Week 8 Day 1 Discussion Question 2

While Andrea Smith and Gloria Anzaldúa use different modes of expression (academic writing, poetry), both address sexual violence as a feature of U.S. settler colonialism.  How do Smith’s and Anzaldúa’s perspectives complement or contrast with each other?  How do their works make you think differently about the concept of American misogyny?

One thought on “Week 8 Day 1 Discussion Question 2

  • April 4, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    The poetry of Anzaldúa is intense and often hard to swallow – her poem, “we call them greasers” writing from the point of view of a white man on the frontier highlights the bigotry and offensive stereotypes that are held of native communities. This ranges from physical, emotional and financial abuse and shows the clear power dynamics in favor of the white community. Furthermore, in the latter half of the poem, we see how a native woman is subjected to rape and eventual murder – an attack on her not only as a woman, but one that was targeted based on her identity. The works of Smith help to add the context needed to truly appreciate and empathize with the work of Anzaldúa. Smith details the struggles of Native women with their identity and links sexual assault with the specific targeting of native women. Smith links these studies to how Native women are perceived as easy to sexually assault and objectify based on their rituals and lifestyle, and how white men see these as permissions to commit rape. Smith and Anzaldúa’s work are complementary and when paired together, show the cause and effect of the demonization and over-sexualization of Native people, where women are the particular targets.

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