The Official Blog for ENGL 41416.

Third World Woman

Similar to Cixous, Anzaldua speaks firmly, assertively, vulgarly and directly to her target audience. As I read, “Speaking in Tongues” my mind immediately jumped to ” The Laugh of The Medusa” and I began to appreciate this form of writing compared to the other works we have read these past couple of weeks. The passion Anzaldua demonstrates in her letter made it easier to read but also relatable through phrases such as, “my dear hermanas” and “dear mujeres de color, companions in writing”.

She begins by broadcasting the division within the feminism community from highest, white women, to lowest, the lesbian of color. Anzaldua makes it clear that she is uncomfortable with this division stating, “my dear hermanas, the dangers we face as women writers of color are not as those of white women though we have many in common. We don’t have much to lose–we never had any privileges…..the beginning woman of color is invisible both in the white male mainstream world and in the white woman’s feminist world….the lesbian of color is not only invisible, she doesn’t even exist”. (165) This powerful statement begins to open the eyes of a naive audience who believe that there is no division. She reiterates this division by mentioning the stereotypes that are given to third world women, “the Black domestic, the lumbering nanny with twelve babies sucking her tits, the slant-eyed Chinese with her expert hand– ‘they know how to treat a man in bed,’ the flat faced Chicana or Indian, passively lying on her back, being fucked by the Man a la La Chingada” (167). For me, these stereotypes brought to mind the expectations for Spanish women that I am familiar with. On the first day of class someone mentioned that in the Spanish community it is expected for the woman to keep and maintain the house “house broken”. You are suppose to know how to cook, clean, and care for the children. With these expectations in mind it is easier to understand the division Anzaldua is referring to.

Next, Anzaldua begins to list the tedious daily task that third world woman have in comparison to the white woman. Quoting Cherrie

“if you are not caught in the maze that (we) are in, its very difficult to explain the hours in the day that we do not have. And the hours that we do not have are hours that are translated into survival skills and money. And when one of those hours is taken away it means an hour not that we don’t have to lie back and stare at the ceiling or an hour that we don’t have to talk to a friend. To me it’s a loaf of bread” (168).

She demonstrates that time is valued among third world women perhaps more so then white women. Later she states that third world women are engulfed in the ideas of white feminist instead of proposing their own. Stating that third world women are “reduced to purveyors of resource lists” and “we cannot educate white women and take them by the hand. Most of us are willing to help but we can’t do the white woman’s homework for her” (168).


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