Cassandra: Research Update

April 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hi everyone. I have been a lot more successful on my second go at the chola research! I have actually found quite a bit of information–mostly journal and magazine articles–on the “chola.”  Since deciding to go back to my original line of inquiry I initially isolated my  topic to visual representations of Latina women in the 20th century–broad, I know. I have to rework my question but I keep getting distracted by certain  lines of information so I’m hoping I will magically refocus soon. While searching for some current representations of “chola” online I came across this song and a bunch of  (very) amateur videos made using it. It’s called “Lean Like a Chola” by a drag performer named Carmen  Lokz (it is actually a parody of a song titled “Lean Like a Cholo,” which is not a good song and unfortunately not a parody). What is so interesting about it  to me–aside from the catchy quality of the song–is that the lyrics mention every single stereotype of the chola (many negative). Rather than finding this in poor taste or offensive, I find it to be revealing. First, due to the fact that I have had a difficult time finding work that doesn’t lie within these stereotypes (which may prove to be an issue for any topic concerning a “group” of people). Secondly, I find it fascinating to that a drag performer is the one who sings this song. It reminds me of theorist Judith Butler’s theory on gender performativity, in which one calls attention to gender binaries through drag. I was thinking that the same thing could possibly be applied to cholas and the subversive characteristics of their appearance. This is just an initial idea, I haven’t actually worked it all out but there is something about the exaggeration of feminine characteristics, almost to a grotesque level, the thickly drawn on eyebrows, dark lip liner drawn outside of the lips, the hair, etc., which I find draws attention to the absurdity of gender stereotypes and expectations and even appears intentional in this way. Again, I may be getting sidetracked by theory, but I want to think about this a bit more as I think there may be some gem within this idea that will help me narrow my question.

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