|With Her Machete in Her Hand|
by Catrióna Rueda Esquibel
Buy It Now
reviewed in Journal of the History of Sexuality
Volume 20, Number 2, May 2011
Reviewed by Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz
Arriving at the University of California, Riverside, the first member of my extended family to go to college, I read everything my professors recommended. Such experts, however, did not assign any texts that spoke directly to me and my experiences as a young woman of working-class Mexican descent who had begun to question her sexuality. Always the precocious and studious type, I associated with mostly senior activist Chicana/o students who educated me outside the classroom by suggesting reading materials. I could hardly wait to begin reading three books on Chicana/Latina sexuality that a friend had recommended: The Sexuality of Latinas (1989), edited by Norma Alarcón, Cherríe Moraga, and Ana Castillo; The Mixquiahuala Letters (1986), A. Castillo's first novel; and the foundational text This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981), edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa. I devoured such texts because they validated my experiences and empowered me as a Chicana lesbian. As a professor and specialist in queer Chicana/o literature and culture, I continue to search the field for texts to offer to my students and incorporate into my work.
In With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians, part of the Chicana Matters series, Catrióna Rueda Esquibel has done the arduous and necessary research to bring it all together. This text will be essential in the field of Chicana/o studies in general and Chicana/o feminist and queer literature in particular. Scholars in fields like gender studies and English literature would also benefit from incorporating this book into their literary canons.