Article Title

Understanding Patriarchy As an Expression of Whiteness: Insights from the Chicana Movement

Publication Title

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy


Race, of course, is but one aspect of the self or of political or social categorization. Class and gender relations (in addition to other considerations) also combine to structure social relations and individual consciousness. One of the questions that feminists like Catharine MacKinnon and Marylyn Frye asked early on was whether patriarchy has a color. This is not as simple or as odd a question as it might first appear. What this question asks is whether the pattern of racial management is structurally similar to or part of the system of gender management, and vice versa. This Essay examines this question through the lens of the early Chicano movement and the emergence of Chicana feminism, with its resistance to patriarchy as well as to white supremacy. Chicana feminism, both in its later form, but more importantly in its nascent or inchoate form, represented a challenge to the racial politics of the Chicano movement. This confrontation emerged through a resistance to the sexual roles that developed during this period.