Chicana Feminism and Horror: Fear La Llorona
AbstractThis paper will document how La Llorona is depicted in horror movies particularly in the 2007 film The Wailer 2: La Llorona 2. I will use a Chicana feminist framework to read The Wailer 2 and its illustration of La Llorona particularly as this portrayal is related to La Llorona as a cultural symbol for Chicanas. This movie, and others like it, trivializes how Chicanas have re- theorized La Llorona. For Chicanas, La Llorona is a cultural icon, descendant of La Malinche and Aztec Goddess Cihuacotal, who represents women’s voice and agency. While Chicana literature and horror movies are two very different mediums, it is important to look at how they are related and what effects portrayals of La Llorona in horror can have on Chicana’s re- theorizing of this important cultural icon. I argue that a close reading of la Llorona in The Wailer 2 is necessary for various reasons. First, there are very few representations of Latin@s in film, especially in horror. As such, the few portrayals of Latin@s in film tend to carry the burden of representation regardless of whether they are accurate or not. In the case of The Wailer 2, Latin@s are represented as drunks and womanizers. Women, like La Llorona fall victim to machista norms. bell hooks explains that “whether we like it or not, cinema assumes a pedagogical role in the lives of many people. It may not be the intent of the filmmaker to teach audiences anything, but that does not mean that lessons are not learned” (hooks 2). As such, The Wailer 2 not only reflects and teaches misogynistic views, but it also distorts the legend of La Llorona. Second, the people who already believe these stereotypes and patriarchal norms are more likely to watch the movie than read Chican@ literature. The discourse on screen can have a negative effect on Chicanas as a whole. Hooks explains how “movies do not merely offer us the opportunity to reimagine the culture we most intimately know on the screen, they make culture” (hooks 9). The Wailer: La Llorona and The Wailer 2’s remakes of the legend of La Llorona reinforces stereotypical beliefs of the “other,” in this case Mexicans, Mexican Americans and women. Finally, a critique of horror movies in general is important from a Chicana feminist perspective since very little research has been done in this area. Through this Chicana feminist lens, I critique The Wailer 2 and how it creates and portrays gender particularly as it relates to La Llorona as a cultural symbol for Chicanas. I also explore how this movie and others like it jeopardize and/or trivialize how Chicanas have retheorized la Llorona.
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