Josefina Lopez's Real Women Have Curves And Across A Hundred Mountains

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By analyzing the economic and social conditions depicted in Josefina López’s Real Women Have Curves and Reyna Grande’s Across a Hundred Mountains we can gain insight into how economic systems like neoliberalism have shaped and continue to shape the lives of Mexican and Chicana women. López writes about undocumented Chicana workers living in East LA in the mid to late nineteen eighties, a time when the United States was transitioning into the late capitalist system of neoliberalism. Grande, on the other hand, focuses on an impoverished rural family suffering under the economic conditions in Mexico at around the same time, and of the wave of immigration into the Unites States that followed the economic crisis of 1982. Overall, the two stories …show more content…
Ana and the women she works with are working-class Chicanas who are dealing with impossible Eurocentric beauty standards maintained by neoliberalism, which dictate that, in order to be beautiful, women must be thin. This issue is compounded by the fact that these women of color are constantly reminded that their only value is in their attractiveness and their domesticity. For example, Ana’s mother Carmen reminds her daughters that they will never be loved or find husbands in their current state. “At this age young girls should make themselves as attractive as possible” Carmen says to Ana (López, 58.) Rosali can’t imagine herself as a sexual being, claiming that she didn’t want anyone to touch her until she became thin (López, 59.) These women all feel limited by their curves and are constantly reminded that the dresses they work so hard to make don’t even come in their size. This is the nature of the neoliberal economy – women of color are underpaid for their labor, which serves a wealthy white population that conforms to Eurocentric standards of health and beauty. The economic and social conditions of rural Mexico around the same time are vastly different. Juana’s body is shaped by hunger and scarcity as nutritious food is a special treat that her family is only able to afford on special occasions. On her twelfth birthday, Juana’s father brings home a rotisserie chicken but as soon as he leaves for El Otro Lado, she and her mother find their “throats aching for water” and their “empty bellies crying for food” (Grande, 40.) In the rural of Mexico, these women had even less agency and mobility than Ana and her family; without a man to support them, they struggle to locate sources of income. Whereas López’s characters in East LA ration their food in order to maintain thin bodies, the economic conditions of Mexico result in scarcity of sustenance. The positions in which both groups of women find

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