Anna Nieto-Gómez

American journalist

Anna Nieto-Gómez (also rendered as NietoGomez) is a scholar, journalist, and author who was a central part of the early Chicana movement. She founded the feminist journal, Encuentro Femenil, in which she and other Chicana writers addressed issues affecting the Latina community, such as childcare, reproductive rights, and the feminization of poverty.

QuotesEdit

  • In order to truly understand the needs and problems of La Raza, we must include the Chicana in our study.
    • "The Chicana-Perspectives for Education" (1973)

"La Feminista" (1974)Edit

Encuentro Femenil', Vol. 1, No. 2, 1974: pp. 34-47. Anthologized in Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings

  • As minority women, the Chicanas have had to fight racism, sexism, and sexual racism. Racism oppresses the Chicana as a member of a Spanish speaking, culturally different, non-Anglo group in a society that values only one culture, and only one race as superior over all, the Anglo-Saxon race. The Chicana encounters sexism in a society that associates social and economic power, authority and superiority with male dominance and male control.
  • The Chicana feminist has had to struggle to develop and maintain her identity in spite of the paternal and material tendencies of two social movements to absorb her into their general movements as their own rank and file.
  • the Chicana feminist has been cautioned to wait and fight her cause at a later time for fear of dividing the Chicano movement. Also it has been recommended that she melt into the melting pot of femaleness rather than divide the women's movement.
  • In order to establish themselves as a legitimate interest group or groups, the Chicana femenista has continually had to justify, clarify, and educate people in the political and philosophical issues of the Chicana woman. This has not been easy. They have acted at the cost of being called "vendidas" (sell-outs) among their own group, the Chicanos. At the same time the femenistas have had to pressure the women's movement with little or no solid backing from the Chicano movement. From 1968-1971 feminism was rejected by the Chicano movement as irrelevant and Anglo-inspired.
  • Harassment of femenistas forced many Chicanas to suppress their convictions. The term "women's libber," a stigmatizing label, was used as a social label assigned to those who spoke out for women's rights in the Chicano movement.
  • It is therefore the philosophy of the Femenistas that in order for a movement to truly fight for justice for all its people (both men and women) must it also, from the beginning, identify and fight the economic oppression delivered through sexism as well as through racism. It is the double responsibility for both Chicanas and Chicanos to become politicized to the economic implications of sexism-sexist racism; otherwise, the issues of employment, welfare, and education as they pertain to the Chicana are not known and therefore ignored and not resolved.
  • Differences between the philosophies of the "loyalists" and the "femenistas" have indeed been controversial ones. The loyalists do not recognize sexism as a legitimate issue in the Chicano movement. Femenistas see sexism as an integrated part of the Chicana's struggle in conjunction with her fight against racism.
  • There is still a continuous effort on the part of Chicanas to maintain their identity and have people recognize how feminine issues have different and important facets to them when dealt with within the context of minority women, especially minority women who are Spanish-speaking and considered foreigners in their own land.
  • Historical differences determine the relationship between the Anglo woman and the Chicana woman. The Anglo woman is a product of Protestant and imperialistic Anglo-European capitalism. The Chicana is a product of Catholic societies which still bear the marks of Counter-reformation feudalism and colonialism. Her Moorish, Spanish, Mexican Indian-Mestizo, Southwest heritage contribute to her cultural world view. Southwest heritage contribute to her cultural world view. But it also outlines her colonized situation in an imperialistic racist country.
  • Chicana feminism shares with all women the issues that affect them as women, such as welfare, birth control, abortion, and employment. But it is in the context of the needs of the Chicano people who suffer from racism that sexual issues have a new dimension.
  • In providing adequate health programs, Anglo women contend with the cruel prejudice doctors have towards women patients. Chicanas must also contend with doctor's racism, insensitivity to the Chicano culture and the lack of bilingual medical staff.

"Chicana Feminism" (1976)Edit

From Caracol, Vol. 2, No. 5, 1976: pp. 3-5. Anthologized in Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings

  • I am a Chicana feminist. I make that statement very proudly, although there is a lot of intimidation in our community and in the society in general, against people who define themselves as Chicana feminists.
  • a feminist can be a man as well as a woman-it is a group of people that advocates the end of women's oppression.
  • People-reactionaries I call them-sometimes define a feminist as someone who hates men. Maybe this is not totally erroneous, but the label is a tactic used to keep people from listening to the issues.
  • Child care-it's not a female duty, it is a community responsibility.
  • I resent the usual remark that if you're a feminist you have somehow become an Anglo or been influenced by Anglos.
  • One of the most renowned feminist of the past is well known throughout the world, though she is not well known by Chicanas. Her name is Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and she has been called one of the first feminists of the Americas (which is incorrect, because there were many pre-Columbian feminists). Several of the North American Indian societies were matriarchal and advocated the non-oppression of women-the non-oppression of anybody. Sor Juana was a seventeenth century genius. She was a genius who happened to be a woman and who therefore had only two alternatives: to marry, or to join the convent and marry God. She chose the latter because she felt it would offer her more flexibility and more opportunity to study. And she did study-she studied very hard. She was enthusiastic, to say the least, about learning. She spoke about women's hair-how the hair was a symbol of women's beauty, but if it covered an empty mind, it was nothing but a mask. She said that not until a woman's mind was equal in beauty to her long hair should she have her long hair, so in three months she would plan to read a certain amount, and if she hadn't she would cut off her hair. In three more months, if she hadn't achieved her goal of, say, three volumes, the hair was to go right back until the goal was reached. Sor Juana is famous for Respuesta, a letter to the bishop addressing itself to a letter he sent her praising Sor Juana for her brilliance but telling her that her duty was not to be brilliant but to serve God. The role of women was to be silent, not heard. Sor Juana very politely wrote back, "Surely you must know more than I; however, as I recall, Jesus did not say that women should be silent and not heard. You forget that the temple was a place of learning and discussion, and that women were preaching and talking to their people there, not just bowing their heads in silent prayer or absent-mindedly planning their week's activities. Jesus came into the temple and addressed himself to the people there, those who were speaking there, and those people were the women. Yes, it's my duty to be a servant of God, but how can I understand theology"-theology was a high point of learning in Mexico and in fact it still is-"how can I understand that, if I can't understand biology, geology, psychology? If the world's supposed to be a manifestation of God's great goodness, how can I understand that if I don't know anything about it? These are the prerequisites for my understanding of His great and beautiful powers." So she advocated that women have the right to education But women did not have this right until after the Revolution. During the eighteenth century they did open some convents where women could go and get educated, but the education was primarily in religious studies.
  • Today, Chicana feminism is trying to rally enough women and get them to come out from behind the doors so that everybody can hear us say, "We're a legitimate body. No one can deny that any more. Ask us about our political stance, not our validity, as women fighting for women's rights within the Chicano community." Right now, we're in the process of making the Chicano movement responsible to Chicana issues, making it support issues that involve race, welfare rights, forced sterilization-making the Chicano movement address itself to the double standard about male and female workers, and making it live up to its cry of Carnalismo and community responsibility. We're saying, "Prove it! Let's carry it out! Let's support child care. Children are not our individual responsibility but the responsibility of our community." We are working to get women together to build up a base, and working to get the Chicano movement to support and advocate our issues as women.
  • What is the Anglo women's movement? First, you have to understand that it is not a unified movement. There are at least three positions. There are the liberal feminists, who say, "I want access to power. I want access to whatever men have access to. I want women's oppression to end insofar as they do not have these things." Then there are radical feminists, who say that men have the power, and that men are responsible for the oppression of women. A third position is that of women's liberationists, which says that women's oppression is one of the many oppressions in the economic system of this country, that we must understand and support that system as well as correct it and unify people to end all oppressions.
  • Here's the double standard: "If I have a meeting, you stay at the house and take care of the kids. If you have a meeting, have it at the house and take care of the kids at the same time." Male privilege is, "Let's fight for equal pay for me, and maybe later on for you." Male privilege sometimes makes the Chicano movement just like a male liberation movement.
  • When was the last time you heard Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan talk about welfare rights?
  • Rape is an act of violent aggression, and it's something we have the right to defend ourselves against.
  • In the middle class, the employment issue is social mobility, it's promotion, tenure. Women with Ph.D's don't want to be secretaries. The issue for the Chicana is just employment. "Give me a job. Give me a good-paying job. Let me have access to training." Again, pure class difference.
  • If something in our culture that is advocating oppression is unable to be criticized, evaluated and changed, this is wrong.

"La Chicana-Legacy of Suffering and Self-Denial" (1995)Edit

From Scene, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1995: pp. 22-24. Anthologized in Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings

  • The roots of the psyche of la Chicana lies deep within the colonial period in Mexico.
  • The veneration of the Virgin Mary defined the woman's identity as a virgin, as a saintly mother, as a wife-sex object, as a martyr.
  • The popular image of Mexican woman is as somber-clad, long-suffering females praying in dimly-lit colonial churches. Church teachings have directed women to identify with the emotional suffering of the pure, passive bystander: the Virgin Mary.
  • Marianismo forced Spanish women into acceptable sexual and social roles. The three basic images were of woman as virgin, woman as wife and woman as mother, all of which reinforced social, psychological and economic dependency for women.
  • Because culture is a remnant which mirrors people's accumulative economic adaptations in history, the social-psychological roles of Mexican men and women are the products of the economic and class conditions of 300 years of oppression.

"Chicana Print Culture and Chicana Studies: A Testimony to the Development of Chicana Feminist Culture" (2003)Edit

In Chicana Feminisms: A Critical Reader

  • Articles from Chicana print media and the development and publication of oral histories played a vital role in the development of the Chicana studies curriculum. The Chicana press included Francisca Flores's Regeneración, a magazine published in Los Angeles; Chicana newspapers such as Hijas de Cuauhtémoc and Pepita Martinez's El Grito del Norte from New Mexico; and journals such as Encuentro Femenil, a Chicana feminist journal from Long Beach, and San Francisco's Dorinda Moreno's La Mestiza. In addition, there were special edition community newspapers from all parts of the nation.
  • Oral history was an important method because it created a body of knowledge about different types of Chicanas. Oral histories of Chicana leaders and their organizations illustrated the diverse political ideas Chicanas had about social change.
  • At the 1972 conference, Marianna Hernandez spoke about the Chicana movement. She reassured Chicanas that they were doing the right thing. She asked Chicanas not to be taken aback at name-calling strategies, acknowledging that efforts to label the Chicana movement a "white women's movement" were attempts to discredit and stop the people who were organizing a new movement. She offered that one of the tasks of a new movement is to explain itself and that organizing Chicana conferences and publishing new ideas was an important way for the Chicana movement to do this.
  • It is women's work to define what these feminist values are. What are these values? They are democratic values. Women and men are equally valued. Respect is not dependent on gender. Women are the decision makers of their individual lives. Women and children have the right to live in a violence-free environment.
  • The Chicana feminist culture is still in development. There are stories of "men's work" yet to tell: of men creating a cultural forum to challenge male roles. It is the story of the democratic challenge to the authoritarian values that depend on the sexual inequality of women and violence.

Quotes about Anna Nieto-GómezEdit

  • According to movement feminist Anna NietoGomez, Chicanas in search of a new identity or new role in society were accused of being engaged in an "Anglo bourgeois trip" and not to be trusted.
    • Cristina Beltrán, The trouble with unity : Latino politics and the creation of identity (2010)
  • In her effort to convince critics of the differences between Chicana and white feminists, NietoGomez produces a monolithic vision of Anglo women.
    • Cristina Beltrán, The trouble with unity : Latino politics and the creation of identity (2010)
  • Some of the women who led the movement in its early days were Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, Alicia Escalante with the Welfare Rights Organization, and Gracia Molina de Pick and Anna Nieto-Gómez with feminist activities. Women politicians like Virginia Muzquiz of Crystal City, Texas, Mariana Hernández, and Grace Davies put Chicanas in the political forum. Like these women, there have been hundreds of others who, in the late 1960s and 1970s, have proved that Chicanas have come of age politically in this country.
    • Martha P. Cotera, "Feminism: The Chicano and Anglo Versions-A Historical Analysis" (1980)
  • Anna Nieto-Gómez is a pioneer in today's Chicana feminism.
    • Elizabeth Martinez, 500 Years of Chicana Women's History/500 Años de la Mujer Chicana (2008)
  • picking up the pen for Chicanas became a "political act." ...Women also founded and edited newspapers-El Grito (Betita Martinez); Encuentro Feminil (Adelaida del Castillo and Anna Nieto-Gómez); Regeneracion (Francisca Flores); and El Chicano (Gloria Macias Harrison). Through their writings, Chicanas problematized and challenged prescribed gender roles at home (familial oligarchy); at school (the home economics track); and at meetings (the clean-up committee),
    • Vicki L. Ruiz, From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America
  • Conflicts over gender or race, personal liberation or family first, did not stop the development of Chicana feminism. Caught between "maternal" and "paternal" movements, Ana Nieto Gómez declared: The Chicana feminist has been cautioned to wait to fight for her cause at a later time for fearing of dividing the Chicano movement. Also it has been recommended that she must melt into the melting pot of femaleness rather than divide the women's movement. At first these attitudes divided Chicanas themselves into two camps: feminists and loyalists. The loyalists believed that one should "stand by your man" and "have babies por la causa." They argued that Chicanas who needed "an identity" were "vendidas" or "falsas." Firing back, Nieto Gómez laid out the following scenario. "A girl may find that an open avenue to temporary status and distinction is to sleep with a noted 'Heavy.'... This is the traditional 'back door' open to all ambitious women."
    • Vicki L. Ruiz, From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America
  • In a poem "Youth Mirror," Ana Nieto Gómez reminded Chicanas of Mexican women warriors, Juana Gallo and Petra Ruiz, revolutionary commanders who had led both men and women. Nieto Gómez endeavored to link historical action with Chicana liberation.
    • Vicki L. Ruiz, From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America

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