While many people are familiar with the traditional view of the Virgin of Guadalupe, many Chicana feminists like to portray the Virgin Mary in other ways, some of which may be offensive to the general population. Many Chicana feminist artists have painted the Virgin in unique and unconventional ways that have elicited a negative response from some of the Mexican traditionalist population, while being praised by queers and feminists.
One such artist is Alma Lopez. Alma Lopez depicted the Virgin in a bikini made of roses, brown, bare body exposed, with her other clothing either behind her or folded neatly away (Calvo, 205). Her cloak is designed with images of the rebellious Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui, she is standing on a naked and pierced angel, her hands are on her hips, and her gaze is cast outwards (Calvo, 205). This is extremely different from the modest, fully clothed, downcast Virgin of the traditional image. In this sense, it is understandable that many people would be highly unhappy with this over sexualized image of their country’s mother, for many people would not want their role model to be viewed as a loose prostitute or associated with any of the other connotations that comes with the image of a half clothed woman. Lopez and her supporters’ argument is that if people continue to portray the Virgin as submissive and passive, then society is regressing, and is not promoting women’s rights (Calvo, 207).
As a queer woman, Lopez believes that women’s rights are extremely important and that she is not intentionally putting a negative spin on the Virgin of Guadalupe. She is simply challenging patriarchal society both in Christian tradition and in present day. Lopez argues that she has freedom of expression and freedom of speech in America and therefore is allowed to put sexuality and desire into her images to get her point across.
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