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By Carolina Moreno
Editor, The Huffington Post

HuffPost Black Voices, March 8, 2016 —


Being a feminist and a woman of color can come with its own set of obstacles.

That’s why many Latinas have made it a point to discuss these challenges and personal experiences through individual blogs. In their own words, these bloggers have described what it’s like to be a feminist within a culture that can be extremely male-centric, sometimes misconstrues feminism and seemingly remains steadfast in keeping traditional gender roles in place But Latinas also face more universal challenges, which align with what many women around the world fighting for gender equality also experience.

Keeping in mind that it can be enlightening to read the specific and not-so-specific struggles many women of color face, here are nine powerful blogs written by Latinas that seek to empower women everywhere.

Check them out below:

1 “This Women’s History Month, I Refuse to Celebrate Your Feminism,” by Barbara Sotaita

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In response to white feminism, Yale Graduate student Barbara Sostaita recently wrote about the type of all-inclusive feminism she’d like to celebrate during this Women’s History Month.

“This Women’s History Month, I refuse to celebrate a white feminism that keeps women of color on the margins. This Women’s History Month, I refuse to celebrate a white feminism that alienates, subjugates and oppresses women of color. I don’t want to be hear about the first Latina [insert public office title] or the first Asian [insert professional sports title]. I’m sick of women of color only being mentioned and deemed worthy when we are the “first,” when we fit neatly into a box crafted by white women’s version of history. We have been, are, and will always be ‘exceptional’ and ‘important.'”

Read the full blog here.
2 “Why We Need to Stop Teaching Women to Apologize,” by Amanda Alcantara

Amanda Alcantara/Getty

Amanda Alcantara is an activist and co-founder of La Galeria Magazine. In December, the Dominican writer wrote a personal essay on why she and other women should stop apologizing so much.

“I’m too apologetic. I’ve known this for a while. I basically apologize for existing. Yet the realization has become clearer recently where I’ve begun to notice that it goes beyond constantly saying ‘I’m sorry.’ It actually manifests itself in my hesitance to defend myself, in my ambivalence in making decisions, in my anxiety, in my posture, even in my writing.

And I’m so damn tired of it. I’m tired de andar encojiendome like I’m supposed to make space for other folks. Like only I get to determine whether an interaction goes well.”

Read the full blog here.
3 “Dear Woke Brown Girl,” by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez

Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez

Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez is a self-described “Chonga Mujerista” and the woman behind Latina Rebels. The Nicaragua feminist frequently writes about her experiences as a Latina, a feminist and more. In this personal essay from February, she speaks to woke brown women everywhere.

“You are eternal. You are neither here nor there, but everywhere. You carry the hood in your veins and academia in your heart. You have not forgotten where you come from, but have learned and earned your way into spaces not meant for you. Spaces that are uninviting to your kind. You are poderosa like that. Your vocabulary is vast and your wit is sharp. You are unstoppable.”

Read the full blog here.

4 “When A 12 Year-Old Girl On Brazil’s ‘MasterChef Jr.’ Arouses Adult Men, We Need To Talk About Rape Culture,” by Carol Patrocinio

AFP via Getty Images

After men began sexualizing and posting explicit comments about a 12-year-old “MasterChef Junior” contestant online, Brazilian journalist Carol Patrocinio seized the moment to discuss a bigger problem in Brazil and all over the world of sexualizing women at a young age.

“Day after day, our society continues to make women more vulnerable. And sex is the fastest way to achieve that. Girls are encouraged to have relationships with older men, because, it is said, they are mature for their age. Women get pregnant: socially, they take full responsibility for the baby. Abortion is illegal in Brazil — even though it occurs in massive numbers across all social classes and regions. Older men know how to convince girls to do what they want. Adolescent mothers quit school, don’t attend college, and settle for underemployment because they need to support their children. Additionally, women who were victims of rape culture as young girls are considered sluts.”

Read the full blog here.

5 “My Culture Taught Me to be a Homemaker. Thanks, but I Want More,” by Aleichia Williams

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Afro-Latina writer Aleichia Williams discussed her journey reconciling her feminist ideals with her family’s insistence she become a homemaker. In the blog, published in September, Williams discusses feeling limited as a woman in her culture.

“I don’t think I ever really had a problem with what I was ‘meant to do’ as a girl in my culture. What bothered me most were the restrictions and suggestions womanhood imposed on my being. For example, when I was fourteen I had moved to Honduras. One day I decided to climb up a mango tree and when my family found out where I was I was scolded, not for the danger of climbing but because ‘girls should not climb trees.’ I could remember being angry for days after that thinking to myself what does being a girl have to do with trees? It doesn’t make sense. As I got older I found that I was constantly trying to convince my family that who I was not entirely associated with being a girl. I just wanted to be me.”

Read the full blog here.

6 “My Life as a Latina Feminist,” by Tatiana K. Tenreyro

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Writer Tatiana K. Tenreyro realized as a teen that feminism can be a term of many misconceptions in Latino culture. In her blog, Tenreyro writes about the ways feminism was erroneously portrayed while she lived in Puerto Rico and why Latinas need feminism.

“During my senior year, one of my professors decided to discuss feminism in class, despite it not being related to the subject we were studying. He asked us if we knew what feminism was. He erroneously informed us that feminism was the same as misogyny. While I tried to explain that there are different types of feminism and feminists do care about men’s rights as well, my classmates told me to shut up and discussed how disgusting feminists are.

Experiencing this made me realize that many young girls and women are misinformed about the true meaning of feminism… Latinas need feminism. We are the ones who are most affected in the wage gap and are also among the most affected by domestic violence, among other issues.”

Read the full blog here.

7 “Holding Out for Latina Heroines and Filmmakers,” by Yovanka Sanchez

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Producer Yovanka Sanchez opened up about her struggles in the industry and the need for Latinas on-screen to be true to life and not character that lean into the trophy-wife and sexy vixen stereotypes.

“Despite the fact that Latin women play a big role in the box office and we are the CEOs of our homes, our stories are not being told or reflected on the big screen. I think Hollywood is not going to offer my daughter a role model on whom she can feel proud and really see herself. This is why I want to tell stories about Latina heroines who are strong, smart, beautiful and independent.”

Read the full blog here.

8 “When Your Sparkle Blinds Them,” by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez

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Writer Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez championed the need for women everywhere to be unapologetically themselves in her recent blog, “When Your Sparkle Blinds Them.” The powerful message discusses the need to be yourself despite sexism, men’s egos and other societal limitations.

“I think that as a society, we have a huge disdain for women who unapologetically perform masculinity. Meaning my self-affirmations and haughtiness are to be rejected simply because I am female. We like words like compromise and reconciliation and unity, but what about anger and stubborn and hate? I need to sit in full admiration of my prowess without having to apologize to any man for my words, for they might hurt his ego. I need to hold my power and my voice and gawk at it, love it, because it has been long overdue.”

Read the full blog here.

9 “What Makes a ‘Real Woman’?” by Selenis Leyva

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“Orange is the New Black” star Selenis Leyva grew tired of hearing the Netflix series be “complimented” for casting “real women” in the show. The actress fought back in a July blog and explained why people have been using the term “real woman” wrong.

“It’s a backhanded compliment. You see, I’ve heard it used on red carpets, in interviews and in reviews, and it’s always part of describing our cast. We are being ‘complimented’ by being told, ‘it’s so great to see all you women who shouldn’t be on the screen be on the screen!’ We pat ourselves on the back for accepting ‘Real Women’ and we say we ‘love’ it, and yet, somehow, we continue to perpetuate the idea that seeing diverse women on TV is unique and not the norm — not how it should be.”

Read the full blog here.