Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

One paper down...

" Luisa: You have to make the clitoris your best friend.
Tenoch: What kind of friend is always hiding?"
-Y Tu Mama Tambien
So I just finished my final paper for my class on Latin American Cinema. In it I focused on female identity in Mexican films.
The paper was tough, and I'm glad it's done with, but at least I learned a bit. Here in New Mexico, we see many images of the sacred Virgin of Guadalupe. I'd never known exactly what the significance of the image was until I did my recent research.

Basically, the Virgin of Guadalupe is a representation of the Virgin Mary in the Americas. More specifically, as Joanne Hershfield describes in her book Mexican Cinema/Mexican Woman, the legend goes like this: "a dark-skinned apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared to an Indian named Juan Diego in 1531, just ten years after the Spanish destruction of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.”

While the Virgin of Guadalupe could have potentially been seen as a threat to standard European Christianity, Hershfield suggests a certain undermining of Aztec culture: “By building the symbol of the Virgin of Guadalupe upon the existing structure of Tonantzin [the hill on which the Virgin apparently appeared, also dedicated to the Aztec virgin Tonantzin]…indigenous groups were able to incorporate the idea of a Christian universe into an existing religious discourse. However, it appears that by seemingly allowing the Indians to construct their own meaning of the Virgin, the Catholic Church was more easily able to achieve its larger colonial intent.”

So I'm sort of cheating on my blog by rehashing what I just wrote twenty minutes ago. But this is cool stuff, and I'm excited to know the significance of this prevalent image. If you have a chance, Wikipedia "La Malinche," another image of Mexican identity usually intertwined with the Virgin. La Malinche happens to be Hernan Cortez's Aztec "lover." Her story is also quite fascinating.


At 8:54 PM, Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I never discuss religion for fear of argument and fighting. I did take a European Witchcraft course in college and realized its closeness to Catholicism.

At 1:21 AM, Blogger ShadowFalcon said...

Y Tu Mama Tambien - was a great movie.

At 5:59 AM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

You've been tagged by Our Lady of Guadalupe ;) 12/9 was the day Juan Diego first espied her; 12/12 is her feast day. Roses in December -- a nice post, hombre.

At 6:30 AM, Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Love this stuff and am a big devotee of the Virgin Mary!

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Steven Novak said...


Actually, this was an interesting read, so I'll forgive you. ;)


At 4:57 PM, Blogger Stewart Sternberg said...

I always love reading about comparative religion. I especially enjoy reading about how Christianity morphed in different locales to incorporate indigeous cultural trappings and traditions.

I think the most blatant has been the Easter traditions, although Christmas, with its phallic tree comes in a close second. But Easter strikes me more closely. Imagine the most holy of holidays named for a goddess. Oestra.

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Interesting post. I made a ceramic figure of Our Lady of Guadalupe once.

At 6:44 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Interesting stuff about the Virgin! But I have to admit that it was tough getting past the first sentence ... that was a wonderful movie! ;)


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