The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader is the collection of works written by the feminist and the Chicano author, and edited by AnaLouise Keating. The book provides the readers with the analytical reflection about the works of this author in general, which allows to understand the overall message of her texts better. It is possible to assume that the works by this author question the traditional Western-centric interpretation of feminism. It is generally assumed that feminism was created and developed by white women, and it remained the prerogative of middle class, white females from Europe and United States, which influences the agenda of the movement (Anzalduá 8). No need to say that the interests of women of other social classes and of other races are not considered to be the top priority and their fight for equality is not the main one.
The question whether the contemporary feminism is really Western-centered and hegemonic, is rather interesting and worth of discussion. From one point of view, the division of women based on their race divides the supporters of the feminist movement and thus makes the feminist agenda significantly weaker. It is assumed that the main goal of feminism is to make the conditions of life equal regardless gender of the person, and the main emphasis is made on the question of gender, not race. Though, from another point of view, non-Western feminism means that it is necessary to pay attention to different problems that women of these races have. Their feminist agenda is different, based on the place where they live and their cultural background. Anzalduá introduces such concepts into her feminist critique as spiritual activism, la mestiza consiousness, the left-handed world, new tribalism, etc. The anthology does not feature only the feminist theories. It addresses different urgent social issues, among which are the questions of postmodern indigeneity, disability studies, and problems connected with queer studies. In general, the book is the detailed source of knowledge about social issues that are discussed from the perspective of the woman with the Chicano identity.
The story “La Prieta” that can be found in this anthology, has many autobiographical elements that allow to understand the personality of the author better and to evaluate her contribution in promoting social justice and equality. It is possible to find in this story that the vision of Anzalduá is mainly left-handed, as she writes about it. It is described in the following way: “Third World women, lesbians, feminists, and feminist-oriented men of all colors are banding and bonding together to right that balance [broken by the rational, patriarchal, and the heterosexual” (Anzalduá 50).
This book is essential to read because it allows the readers to look at the questions of social justice, race, and gender from a non traditional perspective. Gloria Anzalduá provides the readers with the detailed investigations into the questions of social justice and equality. It allows the readers to create the theoretical basis for making further conclusions about these problems and to apply this knowledge to real life situations. The author herself shares the ideas of feminism, queer studies, disabilities studies, which allows to call her the role model for her audience. She aims at showing that even when the Western social justice activists start talking about equality, their views are still very heterogeneous by their essence. This claim is illustrated by the example of the feminist theory that concentrates on the contribution of the white middle class women, their problems and their fight, ignoring the problems that the females of other races, cultures, and social background might have.