Priscila Mojica Rodriguez 's Vital Empowerment Crusade
There's something infectious about a woman with confidence. But a woman with confidence, knowledge of self, and a powerful voice —that's just dangerous. So when we came across Latina Rebels, a site created to disrupt the binary expectations placed on Latinas bodies and minds, we had to meet the woman behind it.
Priscila Mojica Rodriguez is phenomenal. In addition to running Latina Rebels with four other women, she's a writer, activist and honest badass with a mission to kick colonial paradigms in the extremo.
Read our interview with her below.
What is your passion and how does it manifest in your day-to-day work?
"I am passionate about sharing resources and making Latinx visible. I spend the majority of my time finding ways to translate all the inaccessible language in the academy into everyday relatable and conversational language. Through my stories I have found the most flexibility to do that, because while my mama won't understand what I am saying when I say, 'I want to address the colorism that we have internalized as a colonized people living in the diaspora.' My mom will understand: Let’s talk about wearing long sleeves while at la playa. I use my own experiences to highlight problems and the strengths of our people, as Latinx.
Is there something missing for Latinas, in terms of representation on a global level? And what is the best form it can be translated (film, magazines, television etc)?
"Omaiga yes, we are missing almost entirely. Latinx who have primarily European facial features, thin and abled bodies, they are still the only ones on television, magazines, film. We are not allowed to be complicated, queer, brown, black, differently abled, fat. We are not allowed to be human, we are only allowed into any screen as the 'exotic' and the 'sexy' and the 'other.' Our stories have not been told, just one story and one aesthetic."
When you talk about chonga feminism and "having ownership over our bodies and decisions", who in your history as women have been the oppressors and what steps can be made to readjust the paradigm?
"I don’t know if I would call anyone in my female family line oppressive, but I will say that a lot of the women in my family history have internalized a lot of self-hatred that has translated to our own policing of our bodies and minds. It is common for women in my family line to check other women about our weight, and how subservient we are/aren’t being.
I think that being bold about resisting that narrative, which means having difficult situations at the dinner table and possibly 'ruining' family moments, is the only way. I haven’t found another way, but quite frankly this work feels urgent and necessary and it is never going to not feel necessary."
Where do Latinos see themselves in the current racial divide in this country?
"I do not actually know where Latinx see themselves, because I only live in my skin and with my own experiences. I think we are told to represent everyone in our communities by outsiders, but we cannot do that, and should not be expected to do that. I do know that as a Latina living in the South, I feel erased within any race conversations. The south is very much rooted in ONLY having conversations that are white and black. Brown (even if just ethnically as an oversimplification of Latinidad) is just NOT something can even wrap their minds around."
Specifically as a Nicaraguan woman, do you feel a connection with the Motherland? And if so, what kind of connection?
"My connection to the Motherland is a birthright. I cannot feel disconnected to the land that birthed me, and that houses my entire extended families. It is internal, and real, and cannot be taken from me. I speak Spanish that only people in Nicaragua will understand. I have mannerisms that are shared by my country’s people. I am Nicaragua, and I live in the diaspora. That just is."
Read your piece about being considered "ugly" and dark-skinned in your community. When did you realize you were a Black girl? Or in your case a darker complexion Latina?
"I’ve always known I was a darker Latina, but I haven’t always known that meant that I was an 'ugly' Latina. That was something that was told to me, often by others in my community who were trying to get closer to whiteness, to power, to access. It was hard growing up knowing other people thought you were ugly because of the color of your skin, but that is why I tell my stories: to represent that experience and help people not have to experience that alone."
Learn more about Priscila's work at Latina Rebels.
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