The Corona Family: Always Moving Forward, Never Looking Back


My family has gone through major changes over the past years. Sometimes I like to think that there is nothing we cannot handle because we have experienced so much. It used to be difficult living under the same roof because my parents’ old-fashioned traditions would make my siblings and I feel too controlled and restricted. My father dominated our home environment so sometimes I felt as though I could not express any feelings because I was scared of being called too weak or too sensitive. As I got older, I began to notice the negative effects of my family’s internalized misogyny and patriarchal ideologies and was determined to break the cycle in order to live in a healthier home environment. In the film Real Women Have Curves, I was able to relate to Ana’s character the most because her independence was commonly frowned upon and although it was exhausting having to deal with the harsh judgment of her loved ones, making herself happy became the top priority. I am currently on the journey of growing and becoming my own person and it makes me so happy that my family took the chance to join me along for the ride.

My oldest brother Roman enlisted in the Marines when I was ten years old. He was not entirely involved during my teenage years so I always felt some kind of weird disconnection with him during the few times he would come back home to visit. We would try talking about personal material but it was awkward. I felt as though he was extremely judgmental of women and used derogatory language to describe them; it made me feel really uncomfortable around him. I thought I was never going to build a strong brother-sister bond with him. Fortunately, everything changed once I started college. He moved up to Seattle with his new wife and was able to obtain his dream job. He started messaging me more often asking if I needed any type of support for school. We began to update each other on our daily activities and I was surprised by how much we had in common. He started listening to my opinions more often and tried his best to understand my perspectives. This spring, my mother and I finally got the opportunity to visit Roman and his wife in Seattle. I got to see another side of him I had never experienced before. We stayed up late exchanging music playlists and watched the best movies. His change in persona occurred when he befriended men in his workplace that would abuse their wives; through these individuals, he was able to learn how detrimental badmouthing was to another being. He said that he needed to change because he would not be able to handle someone doing that to my mother, sister, and me. I hope our bond keeps getting stronger throughout the years.

Although my oldest brother was not around much when I was growing up, my second oldest brother and sister were there to help my parents watch over me. I used to get so irritated with them because they tried to discipline me and I thought it was unfair because I thought it was not their job to control me. They were only trying to keep me on a positive path and steer me away from trouble. Today, our relationship is strong and full of love for one another. We cannot go a single day without talking to each other and there is never a dull moment while being with them. They can count on me whenever they need something because I would drop anything in the world just to make sure they are okay.

This summer, I was granted the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Virginia. I have been away from my family before, but this was the first time where I was going to be living across the country for two months with no way to drive down to visit them when I got homesick. I was terrified because I thought that the distance would make us feel less connected to one another. I did not want to feel left out or neglected. From the moment I arrived to Virginia, my mother began messaging throughout the day asking me for updates on the people I was meeting and the work I was dedicating my time to. Every morning, I woke up to a sweet message from her wishing me a good day. Whenever she would call, I could hear my father in the background excitedly ask her to put me on speaker so we could all be part of the conversation. This distance made my father and I grow closer when I came back home because he said that he felt a small emptiness in his heart while I was away and did not want me to think that could not express myself comfortably at home like I did in other places. That is when I noticed that he was finally okay with the independence that the women in my family were trying to obtain. My parents, brother, and sister started sending me pictures of themselves during outings just so I could get a feeling of being included regardless of how much distance was between us. It felt great knowing I will always belong, even when I am away.

My mother has always been my biggest inspiration and motivation. When I was younger, I would throw tantrums when she would scold me for not trying harder at school, not being more involved in extracurricular activities, and being neglectful of things that would have been helpful for my future. I used to scream while asking her why she felt she needed to control my life that way and she would calmly respond with, “Because I love you.” Now that I am older, my mother has told me that the only reason she was so hard on me was because she wanted me to be independent and not let anyone, especially a man, shape my dreams and future. In “Beneath the Shadows of the Freeway,” author Lorna Dee Cervantes writes, “You’re too soft… always were. You’ll get nothing but shit. Baby, don’t count on nobody.” This made me think a lot about my mother because there are moments where I feel as though she thinks I am not standing up for myself enough because people always seem to hurt me, especially men. She may be really harsh by reminding me that I am too sensitive sometimes, but I understand it is because she does not want me to live a life under the control of a man; she does not want me to experience long periods of unhappiness like she did. She does not regret anything in her life because she loves her family and will do anything to keep us together, but she does wish she was able to find her voice sooner and not let men within the family keep her from expressing herself.

Although the men in my family are a little more aware of the their behavior towards women, for years they would made us feel self-conscious and ugly because they would bash our appearances, specifically our figures. I first got my period at the age of eleven (fifth grade). My body started going through changes that I was too young to understand. I started developing breasts and my hips were getting wider. When I turned thirteen, I had a curvy figure, one that I felt comfortable in and did not think too much of. One day, my father brought up the topic of weight during our family bonding time. He began to recommend that I use the treadmill because it seemed as though I was getting too pesada for my age. That was the first time I took a long look in the mirror and felt as though everything about me was wrong. I started to go on long runs and soon after, I developed an eating disorder that would haunt me till now. When I started college, my father would keep making comments about my appearance saying that I would look even prettier if I lost a little weight. By this time, I had had enough with his opinions especially since they disrespected me. I was able to sit down and talk to him about how insignificant it made me feel when he would try to restrict my eating habits and judged the way I looked. That was the first time he was able to understand the damage he caused me by saying those hurtful comments. In the article “Queer Aztlán”, author Cherrie Moraga states, “What was right about Chicano Nationalism was its commitment to preserving the integrity of the Chicano people…What was wrong about Chicano Nationalism was its institutional heterosexism, its inbred machismo, and its lack of a cohesive national political strategy” (Moraga, 226). This made me think about my father and the other men in my family because through their determination to keep our culture in tact, they felt the need to shame other women’s individuality thinking that was the right way to go about it. Sometimes our movements need to understand that unity means building each other up, not tearing each other down. His actions caused me a lot of pain, but I am glad that I can finally be open about my feelings to my father because it has brought us closer.

I feel as though I am in a better place now because of the changes my family has gone through over the past years. My father is a bit softer now and my brothers let my sister and I be more independent. Every time we have disagreements, both the men and women try to talk about it maturely instead of trying to silence one another. In “Machismo Is Part of Our Culture,” author Marcela Christine Lucero- Trujillo addresses how both men and women always remind the presence of patriarchy among our families, but to them it is not seen as negative because it is so embedded within Latina/o communities. This made me think about how the women in my family were so afraid to defend one another when the men would offend our presence; this contributed to the cycle of patriarchy in our family because the silence among women made it seem as though it was alright to be dominated by men. One thing I learned through the process of shifting my family dynamic is that it is okay for one’s culture to go through changes because that means it is evolving. Ideas that worked back then probably will not have the same effect if they are practiced today and that should not be viewed as negative because there should always be an open door for positive change.

Family A Super Natural Force

This is my family and what makes us a family.

This is my family and what makes us a family.

The definition of family and its components are so broad. Family is what shapes every single one of us since the moment we take our first breath. Family isn’t just about blood but family is what each individual defines it to be. Family isn’t just about if you have a mom, dad, siblings and a dog. Family is about maybe having two moms, two dads, no parents, ten siblings, zero siblings, being adopted, single parents and perhaps a snake as a pet. Family is also what can break your heart but fix it as well. Sometimes the love for our family can affect how we go about the world. However, one thing is for sure and that is that family makes the world go around.

I don’t usually like to consider myself a child from a divorced family. However, my parents did get divorced when I was 20 and was still living with them. Unlike other people their divorce didn’t come as a tragedy but it came in the form of a blessing. I grew up in a violent home filled with fear and tears. My mother was in a physically abusive relationship for nine years until she got her green card and sent my dad (bottom right) to prison. Like the typical situations she got back with him because he promised change.  Although the physical violence ended the verbal abusive was far worse. My mother never left him because she was always told she wouldn’t make it on her own. That she needed a man in her life if not she will live miserably alone. I remember before going to bed my mother would always tell me that no man should ever treat me the way my father treated her. She would tell my every day to stay in school so I can get an education and to be independent. I was in a verbally abusive home by own father yet, I still loved him with all my heart. It is crazy how you can love a man who causes so much pain. However, I knew I didn’t want them together. As much as I admired my mother I knew I didn’t want to be like her. I didn’t want to be oppressed by my Latino culture, I refused to succumb to the man’s machismo and I refused to be just a housewife. My mother was my anchor, my cheerleader and my motivation to succeed. As you can see in the upper left picture, my mother couldn’t be happier the day I got my AA in Psychology. That was all for her because I did it for her and I.

Aside from my mother, I strive to show my brothers that women are not to be treated as our father treated our mom. Growing up with younger twin siblings has got to be one of the best things in the world. We are only five years apart. As you can see in the bottom left picture I seem like the little sister instead. We would find refuge in our selves when our father would beat our mom. We would make promises that we would one day we’d take our mom and that they would never be like him. I felt like our rough childhood created this unbreakable bond between the three of us. I am amazed at my endless love for this two little humans.  As we entered our teen years we discovered that we had a love for cars. In the middle of the bad we would find happiness in cars, talking about them, going to car shows and so much more. Both of my twin brothers are now in college and are happily pursing careers in the car industry. We like to reflect on how we all got a passion for cars since we were young. Even when we get together that is all we talk about. My mother says she had three cars instead of 3 humans. My brothers and I are inseparable. I love them more than I can explain in words, I would kill for them, I would go to prison for them. They are the definition of ride or die.

As you can tell I love my family. We have gone through so much together that you create a bond that can’t be broken. Unfortunately, as much as we try sometimes our past can negatively. One of my brothers shows signs of machismo which is where we tend to clash sometimes. The other one refuses to get married one day because he fears a failed marriage.  Our family dynamic has influenced each one of us differently even though we went through the same exact thing. Family gives us strength, it shapes our present, it shapes our future, and is our motor that keeps us going. Thanks to my mother’s motivation I went to college, thanks to my dad’s machismo I dare to speak up and thanks to my brothers I know what love is.

A Family that Loves, Learns, and Grows

A Family that Loves, Learns, and Grows


My family has always been the type to do everything together. It is rare for us to not plan a football Sunday, backyard bbq, or some kind of day for all of us to spend time together. We truly symbolize what it means to be a close family. There are five of us living in my house right now: my dad, mom, sister, cousin and myself. In my immediate family it is my dad, mom, two sisters and me. My older sister recently married and had a girl. So as you can see, my poor dad is surrounded with nothing but girls and my brother-in-law (when he isn’t at work). My house is dominated by the girls. I truly love the dynamics of my family. There have been several times when I invite people to come hangout at my house and I am repeatedly told that I am blessed with the family I have. My family is the a perfect(and not so perfect) representation of what it means to love, learn, and grow.

My mother created the life full of love that she wanted for herself and her family. My mother was born in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico and came to the United States at the age of three. From a young age she knew what it was like to have to care for yourself and work hard. She is the reason our family is so full of love. My mom is the reason I have such a close relationship with my sisters. Every since I can remember she would tell us, you will have a lot of best friends but no one will take the place of your sisters. She taught us just how special it was to be a good person to everyone. She was the first person I ever looked up to.

The relationship that my mother and my father had was very influential to me. My parents always showed each other respect, support, and love. There was never a time when I questioned the actions of either parent. Unlike the machismo attitudes that exist in most Chicano families, my family practiced respect and equality. This is something that will always be in my mind and it is something I expect from the person I am with. The traditional patriarchal family is something we have shied away from and we reproduce a more of a woman family. The role of the traditional Mexican woman is not something you’ll see in my family. We have always been taught to work hard, follow our dreams, and never rely on anyone to take care of you. My parents have really emphasized the importance of independence, self-respect, and love into our family and making sure that we practice those characteristics as well.

Education was always something my parents and extended family has encouraged and expected us to go after. My grandmother has a third grade education. My parents have a junior college education. Their motto was that if we didn’t want to go to college then we had to get a job and move out as soon as possible. My sister and I will be the first in our family to graduate with our bachelor’s degree and we owe that to our family support system. Throughout the five generations of family that I have seen grow, I have noticed a shift in the focus of school and education. The social and cultural factors of all the different generations have influenced that. If my mother was born into a rich family, she would have had the opportunity to concentrate on her education but instead she and my grandmother were busy working to support a household. My parents were fortunate to find each other and create a life they both wanted and I am lucky enough to be able to work and go to school thanks to the foundation my parents have built.

Everyone in my family has a strong sense self, growth, and adventure. I believe this is something that started with the oppression my grandmother felt when she was trying to raise 5 children and go through a divorce. In her later life and into my mom’s adult life, my grandmother began to find who she really was outside of defining herself with a man. She has inspired all of us to travel, learn new things, and find who we really are outside of the typical 9-5 routine that is promoted by American life.  Every time I see her she reminds me to continue to better myself and pursue all the things that make me happy.

I have found that I emphasize loving, learning, and growing, just as much as my family has done to me. I notice this with the way I interact with my five year old niece/god daughter. She is the smartest kid I know and I really give the family credit for it. We have always explained things to her from a young age. We always answer all the questions she has (no matter how insignificant they may seem). We always take her to new places and let her grow as a child. As her godmother, I want her to know that she can achieve great things and be happy. She is the future generation of our family and I want her to carry this sense of family with her wherever she goes.

La Vida Es Bella


It was hard for me to pick what pictures I should include in my photo collage since I am lucky enough to have so many beautiful moments captured on camera. I will begin by describing the pictures on my collage in relation to who’s in the picture. The first picture is a photograph of myself and my favorite hockey player, Anze Kopitar. The second picture going down is a photo of me and my only sister, Mariel, posing with the Stanley Cup which for those of you who don’t know, the Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded in the NHL presented to the team who wins in the playoffs. The third picture down is a photograph of my father, my sister, and myself in our hockey jerseys. The next row includes a picture of my boyfriend and myself, a picture of me and my best friends at the SlutWalk, and the last picture in the row is a picture of my family, my sister, father, myself, and my mother at my sister’s graduation. The last row is a picture of my grandfather and myself when I was a three years old. The next picture is a photograph of my nieces, my niece Sasha who is 3 years old, and my niece Minerva who is 3 months old. The last picture in my collage is a photograph taken when I was 5 years old that includes my sister, and my cousins, Pamela, Sergio and Eduardo.

As you can tell by looking at the first row going down, and as I mentioned in my bio at the beginning of class we are a family that is super into hockey. It’s something that not only bonds me and my sister, but also my dad. Unfortunately, my mother hated going to Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Kings play, but we do watch it at home as a family when were unable to go. I love that it’s the one thing we can do together, we usually go to a game every weekend during the season when everyone’s off work or if not you can catch us gathered around the TV cheering on our team. Its’ really nice to have something that we can all do together and that we can all talk about, I just went to a preseason game last night and it was nice coming home and my parents asking me about who won, who scored, how many fights there was, it’s fun to come home and have my family interested in something that I am super interested in. I know some of my friends who aren’t into sports say that they were not allowed to watch sports as young girls because it was for boys and they had to go play with their dolls. I feel lucky that my parents never told us that and that they allowed us to watch sports as young girls. I decided to include the picture of myself and my favorite Anze Kopiter as well because it just feels like home when I’m at the games, I always call it my church, because it’s the place I feel most at peace. About 6 years ago I was going through a really hard time and was really depressed, and my sister dragged me out of bed to go to a hockey game when all I wanted to do was die… Literally, it was a really low point in my life and her dragging me out of bed and taking me to a game really picked up my spirts and helped me get out of this weird funk I had been in for a few months. I always give credit to my hockey team for helping me get out of a really bad depression. The next photo in my collage is the one of me and my boyfriend, I included that because he’s been my rock for the last two years he has supported me through all the ups and downs. He is so supportive when it comes to all my goals and dreams, he’s been helping me with a short film I’m trying to get finished which is really nice because I know he believes in my dreams. I do notice the differences between us though culturally, we come from a different background, him being white. Our families are completely different, his parents never really cared about what he was doing after he turned 18 and he has to take care of himself, as for my family I’m 25 and my parents still help me and let me live at home. At his home he comes home and has to cook and clean for himself while I come home and have a nice cooked meal from my mom waiting for me. Also my family Is really close to one another and his isn’t and I always tell him how I think it’s so weird because I’m always with my family. I’ve also unfortunately experienced a lot of racism with his family especially his father. His father, who is a Donald Trump supporter has told me that he would deport me and send me back on the “big green bus” even though I’m a US citizen. Our worlds are just so different. The middle picture in the second row is a picture of me and my girlfriends at the SlutWalk last year. The SlutWalk is an event started to end rape culture. I am extremely passionate about ending rape culture, and it’s so great to share this with my friends. It’s such a great event where I am able to tell my story and listen to hundreds of other stories from other women like myself and also to come together with women who share the same drive for bringing an end to rape culture. The rest of the pictures in my collage are of my family. I included the one of my grandfather and myself because he was my best friend, he supported me through everything and was my biggest fan. He was so loving and kind. He unfortunately passed away in January and it’s still hard for me to deal with every day. He was a huge feminist who believed I could accomplish everything and he would always tell me focus on myself and not worry about boys. I try harder every day to be a good person and to make sure I accomplish my dreams so that I can make him proud. The picture of my sister graduating represent the importance of education in my family. my parents never went to college so they remind us every day how import it is for us to pursuit higher education. My mom always tells me that no one can ever take my education away, and that it will help make my life easier. My mom was unable to finish high school so I think part of my pursuit of higher education is for her, I love coming home and telling her about everything I’ve been learning in all my classes. As for my sister, she is my role model, she is an engineer who works so hard. I want to get my degree and also go to Grad school and make them all proud. The pictures of my nieces represents my future. I love those two little girls more than anything in this world and everything I do is for them. I want to graduate and get a good job so that I can spoil them. I want to be someone they can look up too. I want to be someone they can come to when they have troubles. I want to protect them from the world, I think that’s why it’s so important for me to be a voice to end rape culture because I don’t ever want them to be slut shammed or catcalled, or raped. I included the last picture with my cousins and sister because ever since we were kids, we have always been super close and I think it’s because of how we were raised. As Next of Kin mentions the importance of the family. All my aunts and mom would get us together as much as possible and we even lived together for a while when we were really poor. We all have a really close bond and always have each other’s backs and I can only hope that the next generation of kids will also be this close. I do laugh at the picture because it shows gender roles, in the picture I’m the bride getting married to my cousin, Sergio. I find it funny that we were playing wedding, I was five years old what did I know about marriage. I do remember we were allowed to play anything we wanted, we use to always play power rangers and no I wasn’t the pink power ranger, I was the blue one. I also remember my boy’s cousins playing Barbie’s with us, they would get their G. I Joes instead of the Kens and play with us, which I think is cool because I’ve also heard stories where boys aren’t allowed to play with the girls. I think my family has instilled a lot of hard work, drive, and also the drive to push traditional gender roles and I’m thankful for that.

La Vida es un Carnaval

La Vida es un Carnaval

I titled my family collage “La vida es un carnaval”, Celia Cruz’s song resonates with me in particular because for a long time I was depressed. Now that I am better, I say “La vida es un carnaval” because I appreciate my family now. Although being with my family is not always easy it is definitely a privilege. In my collage I referenced two important aspects, my nuclear family and extended family. In my nuclear family the gender roles are not so closely observed. In my extended family, there is a definite line drawn between a man and a woman. I will attempt to explain how these interpretations of gender roles change through the different generations in my family and how as a cohesive group, my family both nuclear and extended have placed family, above all else as their priority. I will be referencing the pictures in my collage beginning with the top left picture as first, the top right as second, the bottom left and third, and the bottom right as fourth.

In the first picture I have both of my sons, David on the left and Daniel on the right. This picture represents the notion that gender norms are learned in the household, namely the mother reproduces gender norms for her children to imitate. I included the picture because in the article titled “Chicana/o Family Structure and Gender Personality: Chodorow, Familism and Psychoanalytic Sociology Revisited”  authors Segura and Pierce point out that “mothering happens in a social context” and that “factors of race, class culture, or history enter either into a label (conscious or unconscious) identity, or they shape the particular early object-relational and family patterns”. As a mother, I know that I teach my children gender norms. I teach them about my culture, depending on the social political world that surrounds me, and my perspective influences their conceptualizations of family and the outside world. In particular, my partner and I try to be open minded on how children learn, have a right to express themselves, and may develop interests outside of what gender norms dictate for them. The hope is that in the future our children will live less gendered lives and grow to be caring, assertive, pragmatic individuals. Above all we push the idea that family is of utmost priority, having a family is a privilege, and family takes priority.

The second picture from left to right is of my mother-in-law, my partner, and I. This picture represents the multigenerational aspect of my family as well as the extended family. In the article “Chicana/o Family Structure and Gender Personality: Chodorow, Familism, and Psychoanalytic Sociology Revisited” we learn that “familism is observable in four ways: by macrocharacteristics such as large family size (demographic familism); by the presence of multigenerational households or extended households (structural familism); by the high value placed on family unity and solidarity (normative familism); and by the high level of interaction between family and kin networks”. My family is large and values unity, we always make to time to get together and reconnect. Every get together includes everyone in the family. I chose this picture because I rarely had family get togethers until I met my partner. My mother did not, for reasons that were not entirely her fault, often spend time with her brothers and sisters, so I grew up with no strong connections to my extended family. Now I am older, and have honor of being accepted in my partner’s family. I chose a picture that included my mother-in-law because I cannot appreciate her love and support enough. Although she does not consider herself a feminist, she has definitely pushed me to resist norms that are often considered inherently Chicano. Not once did my mother-in-law push me to abandoned school to focus on motherhood. She has helped me get through my daily challenges as a woman. I have not forgotten the family I was born either, I visit my parents an average of five times a week to get the kind of love and support that you only get from family. My mother pushes me to succeed every day, does not impose the harsh social expectations that surround motherhood, is caring, compassionate and understanding. She reminds me constantly to be satisfied with doing the best I could regardless of whether or not that meets the expectations of others. Although I am happy to be part of a new family, and happy about being closer to the family I was born into it has not been easy to accept that my children have multiple mothering figures.

The ideal has been set as the nuclear family, something which I cannot afford, I rely on extended family to step in and help raise my children. Everyone in the third picture has been a parental figure to my children. Each teaching my children a little bit about gender norms. If you look at the four young men in the picture, they have taught my children that there is no set way to be a man. Each one of them have very different things to teach my children about what it means to be an adult in terms of sexuality, relationships, work, and education. Likewise the four different women in the picture have been parental figures for my children, each demonstrating that there is no one way to be a woman. Each has taken different routes in life demonstrating that we are all human and not everyone follows a straight path showing that the important thing is that pull yourself together for the next hurdle.

The last picture is that of my children, and partner. This picture reminds me that life is about striving to improve, not perfection. In this picture you see the family sprawled out in the living room playing video games. These moments teach my children that there is no mold to fit, you find what works for you and make the most with what you’ve got. I hope my children grow up with less hang ups about being ideal. I hope my children live a more liberal expression of gender roles and never undermine the progress that is made every generation. Family life is hard work but it breeds the most rewards, family makes la vida un carnaval!daniel-david

Moving Away from Chicano Family Dynamics: Single Parent Family Structure and the Making of a Political Feminista


My family photo collage depicts photos of my grandma (first upper left picture), mom (second picture under my grandmother- she is to the far right with gray hair), dad (he is in the photo directly to the right of my grandmother with my sister on the left, my dad in the middle, and me to the right-he is hugging us), older brother (he is in the bottom left hand picture under my grandma’s picture in the center wearing white standing in between myself and mother) little sister (in picture to the left of my dad and in the second picture under my grandmother-she is first in pic from left to right wearing black with blonde hair), daughter (last picture at the bottom far right leaning her head on me), little brother (he is the first face in the photo above my daughter and me), step-mom and step dad (they are both in the same photo as my little brother- step mom in the center wearing black in between me and my her husband, the one to with the beard and glasses).

From birth to the age of nine, I grew up with two parents in the home. My family consisted of a heteropatriarchal structure with my father at the center. My father is Greek, while my mother is Mexican, so the Spanish language was not spoken in the home. With that being said, we didn’t identify as a Chicano family, however, many of the patriarchal traditions (heterosexuality, masculinity, machismo, domesticity-rigid sociocultural traditions and expectations) persisted in our day-to-day life. Although “Historically, in dual headed households, Chicanas (as well as other women) were relegated to the tasks of homecare and child rearing, while the men took the task of earning the families income” (Trujillo, 190), my family structure differed. My mom had added responsibilities, “the true backbone of the familia” (Trujillo, 189). Both parents were breadwinners; we were a middle class family. My dad was a plumber, and my mother held a white-collar position as supervision at a cake-designing factory in Marina Del Rey, California. We even had a dog, Molly-some thought we were living the American Dream-money, home with a white picket fence, nuclear family with two parents and one boy and two girls, with a male at the center, my dad. In terms of gender roles and expectations, my mother held all the female traditional roles associated with domesticity such as cooking, cleaning, and making sure that my siblings and I, were taken care of. My dad was the patriarch and disciplinarian, who used force when necessary- yes, he used the “belt” on us a few times when we were kids.

A typical day of my life during that time went like this; we wake up, my mom made breakfast, and we all sat at the breakfast table and ate. Of course, my dad the patriarch was the first person, who my mom served at the breakfast table. And, we had to wait until everyone was sitting before we could start eating our meal. We were expected to eat everything on our plate. After breakfast my dad would grab his home-cooked lunch that my mom made the night before, hop in his work truck and hit the road. After asking if we could be excused from the breakfast table, my sis and I would help my mom clear the dining room table and clean the kitchen. While we cleaned up, my older brother would put our backpacks in the car and warm up my mom’s car. After a long day at school, my mom picked my brother, sister, and me up from my grandma’s house-she watched us afterschool. My grandmother (she is in the center of my collage cutting onions), who came to the United States in the late 1940’s, is very traditional-she has adopted the gender norms that reinforce patriarchy in Chicano families. Her life revolved around my grandpa, 10 kids (7 boys and 3 girls), and maintenance of the home. Once she met my grandpa, who passed away when I was two, she took on the stereotypical roles of Mexicanas-the “good wife and mother,” relegated to the domestic sphere, “the backbone of the familia” (Trujillo, 189). Once we got home, my mom started cooking dinner, while my siblings and I did our homework. My sis and I always set the table, so that when my dad came home all my mom had to do was serve our plates. Of course, my dad would not sit at the dinner table until after my brother, myself, or sister would take off his work boots. He literally sat in a recliner chair, while one of us took off his work boots and put them on the front porch. Once my dad sat at the dinner table, my mom would serve him first and we would all eat together. We could not get up from the dinner table without asking to be excused. Life, in our home, at least from what everyone thought, was great. However, my dad’s drinking and drug abuse got so bad that he would come home after work drunk off his ass, excuse my French, and beat my mother. His “machismo, and hyper masculinity, rooted in patriarchy,” (Rodriguez) was out of control. The domestic violence, which consisted of emotional, physical, and verbal abuse, began to get worst. But, because we are “taught to undervalue our needs and voices…and that our opinions, viewpoints, and expertise are considered secondary to those of males” (Trujillo, 192), my mom stayed for the sake of keeping the family together-this perfect little family, in the eyes of others. However, after years of abuse, and finally challenging the patriarchy, she packed up with 3 kids, and never looked back.

By this time I was 9; I had witnessed some pretty heavy stuff for a young child. But, I quickly adjusted to my new family structure, a single parent home. There wasn’t that much adjusting to do except for the fact that my dad’s income was no longer financing our middle class life. We downsized, in terms of our lifestyle, and my mom took on most of the financial responsibilities. But, my sister, brother, and I didn’t mind downsizing. As long as my mom wasn’t getting beat every other weekend, we were all happy. As a single mother my mom sacrificed everything for our happiness-we never went without- “her strength and self sacrifice kept the family going” (Trujillo, 189). She made sure that we had the newest toys, clothes, and most of all, love and support. She attended our baseball and softball games, and never missed our open houses, or parent conferences. However, as my mom took on more and more responsibilities at work, she put my older brother at the center of our household, the patriarch. He was in charge of my sister and I until my mother got home from work. By this time, my sister and I had to make sure our homework was done, along with dinner. My brother’s only responsibility was to take out the trash. We cleaned and did the laundry, his included. Of course, due to his gender, my mom never made him do any housework-neither would my grandmother. Our family adopted the Chicano family structure with the male at the center, a very patriarchal system relegating women to domesticity, giving males the power and control, dominating the family landscape-something that Rodriguez addresses in his book.

As time went on, my mom and dad remarried, so I experienced the step-dad and step-mom family dynamics too. The family structure of the home was still patriarchal, with males at the center-catered to, while the women, my mom and step-mom, held fulltime jobs, in addition to maintaining the responsibilities of the home and children. Not much changed in terms of family dynamics, we couldn’t “Shoot the Patriarchy,” something Rodriguez discusses in his book. Today, my mom and dad are single, and have not remarried. I still have a wonderful bond with my step-mom, my dad’s ex wife, and her new husband. Although most part of my life, I have been conditioned to take on gendered sociocultural traditions that are oppressive, I have been exposed to a more egalitarian family structure. My step-mom and her new husband have stepped away from the patriarchal nature of the Chicano family structure. In their household, they both maintain full time employment; however, when it comes to the domestic sphere, they maintain an egalitarian household. Both of them take turns cooking and cleaning, so they have moved way from the traditional gender roles and expectations. Because he cooks or does laundry, it does not take away from his manhood or masculinity. They do not let the rigid gender roles define the structure of their marriage, family, and home. My little brother has to be one of the best house cleaners in Carson, California. My step mom definitely taught him that he is responsible to help around the house, too (he vacuums, does dishes, laundry, etc.). What they have done is “Shot the patriarchy.” They have moved away from patriarchy, which informs our societal and familial structures, something Rodriguez points out in our book.

In terms of my family structure, it is a heterosexual single parent household-just my daughter and I. Her father is there financially, however, he is not consistent physically or emotionally. Considering this, I feel like I have to be extra influential when it comes to raising my daughter’s feminist conscious. I refuse for her to be a “passive victim of the cultural onslaught of social control…that socializes women to be the good wife or that she is incomplete if she doesn’t become a mother” (Trujillo, 189). Thankfully, I am an educated Chicana feminist and work daily to decolonize my mind. As a result, I am able to give my daughter the tools to help her challenge the patriarchal structure of our society, which perpetuates interlocking systems of oppression (sexism, classism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia). I am raising my daughter in a way that she will be strong and independent-not a woman who will conform to, and reinforce societal and familial sociocultural traditions and expectations that oppress women. She has already challenged sexist hegemonic ideals, rooted in patriarchy. For example, she and her friends have organized around the issues of the female body directly associated with the dress code at school. Although the dress code still persists, and they can’t wear certain types of blouses, she proved to me that she has already developed a feminist conscious exercising her right to freedom of expression when it comes to the female body and clothing. Already, she demonstrates that she is an agent of the self, and challenges the status quo- my little political feminista.

Needless to say, across time and space, family dynamics change-they are not static, or universal, as Rodriguez points out in his book. Also, gender is not static. Women and men should not be relegated to binary constructs that perpetuate the male/female dichotomy, with rigid gendered characteristics and roles they must ascribe to (male=patriarch and masculine/women=domestic care take who is feminine). We do not have to live by socially ascribed societal and familial traditions and beliefs. We must create a society, which allows people to construct their own reality when it comes to the family unit. We must do away with heteropatriarchy if we want to live by democratic principles, which consist of equality for all.

My Family Is Forever

img_6957-1Families share a kinship that distinct them from others through beliefs systems, values, religion, culture, rules, love, and other. “La Familia” is one of the most important things there is to value especially in a Mexican American family. In the book, Next of Kin: the Family in Chicano/a Culture Politics Richard Rodriguez discussed the issues of family structure in a Chicana/o family and how “la familia, as an organizing principle and symbol for cultural empowerment”(Rodriguez, 20). In my photo collage, I chose six different photographs that illustrates a bit of my family. Throughout the pictures, you can see both my parents Manuel and Paula Castellanos, and also my two older sisters Melissa and Pamela Castellanos along with my “primo/hermano” (cousin/brother) Giancarlos. I also added photo of my dog Missy who is very important in my family and a photo of our culture food. The photographs in the collage describe how my family is composed of mostly women since my two older brothers both died at infancy. My “primo/hermano” is considered as the son they never had since he also grew up with my sisters and I. To me, my family are the most important people I value my in life.

As my sisters and I grew up, we were raised in a bicultural home because both my parents emigrated from two different countries. My father was born in San Salvador, El Salvador while my mother was born in Nayarit, Mexico. As a result, my sister and I grew exposed to both cultures through our parents different but similar culture beliefs and traditions. However, my mother’s Mexican culture had a higher influence in my life than my fathers. Since I was a child, I remember going to Mexico every year throughout my childhood. The Mexican culture dominated in our home especially because my father assimilated to the culture when he married my mother. My parents have been married for over thirty years now. His accent and beliefs shifted from Salvadorian to Mexican. In the photo collage, I decided to add picture of “Tostadas de Carne” which a typical Mexican food that is served in the village where my mother is from in Nayarit, Mexico. As a child, it was difficult for me to identify with Salvadorian because I knew more about the Mexican culture despite my father efforts to input his culture on us. When I came of age, I learned to embrace both cultures. As a result, I identify myself as Chicana/Latina women.

As I previously mentioned, I grew up with both my sisters and my cousin/bother. The photo collage shows a couple of pictures with my siblings and as well of my mother and father. Since kid’s we have maintain a close relationship. While my father was at work, my mother was a stay at home mother for many years. Although my father was very helpful with raising my sisters, my cousin, and I, my mother spent most of the time raisings us. Like many stay at home mothers she cooked, cleaned, washed, and made sure we went to school everyday. In most patriarchy Chicana/o Latina/o families, the women has the typically role of taking care of the family. My mother was one of the many women who followed the typical gender roles that women in a patriarchal culture are force to follow. Even though my father most of the time was helpful with trying to help my mother with cooking, cleaning, or watching over us, most of the hard work was done my mother while my dad worked most of the time.

When my siblings and I grew older, my mother began to work full time. She worked as a domestic worker taking care of children. As a result, she became very independent. She challenges the Chicana/o Latina/o family structure by demonstrating she was an independent women not having to depend on my father all the time. As Marcela Christine Lucero-Trujillo mentions, “machismo is part of culture”: because the males are use to being the dominant leaders. Like in the film, A Crushing Love my mother is a woman that works hard while having to still comes home and continue to handle the family. My father has never liked my mother working full time because he felt challenged with the idea of my mother being independent and did not like that she was not home as often but with time he learned to cope with it.

Furthermore, in one of the picture in the collage, there is a picture of my entire family together at my high school gradation in 2013. In our home, we valued education because my parents were able to provide us with the education they never had growing up in their native countries. With their support and motivation I was able to go on to college and pursue a career to become an educated Chicana/Latina. However, like in most Chicano families my parents implemented rules, traditions, and beliefs for my siblings and I to follow. They made sure for us to follow the rules they told us such as being respectful to everyone and religious beliefs. I was raised in catholic home where my parents made us go to church every Sunday as kids. Since my family is mostly composed of females, our parents were very protective with us because they wanted us to be safe and protect us from all harm. Despite the family structured challenges, every family shares different dynamics, social, and culture issues within themselves. In Chicana/o Latina/o families constantly have to deal with the obstacles of living in a patriarchal ideologies and gender structures family. My photo collage demonstrates how my family is the most important thing in my life including the picture of my dog Missy who is also a big part of my family. Although my family may have some challenges among them, they continue to be what I value most in life because family is forever.

Familia Auroza, Mi Todo, From Puebla to Los Angeles


There are four photos in the photo collage I created. In the top left there is a picture of my parents and I. My father is the man in the middle his name is Braulio Auroza, and my mother is Maria Luisa Plata. On the bottom of the picture with my parents there is a picture of a typical dish “Mole”, which is very well know in Puebla, Mexico where my parents migrated from. On the top right corner there is a picture of one of my cousins whom I consider as a brother to me his name is Miguel Auroza. In the bottom of that picture there is a picture of the main plaza in Atlixco the small city where my parents are from in Puebla. I chose these four pictures because they are the meaning of the love I have for my culture and family.

In our culture we are influenced by machismo, and the way men treat women. As stated in the poem Machismo is Part of our Culture, the man is always the one that says what is to be done, and he is the “patron” at home. However, in my family it is 50/50. My father acts like a machista in some sense because he expects my mother to always have the food ready when he is hungry. My father grew up at a home where he saw my grandmother Matilde always being submissive to my grandfather Jose. My grandmother suffered a lot of domestic violence with my grandfather. Whenever my grandfather would dislike a certain food he would throw it, and make my grandma cook something else. On the other hand, my father is very understanding, and also contributes to chores around the house for example my mother no longer does laundry because my father takes care of that. He does not treat my mother the way he saw my grandfather disrespect my grandmother. In some form my father is pushing away from the “machismo is part of culture”, and making it equal amongst him, and my mother.

My cousin Miguel and I are very close with each other. Since I am an only child he is the person who has seen me grow up, and gives me advice as if I were his little sister. Whenever I talk about him to any one I refer to him as my brother because he is very valuable to me. In the book Next of Kin, we have been reading a lot about the importance of family unity within La Raza. The idea of “la familia” and the importance of being united is very important within the Chicana/o community. I admire my cousin because although he is not a legal U.S citizen he has worked double to earn what he has obtained. He is working hard to obtain his GED, and always opens new doors for himself. He never gives up even when things don’t go in his favor. Also mentioned in Next of Kin “La Familia” is very important within movements. To me my cousin is what keeps me motivated in school. Not only do I want to make my parents proud, but also since I have the privilege to pursue a higher education I want my cousin to be proud and reflect himself in me. We both keep each other going, and push one another for success.

Mole is a very important principle in my culture. In Puebla, Mexico it is a very typical dish that many people request. Whenever there is a family celebration, or a holiday like Christmas my mother and tias always prepare the Mole from scratch. My mother also makes it for Dia de los Muertos. As mentioned in the article Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead there are many things that can be placed in the altar. My mother always makes Mole during this time and then places it on the altar we create for my Grandmother Matilde that passed away. For my culture and family on Dia de los Muertos we place the favorite dish from the person that passed away followed by fruit, and bread. Also the drink they enjoyed the most. My grandmother was the one that gave my mother the Mole recipe before she passed, therefore, my mother and tias always cherish her by making Mole in her honor. Lastly I placed the picture of the Xocalo de Atlixco because every time I go to Mexico I always enjoy going to this place it is a very vibrant location surrounded by many flowers. Atlixco Puebla, Mexico is very well known as Atlixco de las Flores, because there are a lot of flowers that grow there. I also enjoy this place because people are able to express their love for the Mexican culture in a liberal way. In the United States we are unable to demonstrate our Mexican pride. Going back to the Next of Kin Chapter 3 the Chicano culture is not recognized or appreciated in the U.S, and is very much hidden. In Atlixco individuals are greatly recognized no matter what they are not seen less than anyone, even tourist feel accepted. Everyone feels welcomed whether they live there or not.

The Life of Lenin


For the first picture of my collage I chose a picture of my family on our trip to San Francisco a year ago. I chose this picture because it was the first major trip my family has ever taken together. I feel that I needed to add this picture to my collage because this trip was a major event in my life. Not only was it the first trip that my extended family ever took together, it was also the graduation of my cousin from art school. I think this relates to cultural factors. One of the cultural factors that I think that the picture conveys is unity. Richard T. Rodríguez explains that Chicano/a families are known for “embracing a family principle as a modality of unity” (98).  The picture conveys unity because it is a representation of my family together. The trip served as a way to bring my family together and make us more united. Chicano/a culture puts an emphasis on the family being united. I think that the picture also conveys the support that a family is supposed to give to its members. This is conveyed because the reasoning behind the picture was that my family was there to support my cousin on his graduation. The first picture of my collage conveys the cultural factors of unity and family support.

For the second picture of my collage, which is found in the right hand corner, I chose a picture of my Mom. I chose this picture because my Mom is the most important woman in my life. She has taught me a lot and continues to teach me even more as I get older. I chose a picture of my Mom because she was the first person to ever present the idea of machismo and its negative effects to me. Machismo is a problem faced by many Chicano/a families. Machismo is defined by Richard T. Rodríguez in Next of Kin as “a term most frequently used within Chicano and Latino context to imply manhood, or masculinity” (43). She introduced the concept of machismo and its negative effects on women to me through personal stories. She has told me many stories of her own struggles with machismo. She was faced with machismo because of her two older brothers. In Mexico, they would mistreat her and show their dominance over her. She basically served as their maid. She washed their clothes, made them food, and cleaned up after them. In a lot of families machismo is faced by the all the women and the mother does not do anything to bring it to an end. This is the situation my Mom was in. My Grandma witnessed a lot of the machismo but did not step in to intervene. She was not affected by the machismo because the machistas were her sons, not her husband. My Mom’s struggles served to convey a message to me. Growing up with a younger sister I never expressed any type of machismo attitudes towards her. After hearing my Mom’s stories I could never let machismo be a part of the relationship between my sister and I. My Mom’s stories served as a way to realize that machismo is not correct and it can ruin a person’s life. I am extremely thankful that at an early age my Mom taught me that machismo is not acceptable. I grew up with the idea that I should not expect a woman to do everything for. My Mother made it clear to me that being a male doesn’t automatically means that everything should be handed to me. I chose this picture for my collage because my Mom is the reason why I reject machismo and do not agree with a machista ideology.

For my third picture, which is found on the bottom left corner, I chose a picture of my cousins and I. I chose this picture because growing up my two older cousins served as guides in my life. I have always looked up to them and seen them as guides to how I should live my life. I learned from my cousins how not to fall into machismo. My cousins have always been very independent. They have never thought that things should be handed to them because they are males. By not relying on women to do things for them, they negated one of the effects of machismo. This relates to a statement that is brought up by Cherríe Moraga in Queer Aztlán. The statement is “On some level, our brothers-gay and straight-have got to give up being “men.” I don’t mean give up their genitals, their unique expression of desire, or the rich and intimate manner in which men can bond together. Men have to give up their subscription to male superiority” (233). I believe that my cousins do not subscribe to the idea of male superiority. By doing this my cousins had a great influence on me. The idea brought up in the quote is an exact representation of the way they are. An example of not relying on male superiority can be seen whenever we have family dinners. They never sit at a table and expect food to be served to them. They always make their own plates and wash their dishes after. This isn’t a major thing but it was the smallest details that have had the biggest impact on me. I also learned from my cousins that women deserve the same respect as everyone else and no one should be disrespected. In machismo, men tend to disrespect women and make them feel as if they are less. I can say that in my life I have never seen my cousins disrespect women. They have always treated everyone with respect and I have never seen them be disrespectful on purpose. Machismo presents the idea that women should be disrespected but my cousins taught me that everyone should be respected. I chose a picture of my cousins because by growing up with them I learned to go against machismo since they never displayed characteristics of machismo.

For my fourth picture, which is found in the bottom right hand corner, I chose a picture of my Grandma. I chose a picture of my Grandma because she is the one who raised everyone in my family. Not only did she raise all her children, she played a role in raising all her grandchildren. My Grandma is an example of a woman going against a patriarchal system. In a system of patriarchy, the father runs the family and is the one in control. In my family, the patriarchy was disrupted because my Grandma was the head of the household. My Grandfather passed away a long time ago in Mexico and my Grandma was forced to provide for the family. She raised 7 children, 3 daughters and 4 sons, on her own. My Grandma raised her children in a system opposite of patriarchy. She went against patriarchy in a country where patriarchy is found in almost every family. My Grandma went against one of the ideas that is brought up in Next of Kin which is that “womanhood is conceivable only as part of the symbolic principle informing machismo as guideline for the conduct of family life, male-female relationships, and personal self-esteem” (44).  She chose to provide for her children herself and never turn to a man for help. I see my Grandma as an inspiration because of this. Her decisions show that a patriarchal system can be overcome and a woman can separate herself from the idea of needing a male to provide for them. Not only is my Grandma an example of a woman going against a patriarchal system, she is also the one that brings unity to my entire family. My Grandma serves as the force that brings my family together. As long as I can remember, my Grandma has been the reason for my family coming together. Whether it’s a holiday or just a normal Sunday afternoon, my family always comes to together at my Grandma’s home. Like stated before unity is a major part of Chicano/a family structure. I chose this picture of my Grandma because she is the uniting factor of my family and she is the one who showed me that a patriarchal system can be overcome.

Week 8: My Not so Traditional family


On May 16, 1989 both of my parents came from Guerrero , Mexico to the city of Inglewood to provide two of my older siblings a better life. Two years later I was born November 9, 1991. And later, two other siblings were born, a total of five siblings. Throughout our entire life we were taught that family was very important. My father would have a quote that he liked to remind us with every day about the unity in family. He would tell us that families were like a stack of twigs, if your try to break one at a time it is very easy, however if you grab a bunch of twigs and tried to break them all at once it is more difficult.

In the past my family was extremely traditional. My  family was a very machista family. My father was the decision maker, the rule setter and the boss of the house, while my mother stayed home to take care of us. In my family we would also go to catholic church on Sundays, celebrate birthdays, Quinceaneras and other Mexican traditional holidays. Quinseaneras were a big thing for our family. A quinseanera is when a girl turns fifteen and signifies the transformation of a young girl to a young lady. This celebration is very important for parents as well as the girl . Celebrations like this involve lots of food, lots of family and lots of dancing.

My family is made up of big Soccer fans. We are very lucky and honored to be “Americanistas”. When America is in a soccer match, you better bet there will be carne azada, and some drinks. My father gets very dramatic when watching these soccer matches and we love to make him company during this time. We join him when he’s screaming out his lungs when our team makes a goal.  My father owns about 25 America Jersey, all that were given to him on one of his birthdays. Because of my father’s great passion for soccer, I have developed a soccer passion as well. I began playing soccer at the age of thirteen and I have played ever since. Today I play soccer three times a week . And go watch my fiancé place soccer on Sundays.

Today it is a bit more difficult to keep the family together. My oldest sister is a single mother of three children. My older brother is separated from his wife and his four children, and is suffering from depression today. My parents have also separated, and my family is no longer the united family we were once. Women in my family are no longer tolerable of the machista lifestyles we were taught to live as children. The women in my family no longer wanted to follow rules and live their lives satisfying the men, and living an un-happy life.

Today my father lives in Arvin, California a small town just before Bakersfield, where he works in the grape and peach fields. My father re married and took my youngest sister with him. My siblings and I still go visit them at least three times a month, especially during important soccer matches. Although we far from each other we try to keep in touch as often as possible. I like to keep myself updated about my youngest sister, who I encourage to stay in school.

Even though my older siblings are separated from their partners, we still manage to get together for birthday celebrations, and special occasions such as Christmas and thanksgiving. The day my father left, my family broke apart. Although my dad was very strict and had a strong personality and character, he managed to keep the family as close as possible. However not every story has a happily ever after, my parents no longer wanted to be with each other and that was a decision that even though involved all us, was a decision to be respected by all of my siblings.

Being the middle child I also have had the privilege to learn from my older siblings mistakes and, I am blessed to have family member that advise me about making decisions in life. Being able to watch my seven nieces and nephews grow has taught me the importance of a father and a mother being present in a child’s life. But as a middle child I also have to make sure I am setting the right example to my younger siblings who look up to me.

A year ago my family also grew a bit. I got engaged to a man whose family lives in Las Vegas , Nevada. His family has also become my family, and we also go to Vegas at least once a month to spend time with his family.

My fiancé and I have our small little apartment in Los Angeles and we love to bring our families together and just enjoy each other’s presence. We talk often about how important family is, and we try our best to bring tradition back into the family. Although we find it difficult at times . We are a bog family, all in different places, but we love each other to death and that’s all that really matters at the end