Mexico in the 1600’s was a territory of change. Less than one hundred years earlier, in 1521, Hernan Cortez had colonized and dethroned the Aztec Empire. Ten years later, the apparition of “La Virgen Morena” or the Lady of Guadalupe molds Mexican believes. In 1648 another female, a mestiza, leaves a mark for what would be theleading Mexican mestiza writer of the time and one of the Castilian language literary gems. In only 47 years, Juana Ines Asbade Ramirez or Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz, managed to write over 360 poems and prose with a feminist focus. In the tradition of many Latin American writers, De La Cruz is able to feature “feminist functionalism” through the use of the body and word. (Thomas 2010) One of hermost recognized pieces of her literature is Redondillas: Satira Filosofica, commonly referred as to “Hombres Necios.” The famed poem narrates the female perspective and frustrations due to allegations made by men in colonial Mexico. De La Cruz takes a solid feminist position during a time where history tended to be focused on masculinity. (Trasser & Tinsma 2010) The word used by De La Cruzbecomes the embodiment of a female narrative and a power that at the time was suppressed, has transcended centuries and is still relevant today. Such tradition of embodiment through the usage of the word is also applied in post colonial female writers like bell hooks and Gloria Andulzua. Just as De La Cruz 400 years earlier, hooks and Andulzua have managed to utilize the word as a site of struggleand space to feature the minority female narrative. (Bornstein-Gómez, M. 2010)
Hombres necios que acusáis
a la mujer sin razón,
sin ver que sois la ocasión
de lo mismo que culpáis:
“Silly, you men-so very adept
at wrongly faulting womankind,
not seeing you're alone to blame
for faults you plant in woman's mind.
Through the use of her word, Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz portrayed acontext that is described by Andulzua as Haciendo Caras to express a feminist narrative during a time that such expressions were suppressed. Andulzua explains Haciendo Caras are the faces used under certain situations to fulfill the expected social requirement. When those faces are not used, the individual is bound to experience segregation, alienation and even be put to shame. (Anzaldua 1990) Atthe age of 16 Juana Ines Asbade Ramirez put on a face that became part of her identity. Depending on the biographer, one can learn that Juana Ines Asbade Ramirez wanted to peruse her vocation as a writer and refused wear the face of wife and mother, a face that was expected of the young ladies of the time. (Edina 2011)
si con ansia sin igual
solicitáis su desdén,
¿por qué quereis que obrenbien
si las incitáis al mal?
After you've won by urgent plea
the right to tarnish her good name,
you still expect her to behave--
you, that coaxed her into shame.
Her refusal to wear the mask or the face expected, leads Juana Ines Asbade Ramirez to a cloistered life as a religious nun, segregated and alienated. Juana Ines takes one of the faces approved by society of the time – Sor JuanaInes de La Cruz. This face becomes a part of her identity that allows her to peruse her vocation as a writer and through the use of words she is able to wear different faces (lover, betrayed, betrayer, sinner, saint, etc) to write of the feminist perspective in Mexico during 1600. Just as Anzuldua in Haciendo Caras, Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz aimed to confront the suppression of women. Inkeeping with the tradition expressed by Anzaldua in Haciendo Caras, as a Latina, Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz uses emotion to feature the female essence in her writing with an effort to reconstruct femininity. In different time periods, Anzuldua and De La Cruz question the “normal” form of understanding constructed on western masculinity, heterosexual and class. (Bornstein-Gómez, 2010)