Disrupting Las Fronteras: A Reading of Gloria Anzaldúa as a Cross-Cultural Killjoy Feminist Open Access

Meijaard, Moira Monica (Spring 2020)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/2f75r930r?locale=en


In the 1980s, Gloria Anzaldúa addressed historically ignored intersections between gender, race, sexuality, nationality, and culture through This Bridge Called My Back and Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. Drawing upon her own experiences of living in Texas, at the Borderland between Mexico and the United States, Anzaldúa constructed an intersectional feminist rhetoric that aimed to envelop the diverse experiences and opinions of other women living at this crossing of cultures. Just over 50 years later, Anzaldúa’s strategies of intermingling Spanglish, inductive reasoning, and deductive reasoning are still maverick within the realm of feminist rhetoric. This thesis argues that reading Anzaldúa through the two unlikely paired lenses of Sara Ahmed's killjoy feminism and logical argument structures of classical rhetoric can help us take a fresh approach to Anzaldúa's controversially utopian "bridging" rhetoric. This unique approach illuminates the ways through which bridging, Borderlands, and mestiza rhetoric may serve as pragmatic tools that adapt to multiple audiences, languages, and spaces. This adaptive rhetoric made a critical impact in Anzaldúa’s time and is useful even today as we examine feminist rhetorical situations from within the academia, in politics, and beyond.

Table of Contents

Introduction 8

    Gloria Anzaldúa: An Introduction to Revolutionary Disruption 9

Literature Review 10

             Anzaldúa as a Killjoy Feminist 11

             Beyond the Western Tradition, South of the Border 12

             The New Mestiza and The Borderland: Finding a New Ethos 14

    Road Map 17

Chapter 1: Anzaldúa’s Spanglish Killjoy: Uniting and Alienating 19

     Anzaldúa’s Language: English, Spanish, Spanglish 22

     Spanglish as the Method for Unifying Women’s Experiences 25

     Spanglish as the Alienating Bridge 30

Chapter 2: Anzaldúan Inductive Reasoning: Distorted Norms Pivot Towards Change 35

     What Makes a Good Woman Also Makes a Double Standard 38

     Nosotros: Women Inherently Tied to the Man 42

Chapter 3: Anzaldúan Deductive Arguments: Building New Truths 47

     Limited Universal Truths 51

     New Truths Move Towards New Norms 59

Conclusion 69

Works Cited 75

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