homosexuality, particularly, lesbianism, is Moraga's release from the somewhat repressing role that she perceives women receive in her culture. Thus, lesbianism becomes Moraga's alternative sexual orientation to a heterosexually conservative Chicano culture. Using the following factors concerning the cultural, social, and gender realities of Moraga, the article goes on to analyze the development of Moraga's lesbianism as the end result of these cultural, social, and gender factors. Using postmodern theory, which is a theory or ideology that "understands masculinity and femininity to cultural categories or social constructions that are subject to interrogation and change," this paper discusses how using this theory, Moraga resorted to lesbianism as her way of "breaking" the barrier that distinguishes and represses femininity to masculinity.

In postmodern theory, femininity is considered as a cultural category and social construction that is subject to change. In Moraga's case, the conservativeness and rigidity of Chicano culture in assigning diverse and changing roles of men
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and women explains the repression of Chicanas in their culture. Moreover, the prevalence of patriarchy in Chicano culture immerses Moraga and other Chicanas to create patriarchy as their social reality, i.e., where they perceive and accept that men should indeed rule women over. It is also important to note that aside from racial similarities and patriarchy, the family as the major social unit of the Chicano society is also influential in proliferating and instilling in the minds of Chicanas that they should remain submissive and repressed, since to do otherwise would mean women are allowing strong ties between and among family members to break up. Thus, because this mindset is instilled in all Chicanos in Moraga's society, "Chicanas often divorce ourselves from conscious recognition of our own sexuality."

As a result of this repression, Moraga's response as a marginalized individual in her culture and society (because of her renewed viewpoint about gender equality and social reality of feminism in the 'Anglocized' culture) is to develop in her psyche homosexuality, specifically lesbianism, in order to assert her role as an individual (most definitely not a woman) in both the Anglo and Chicano society and cultures. Thus, Moraga's attempt to change her social construction of femininity resulted to her "assimilation" to masculinity, and through lesbianism, Moraga assumes the role and psyche of a man in order to become dominant in the Chicano culture and society: "... To definer herself as an autonomous sexual subject, she embraced a... masculine, gender persona, and crystallized a sexual desire for feminine... lovers."

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