Author Archives: Rios de la Luz

La Virgen de Oklahoma: Jane the Virgin and Flashbacks to Abstinence-Only Education in Biology Class

Jane the Virgin

I thought about staying a virgin until marriage when I was thirteen years old because I started attending a Baptist church with my best friend. She was almost two years older than me so, I figured she was wiser and she seemed very certain about remaining chaste. Sexuality, in general, was very confusing for me. For one, I didn’t want to think about sexuality. I felt trapped in a body that was not growing into itself, I felt ashamed to be in my body because of the trauma encrypted into my body at the hands of a grown man when I was a child. I was afraid that being touched meant giving away a part of myself that I could never get back. Being a virgin and “saving yourself” was a conversation I heard in church a lot. It was always about being pure for your future husband and once he gave you a diamond ring and proposed, on your wedding night, you could give him your version of a diamond ring. The both of you could stop dry humping in front of God and get to real life intercourse as God applauds at your ability to wait.
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Rejecting Forgiveness Culture: Women in Revenge Films

Lady Snowblood (1973) Directed by Toshiya Fujita

I have an affinity for revenge stories. Three of my favorite movies are revenge films. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Lady Snowblood and Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 have a special place in my heart. I love the ruthlessness that accompanies the main female characters in these films. I love the unapologetic politics of killing those who have wronged you in the past. I love the lack of forgiveness. These women have lost a part of their humanity and this is what is left. The anger. The rage. The power to delve into a dark part of themselves because this is what is necessary to get rid of the evil men. They will not be silenced.

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Growing Up Xicana: Looking back on La Reina Selena 21 Years After Her Death


Selena Quintanilla

I am seven years old and one of the kids in class starts singing “Bidi bidi bom bom” and I am ready to sing along because I love this song so much and I want to be Selena so bad. The kid continues singing and then ends the song with “Selena is a dumb dumb.” I turned so fast, gasped, and pointed my finger at the kid. “You cannot talk about her like that. Selena does not deserve your ugly words, pendejo.” I was ready to fight for my queen. I am still seven and it is time to take school photos, I specify to my cousin Omar, “I want my hair to look like Selena’s.” He curled my hair into tight swirls and then put it into a high ponytail and I never felt so beautiful in a school photo before. Anytime Selena’s videos played on TV, I was enchanted. Her energy was magnetic and I loved watching her perform. I am eight years old and I get home from school and turn on the TV. The news reporter is explaining that Selena was pronounced dead in the afternoon. I turned the TV off and stared up at the ceiling in silence for a long time, I didn’t cry, but my head felt light and I couldn’t think about anything else that day. I moved to Colorado that summer to live with my Tía Irma. For the sake of bonding, she used to drive me around in her red Toyota with the radio blasting. We danced and sang as  loud as we could in the car. I remember we made it back to the apartment in the evening after a session of karaoke in the car together and Selena’s newest song, “Dreaming of You” vibrated through the speakers. We sat in silence and let Selena finish singing before we got out of the car. Today is the 21st anniversary of her passing and I still think of her often, as a light and as someone who was taken from earth too early (she was 23). Even with her tragic departure, she is still an icon. She radiates power and what it means to be a xingona (a badass).
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