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27th of April, 2007 Essay for SO453 - Gender and Post-Colonial Theory Candidate Number - 32061

Introduction After centuries as a scapegoat, in the 1970s la Malinche has found a new political belonging in the Movimiento de las Chicanas, the new voice of La Raza that speaks out, (Vidal, 1971) questioning the political line of the Movimiento Chicano (Moya, 1997). The central point of the political discussion opened by the Chicanas concerns the space for the political demands of emancipation related to gender discrimination, which is inexistent in the discourse and in the practices of the Chicano Movement: Ive been told that the Chicanas struggle is not the same as the white womens struggle. Ive been told that the problems are different and that the Chicanas energies are needed in the barrio and that being feminist and fighting for our rights as women and as human beings is antiChicano and anti-male (Vidal, 1971:12). Mirta Vidal records these words by Elma Barrera in May 1971 in Houston where more than 600 Chicanas met to discuss a response to the Plan Atzlan (1969), formal pillar of the Chicanos Movement. La Malinche was blamed by the Mexican nationalist

La Malinche: A symbol of emancipation for contemporary chicanas?

movement for the role she had as translator and concubine of Corts in the destruction of the pre-Columbian society. She was condemned in the name of La Raza Mestiza and her name came to mean traitor and violated mother of the Mexican Pueblo (Paz, 1985; Tafolla, 1978). Nonetheless, her ambivalence and her stigmas of shame have permitted her name to survive the silence of official history, passing from mouth to mouth in the popular stories. Today Malinche is still a vernacular word: it is the name that the drunks sing in the cantinas, it is the insult that triggers quarrels in the streets, it is the blame against every anonymous women in the widespread gender violence in Mexican domestic spaces. Malinche, Chingada, whore, raped, screwed, corrupted, traitor (Tafolla, 1978, Nevarez 2004). In the 1970s the Chicanas released La Malinche from her traditional definition as scapegoat and she became a symbolic body, a root paradigm (Cypress, 1992), a feminist prototype (Candelaria 1980): a collective name from where the Chicanas took back their history and spoke out. This essay will try to investigate the use of La Malinche by the Chicanas. In order to do this, one needs to track the evolution of La Malinche as a literary and historical figure through the centuries, an evolution that constitutes and shapes the contradictions and symbols

that La Malinche conveys. These ambivalences have been more and more complex to manage in the context of North America where the Chicanas took back the spectre of La Malinche as a discursive weapon to reclaim autonomy from their complex political position as migrants, coloured and women. In order to deepen the analysis of the functional use of la Malinche by the Chicanas feministas, it will be necessary to face some questions: what is the ulterior space opened by the crisis between Chicanos and Chicanas? What is the concrete tactical use of la Malinche to inhabit this space? Which are the productive contradictions of this figure? Three names for one body Malintzin and Doa Marina: two names that meet each other in 1519 during the Conquista of Mesoamerica ruled by Herman Corts. While moving from Yucatan towards Teotihuacn, the Spaniards faced several populations: some were the allies, while others were the subjected or the enemies of Moctezuma, the Aztec emperor who fell in June 1520 defeated by the cruel determination of the Conquistadores. Malintzin and Doa Marina represent the two faces of the clash between these cultures, the violent conquest of Mesoamerica, but the two names belong to the same woman.

Malintzin is the name evoked in the History of Moctezuma. It is the name of the first daughter of a cacique family of Coatzacoalcos, in the South of contemporary Mexico, sold by her mother at the age of nine in order to preserve the inherency of her half-brother (Cypress, 1992). Malintzin travelled as a slave through the different lands of Mesoamerica, learning Nauhatl, the lingua franca of the complex Aztec empire. In March 1519 Tabascans gave her to Cortes, together with other nineteen women, as a gift to achieve an armistice with the Conquistadores (Diaz, 1963: 85 [1580]). After this last transaction, Malintzin was not only forced to abandon her people, but also to lose her name: in the History of Corts she was baptized with the name of Marina, to inscribe her into the words and rituals of the Conquista (Candelaria 1980, Diaz 1963). The names of Malintzin and Marina are written on the same symbolic body. The first is the name of an object of exchange, sold to preserve the patriarchal order of familial power. The second is the name for a slave, imposed to affirm the irrevocable colonial domination of the pre-Columbian cultures. (Harris 2004). But 'Malintzin' and 'Marina' also sketch an ambiguous continuity between Moctezuma and Hernn Corts: her double body is one territory - materially disputed but conceptually shared - on which

both Moctezuma and Corts enact their power. The experience of 'Marina' and 'Malintzin' is an example of how the traditional feminine position has been one of the main battle fields of the Conquista: the female subject conceived as an object to dominate, excluded from any public space of power and from the sphere of production, confined in the domestic and in the social reproduction (Taylor, 2006). The same body reclaims a third name, a name that resists the objectification imposed on her by this History: La Malinche, the tongue of the Spaniard (Candelaria, 1980). By breaking with the official tradition, the character of La Malinche reclaims another history. As a translator and stratega for Corts, she played a central role in the Conquista, explaining to the Spaniards the division among the Mesoamerican peoples, dealing with, as well as for, the indigenous peoples during the wars and being the principal interpreter of Corts during the negotiations with Moctezuma in Teotihuacn in November 1519. And she was the mother of the first Mestizo: Martin Corts. (Mirand and Enriquez, 1981).

Inks: the History that shifts









characteristic of the narrative form used to convey the incredible and mysterious 'discovery' of the new World. This - initially positive historical portrayal does not last for long. In Alvas chronicles (Candelaria, 1980), written a generation after the military campaign on Mexico, La Malinche rapidly becomes a background figure in the epic history of the Conquistadores. As Candelaria proposes Alva was perhaps incapable of adjusting to the anomaly of a females crucial role in molding the otherwise maleshaped events [of la Conquista](1980:5). Through time, the face and the name of Doa Marina do disappear from the history of la Conquista, where there is no longer room for the narration, the exploration and the negotiation that the Malinche was performing. It is Alva that writes over the political and military role of La Malinche and shifts her figure to that of new preacher for the Catholic Church: Marina, the tongue, () was very important in the conversion of the natives and the promulgation of our blessed Catholic Faith (Alva in Candelaria, 1980:5) The discussion of La Malinche as both a vehicle for dialogue and a translator between different cultures is here discarded, deemed counter-productive to the normalizing project of colonial domination that emerges in the XVII century. This erasure is consistent with a significant shift - from military appropriation to economic

representation makes explicit the complexity of this character and the different tactical uses she has been subjected to through the centuries. La Malinche in the History of the Conquistadores The first time that la Malinche appears is in the first pages of Diaz chronicle of la Conquista. Before speaking about the great Moctezuma () I should like to give an account of Doa Marina, who had been a great lady and a Cacique over towns and vassals since her childhood. () Doa Marina was a person of great importance and was obeyed without question by al the Indians of New Spain. () I have made a point of telling this story because without Doa Marina we could not have understood the language of New Spain and Mexico(Diaz 1963: 86-87). As Somonte outlines Doa Marina did not limit herself to being an interpreter only, but rather a collaborator involved in speaking and discussing with the caciques: and with her brilliant mind, persuasion and dialogue were facilitated [for the Spaniards] (Somonte quoted and translated in Candelaria 1980:3) The symbolic alliance between La Maliche's sensual beauty, tactical wisdom and Mayan aristocracy in these first chronicles, is

valorisation - that occurred between the XVII and XVIII centuries, when the project of New Spain as a productive colony of the Spanish Empire arose from the campaigns of discovery and conquest. Blurring the border between the Savage Indian and the Catholic Spaniard, the symbolic figure of La Malinche is ambiguous and dangerous, posing a threat to the disciplinary apparatus of colonial governance. Her face fades away and the Virgen de Guadalupe appears as the new symbolic mother and protector. Guadalupe - as Paz (1985:73) highlights - is pure receptivity (): she consoles, quiets, dries tears, calms passions. The Virgin articulated the complex re-composition of preColombian credence and rituals inside the governance system of the Catholic Church: loyalty, virginity and devotion to The God and The King substituted the sensuality, the ambivalence and the mystery of La Malinche (Taylor, 2006). La Malinche in Mexican History At the hand of the Mexican nationalist writers La Malinche reappears in official History in the XIX century, when she is reinstated to investigate the birth of the Mexican people, defined as La Raza. However, her experiences inhabits a problematic space, because she blurs the linearity of the political production of the

Mexican nation: her body not only represents the subjugation of the Indigenous people, but also the betrayal of the Mother-as-traitor for los hiojs de la chingada (Paz, 1985). The Mestizo as original identity becomes entangled in the violence of the Conquista, in which racial purity is both an aspiration and an impossibility. This is one of the reasons why, in the XIX century several authors tried to produce a parallel history, stigmatizing the Malinchian behaviour and constituting a mythical, lost history to which the birth of Mexican pueblo (Harris, 2006, Nevarez 2004) might refer: Xicontencatl, published anonymously in 1826, and Los martires de Anahuac, 1870, by Eligio Ancona are particularly relevant to illustrate this point (Nevarez 2004). In both of these texts the attempt is to produce a mythopoeisis of the Mestizo origins. In Xicontencatl, Teutila the main character, who represents la Malinche, is a slave sold to Corts: she embodies the Savage who has a natural tendency toward Truth (especially concerning the existence of God) and who would not betray her pueblo: she repels Corts and tries to kill him. Failing in the effort of resisting to the Conquista, she commits suicide to avoid subjection to the Colonial power. As Nevarez argues, The moral of the story is that indigenous women must die to preserver their honour or turn


traitor. This step comes at the cost, however, of denying motherhood (2004:75). Los martires de Anahuac, instead, recounts the history of Gelitzli: violated by the Conquistadores, she finds refuge with her child among the Aztec populations. Here, the traditional religious ministers affirm that she must give up her son to calm the fury of the God Quetzalcoatl and the violence of the Conquista. The last scene of this account is the ritual sacrifice of the child accompanied by the impotent pain of Gelitzli. The newborn represents the possible positive ancestor of La Raza and his mother the positive counterpart of La Malinche: her desperation thus represents the pain of the whole Mexican pueblo that constantly and in vain searches history for the proud and free origin of La Raza (Nevarez, 2004). In these narrations, the mythic linearity of preColombian history as origin of the homogeneity and the unity of Mexican identity (Nevarez, 2004) - is proposed in opposition to the heterogeneity of its population where La Malinche shows the Nation as similar to the Bhabhas proposal of the Nation as a "liminal signifying space that is internally marked by the discourses of minorities, the heterogeneous histories of contending peoples, antagonistic authorities and tense location of cultural difference" (Bhabha, 1994:212) . As Nevarez highlights, these mythopoeises establishes their bases in the 'moral' that these stories could have

existed but the victor fails to mention [them], and the author takes up the challenge of adding to the chronicles (2004: 74). This movement takes place on the terrain of a complex and discontinuous Mexican history: here long dictatorships ruled by post-colonial elites continuously and brutally correspond to popular Levantamientos, producing a permanent dichotomization of the Mexican society along the process of nationalization and independence: Indigenous/Spanish and campasinos/aristocracy dualities dominate the cultural representation as well as the social composition of Mexico (Meyer and Sherman 1995). It is in this dichotomy that the representation of La Malinche appears in Orozco, 1926, in which her downcast eyes symbolize the weakness of the indigenous population. On the other hand, Orozco represents the double-face of the Spanish power: Cortes, warmly takes the hand of La Malinche while preventing her from helping her people, massacred beneath her feet (Taylor, 2006). In representing La Malinche as an independent figure, another image, this time by Frida Kahlo, is the first to signal the complex role of La Malinche in the history of the Mexican feminine subject. Interestingly, Kahlo takes the name of La Malinche as a pseudonym for her own diaries, blurring any difference between the painter and her subject. Kalhos portraits of La Malinche, as those by Rivera in Palacio Nacional of



Mexico City, convey the sadness and the loneliness of La Malinche; but make explicit her political function during the Conquista. However, this complex vision disappears once more in the 1960s when la Malinche becomes a focal point in the narrative analysis of Mexican identity by Octavio Paz (1985), El Labirinto de la Soledad, which situates La Malinche in the transnational context of the Mexican pueblo spread out in the United States. The violation of La Malinche here stands in for the shame and eternal humiliation of La Raza (Paz, 1985; Taylor 2006) and the origin of the Chicanos non-participation in public and political spaces. Through this text Paz accounts for Machismo as a social behaviour (Mirand and Enriquez, 1981): presenting the weakness of the women as foundational to any understanding of Mexican male aggression. Paz here writes la Malinche into the Movimiento Chicano through an intellectual framework that re-inscribes the exclusion of Chicanas from the collective articulations of Mexican identity: Every women is torn and open by the man, is the Chingada. In a certain sense all of us, by the simple fact of being born of woman, are hijos de la Chingada. But the singularity of Mexican resides, I believe, in his violent, sarcastic humiliation of the Mother and his no less violent affirmation of the Father (1985:85-86). In this the view

of la Malinche is the root of the abject passivity (Paz, 1985) of the woman: she does not resist violence, but is an inert heap of bone, blood and dust. Her taint is constitutional and resides () in her sex. This passivity, open to the outside world, causes her to lose her identity; she is the Chingada. She loses her name; she is no one; she disappears into nothingness; she is Nothingness. (). And as a small boy will not forgive his mother if she abandons him to search for his father, the Mexican people have not forgiven La Malinche for her betrayal. (Paz 1985:87). As outlined, from the Spaniard chronicles to Mexican literature, the representation of La Malinche changes deeply. At once, she has come to represent the traitor of pure origins, to disclose the concrete process of La Conquista, to remind us of the historic violence of pre-Columbian societies, and to reveal the primary contradictions of the Mexican Nation. As a result La Malinche can be read symbolically (Taylor, 2006) as a counternationalist and therefore dangerous for the project of the maleshaped Mexican Nation (Candelaria 1980). The Chicanas and the reinterpretation of La Malinche As emerges from the former paragraphs, the Malinche figure has been represented in the Mexican history as both the traitor of her



own roots and as the passive receptor of colonial power. But the tricky linear and a-historical proposal of Paz has more and more dangerous consequences since his proposal regards not only the Mexican context but also the South of the United States where the identity of Chicanos has appeared since the second half of the XIX century. Indeed, if it is true, as Annalisa Taylor underlines, that Mestizo nationalist construction cast Malinche and Corts as racialized and gendered icons of the two halves () of modern Mexican nationhood, one half Indian, female and dominated and the other half male, European and power hungry(Taylor, 2006:825), the context of the 1960s anti-colonial, anti-imperial, labour and civil rights struggles, reshaped the processes of racialization and gendering inside the rise of the Chicano Movement. It is not for chance, thus, that, since the 1960s, the Chicana Feministas strongly rejects the traditional point of view of La Malinche. Firstly, the Chicanas underline the complex articulation of La Malinche character: is she the princess or the sold out daughter? Is she the abandoned lover or the violated concubine? The involuntary mother or the one separated from her child? (Moya, 1997). The Chicanas point of view on La Malinche eventually becomes more and more complex while she is recognized as innately loyal yet tragically betrayed by those she loved and trusted

the most: her mother, her lover and her son Martin. (Price, 2001:251). From here a process of identification from the Chicanas to la Malinche arises, when during the 1970s the Chicanos movement refuse any feminist demand, betraying the loyalty of the women to the claims of La Raza. She is a positive symbol because malinche has become identified with vendido, or traitor labels which Chicana feminists have also endured (Mirnad and Enriquez, 1981:242). Since then, as Moya argues, "Chicana feminists have addressed the myth of Malinche and several have attempted to recuperate and revalue her as a figure of empowering or empowered womanhood"(1997:130). As read in the following poem by Tafolla (1978) they give new voice to the Malinche: they want to hear her words to understand the genealogy of gender power inside Mexican society (Pratt, 1993). Her thus voice becomes a strategic body from which to affirm their autonomy and disobedience.
Yo soy la Malinche. My people called me Malintzn Tenepal the Spaniards called me Doa Marina I came to be known as Malinche



and Malinche came to mean traitor. And you came. My dear Hernn Corts, to share your civilization to play a god, ... and I began to dream . . . I saw and I acted. Another world

() My homeland ached within me (but I saw another!).

a world yet to be born. And our child was born ... and I was immortalized Chingada!

I saw our world And I saw yours And I saw another. But Chingada I was not. Not tricked, not screwed, not traitor. For I was not traitor to myself I saw a dream and I reached it. Another world ()


No one else could see! Beyond one world, none existed.



la raza. La raaaaa-zaaaaa . . .

In the 1950s, the social exclusion of this population implied a marginal participation of the Chicanos both in the North American labour movements of the first half of the XX century and in the Black American movements for civil rights after the second world

La Malinche here is an explorer of the world to come. She is not anymore the object of the violation, but the subject of an action that performs in a context the violence of la Conquista - that produces a new space where neither loyalties nor rules are prefixed. La Malinche escapes from the objective function imposed to the women both in the pre-Columbian and the Spaniard culture (Pratt, 1993) and represent the political escape of the Chicanas in the face of the anti-feminist reaction of the Chicanos Movement. This strategic role of la Malinche arose inside the specific history of Chicano Movement, when the perspective of the Mexican pueblo was not rooted anymore only in the national space of the Mexico (Paz, 1985). Both the sale of the north part of the country to United States in the 1850s and the (politically and economically motivated) migration flows of the first half of the XX century (Meyer and Sherman, 1995) produced a significant settlement of Mexican population in the major cities of the southern part of the United States.

war. It is in the 1950s when the Chicanos started to organize both for labour and social rights that, in their organization, probably due to the double exclusion from the broader movements, two important features emerged: firstly the Movimiento coped with the analysis of the internal colonialism of United States and linked itself to the Mexican revolution and to the anti-colonialist movements (Young, 1972; Mirand and Enriquez, 1981); secondly, from here emerged the identitarian definition of La Raza as subject and the Barrio as strategic space for organization (Plan de Aztlan, 1969). These resulted in the involvement of the community and its different social subjects in the struggle, but also led to the subordination of any other issue to the Chicanos demands and to their relegation of any internal clash to the principle of loyalty and membership. In Denver in 1969 the Plan de Aztlan affirms the priority of La Raza claims over any other demands: this implies a priority of Chicano ethnic identity over any other subjective layer (Plan de Aztlan, 1969). Likewise, the message is clear towards any foreigner out of the community: For la Raza todo. Fuera de la Raza nada



(Plan de Aztlan, 1969). Autonomy, loyalty and unity are the tenets of the Movimiento. Feministas, vendidas, malinches When the Plan de Aztlan ratifies the internal political Pact of the Movimiento Chicano, the rupture and the internal clash with the feminist Chicanas is an open battlefield. As Longauex y Vasquez recorded when the time came for the women to report to the full conference, the only thing that the workshop representative had to say was this: it was the consensus of the group that the Chicana woman does not want to be liberated (Vidal, 1971). The refusal of any political role for women could not have been more bitter, but many Chicanas were already rejecting the philosophy that a womans place is in the home as a mother of a large family. The Chicanos excuse was that they were rejecting their culture when they attempted to reclaim rights, to be visible in the public sphere, to study in the universities: [the Chicanas] response to the charge that they betrayed their culture and heritage was Our culture, hell! (Mirand and Enriquez, 1981:253). From this moment until 1971, several groups emerged opening local chapters in the college campuses, writing for several

periodicals, organizing interpersonal networks of communication, discussing their issues in womens panels in the Chicano conferences and opening feminine projects for civil rights and labour struggles (Mirand and Enriquez, 1981). This emergence of a spontaneous movement to affirm the will of liberation of the mujeres chicanas led to the Conferencia de Mujeres por la Raza held in Houston in 1971 (Moya, 1997). At the time, Chicanas opened different fields of struggle: they self organized as women in the textile factories and in the farms (Young, 1972), they launched campaigns for health and education involving the whole Barrio community (Mirand and Enriquez, 1981), they problematized the sphere of sexuality, starting a tough conflict with the Catholic Church, strategic ally for the Chicano Movement (Vidal, 1971). Their movement in the political space was unpredictable and they did not respect any established belonging: the affirmation of autonomy of the Chicanas challenged any classical conception of membership and introduced in the debate the topics of temporality, reciprocity, tactics and strategies for political identities. In other words, the attempt of Chicanas feminists was to perform a variable geometry of alliances, which was transversal to all the relations of powers in which they were inscribed. In order to reclaim their political space, they (had to) deconstruct both the



linearity of the internal colonial opposition (imposed by the Chicanos) and the universality of gender emancipation (proposed by the anglo-feminists ), moving among these discursive fields in tactical instead of ideological terms. In order to deal with this double political opposition, the Chicanas needed to root their struggle in the Mexican revolutionary soldaderas - the Mexican feminist who had an important role during the Madero and Zapatas revolutions, conquering rights and political power. Through this rooting process, the Chicanas movement also affirmed its political independence and non-negotiable egoism (Candelaria, 1980). In other words, they did not look for any recomposition in the existent political space but for a new path and new roads of subjectivation (Mirand and Enriquez 1981); in this decision to act and move towards an ulterior space, the character of La Malinche was strategically useful for both the symbols and the ambivalences she brought with her. Exploring the third space

The first link between the Chicanas and la Malinche was produced by the Chicanos who, when the feministas articulated their position as Mexican-American and women, accused them of being Malinchistas, resurrecting the connotation of La Malinche as traitor. The Chicanas decided to inhabit this pejorative brand because, reusing Bhabha words, they recognized themselves as vernacular cosmopolitans (Bhabha, 2002: 24) that have to translate between cultures and across them in order to survive, not in order to assert the sovereignty of a civilized class or the spiritual autonomy of a revered ideal (Bhabha, 2002: 24). This permanent movement for survival linked them to la Malinche: she has also occupied a territory filled with contradictions, but did not renounce from this (imposed) position (Taylor, 2006) to tactically move to reach her goals: negotiating and dealing she abandoned the lines of resistance, of opposition and of frontal struggles, problematizing, beyond any nationalistic rhetoric, both the utopian history and the everyday life of the Chicano society. Disclosing this rhetoric, la Malinche challenged the conception of the History proposed by both Paz and by the Mexican nationalist: sold by her family, she was forced to renounce any membership to any people. Instead, she opened up an unpredictable third space (Bhabha, 1994 or another world, Tafolla 1978), learning that hard

It is the case of the rupture with the Chicanos as well it is with the Anglo-feminism from which they need to affirm their autonomy: according to Mirand and Enriquez (1981), the Anglo-feminists were trying to shape the emerging movement, proposing gender as universal vector for emanciapation through an alliances of women issues, back grounding and hiding the different focuses on class or racial division in the American Society.



lesson of ambivalence and forbearance (Bhabha, 2002: 24). In this space of ambiguity, she has to negotiate her identity, abandoning her inherited identity without any possibility of inclusion in the Spaniard society. In this space, both the Chicanas and la Malinche experienced the impossibility of belonging, because their freedom as women was not figured in either their mythic origins, nor in the political project of La Raza (Pratt 1993; Vidal, 1971). It is from this positionality, where identity is constructed and re-constructed, that they situated their own identity and built their strategy for emancipation. La Malinches project, as Tafolla (1978) outlines, posited another world and another pueblo, with a view and a strategy that were grounded in her concrete situation. Similarly, The Chicanas neither abandoned the Chicanos struggle, nor denied themselves a strategy based in their specific struggles as women. They renounced universalism, while affirming the need for an alliance of singularities (Mirand and Enriquez, 1981). Yet the decision to inhabit this space is complex and interesting at the same time: as argued by Taylor, re-using Spivak (1990), la Malinche [becomes] a symbol of the postcolonial condition [] finding herself in the ambivalent position of having to critic a space one inhabits intimately(Taylor, 2006:825): the force of the extreme choice of La Malinche for the Chicanas discourse

resides properly in the possibility to find in this space she opens a critical but original position and a voice to use strategically for their aims. Moya, however, underlines here the risk of an extreme use of La Malinche: also if the experience and the theorizing of marginalized or oppressed people is important for arriving at a more objective understanding of the world (), I would suggest that neither marginality nor survival are sufficient goals for a feminist project(Moya, 1997:131). Conclusions More than even Corts, or Moctezuma, it is important to note that it is La Malinche who is blamed for the violence of La Conquista. We might consider this fact in light of two primary threats La Malinche has come to pose: one, the impossibility of the pure origins, and two, her disclosure of the concrete memory of la Conquista, with its violence, its materiality and its choices. As observed, the complexity and the ambivalence of Malinches movement between different identities destabilises the Mexican nationalist project: La Malinche unveils some real aspects of the preColumbian societies, the division of the peoples, the presence of the slave system, the condition of the woman, showing the original and contradictory complexity of the Mexican Utopia.



This position is key to understanding why her figure has been so important for the Mexican feminists, involved in two battles at the same time: for their rights as Mexican and as women. This power of La Malinche becomes stronger in the North American context, where the contradictions of the social Chicano Movement regarding identity and machismo explode in the 1970s. In this multiple, historical and political rupture, that involves both the images and the language of their original culture, the Chicanas open a third space and inhabit it through the symbolic body and the collective name of La Malinche (Tafolla, 1978). Through this appropriation, there is a shift in the historical and symbolic function of La Malinche, that assumes a tactical role in the definition of a strategic identity for the Chicanas: in this shift the historically negative connotation of La Malinche fades away and some concrete dimensions of her experience become visible once again, strategically useful to the political project of emancipation of the Chicana feminists in the contemporary context. However as Moya outlines, the marginal position of La Malinche can only be a starting point for any feminist political project: in this sense it is interesting to look at two trajectories that the figure of La Malinche might open up in the contemporary

context. The first is the de-universalization proposed by the Chicana emancipation project, which affirms that equality and freedom are "not negotiable. Anyone opposing the right of women to organize into their own form of organization has no place in the leadership of the movement. FREEDOM IS FOR EVERYONE". However, we might also look to the definition of La Malinche proposed by Donna Harraway, that inscribes her in a new space of struggle as cyborg mother: the story of the indigenous woman Malinche, mother of the mestizo bastard race of the new world, master of languages, and mistress of Corts [carries] special meaning [] Sister Outsider hints at the possibility of world survival not because of her innocence, but because of her ability to live on the boundaries, to write without the founding myth of original wholeness [] Malinche was mother here, not Eve before eating the forbidden fruit (Haraway 1990). While contradictory, these two proposed trajectories for La Malinche, one singularizing, the other re-inscribing her into a posthuman universality, might, in their tension pose La Malinche as an enfant perdue, a living, political prototype for the lexicon of transnational feminism.



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