“being called a chingón or chingona still holds those colonial and patriarchal insinuations: that you are acting like a parentless-or more specifically a fatherless-child….To be called a chingona is to be considered an unclaimed person. A chingona is a brown woman who needs to be conquered- someone who is growing up to become an unruly woman.”Alma Zaragoza-Petty
Today is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday meant to serve as the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, which has come to be associated with the celebration of Mexican (or perhaps more aptly, Mexican-American) culture in its celebration in the United States. In keeping with the theme of celebration, The Feelings Healers wants to take a moment to highlight a text that is representative of both elements—triumph over colonial influence and the celebration of Mexican culture and identity!
About the Author
This month, we’re highlighting Chingona: Owning Your Inner Badass for Healing and Justice by Dr. Alma Zaragoza-Petty, a Mexicana social justice advocate and scholar who “teaches equity to create change.” Dr. Zaragoza-Petty is the daughter of immigrant parents, born in Los Angeles and later raised in Acapulco, Mexico, for much of her childhood. She’s also a first-generation high school and college graduate with a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in education and has worked in higher education for more than twenty years. She has served as an academic advisor, as a professor, and in research and evaluation for a nonprofit organization.
Redefining the Chingona
Chingona, published in 2022, is a rich and ambitious text, which takes on the task of exploring and celebrating the label “chingona,” a formerly disdainful term that has been used to describe Latina women who are seen as too aggressive, difficult, or out of control, while the male version, chignon, is used as a compliment. Dr. Zaragoza-Petty explores the chingona label from a local perspective, having been referred to as such throughout her childhood. In this way, she is able to toe the line between memoir and manifesto, taking time to reflect upon the ways in which the term has and can be reclaimed to honor the Latina experience as well as the impacts of intergenerational trauma on the pursuit of healing.
Celebrating Cultural Identity
Chingona is a vulnerable and unflinching meditation on gender, family, socialization, sociocultural context, which, perhaps more than anything, calls other Latinas and people of color to proudly claim and celebrate their own histories and narratives in the pursuit of healing and justice. Available now on our BookShop!
Find these related books on the web and on our BookShop!
- Dr. Zaragoza-Petty on the Think Inclusive Podcast
- I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
- For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez
- Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism by Laura E. Gómez