We Called Ourselves “Feministas” : A Reading of Ana Castillo’s So Far From God and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique

Eilidh Hall


Abstract


This article explores the ways in which Ana Castillo's 1993 novel So Far From God presents female characters who are more than ‘just’ wives, mothers and daughters (Women Are People, Too!), and celebrates mestiza consciousness as a way to challenge oppression. Therefore this article focuses on the role of women within the specific Mexican American context which differs significantly from Friedan’s white and middle-class perspective as described in The Feminine Mystique. The connections that are drawn between the two texts offer some insight into the different experiences of Chicanas compared with those whom Friedan describes. The hybridity of Castillo’s characters offer methods of contesting an essentialist reading of Chicana/Mexican American women. Through the multiplicity and plurality of the mestiza consciousness, Castillo gives her female characters agency in their own empowerment and liberation. Focusing on communities of women, Castillo articulates a Chicana feminism fuelled by a female-centred spirituality that challenges the subjugation of women.


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