National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version


Document Type



UReCA: The NCHC Undergraduate Journal of Research and Creative Activity, 2021, pages 130-141


Copyright 2021, the author


A critical essay titled “In Between The Virgin and The Whore”: Decentering the Cultural Paradigms of The Virgin of Guadalupe And La Malinche in Four Writers by Miren Neyra Alcántara in UReCA: The NCHC Undergraduate Journal of Research and Creative Activity, 2021, pages 130-141.

First paragraph

There are several oppressive cultural paradigms in Mexican culture that try to subject women. These cultural formulations are forged through historical events, in this case the colonization of Mexico. The two of the most important feminine archetypes in Mexico are “The Virgin of Guadalupe” and “La Malinche”. Both effigies of femininity are fundamentally anchored in catholicism and colonization. The Spanish conquest of the Americas and its violent colonization is due to the expansion of Catholicism, thus in Mexico, colonialism and religion are intimately intertwined. The Virgin of Guadalupe icon is born out of the catholic church and it is profoundly rooted in colonialism. On the other hand, La Malinche represents the indigenous woman Malitzin that was sold as a slave during the conquest. The two paradigms work in a separate but coordinated way to create oppressive boundaries for Mexican and Chicana women. These feminine representations moralize what is considered as inadequate attitudes from Mexican and Chicana women. They have appeared in literature as the representation of feminine expectation. Literature is a tool with the ability to reach audiences, in the case of women, and it has the possibility of empowering. The importance of decentering these cultural guidelines is born from a growing need for women in Mexico and the United States to achieve autonomy.