Transforming expectations: Analyzing Mexican American women's connections to culture as transferred by maternal figures



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La familia es lo primero—Family comes first. This proverbial phrase often heard on the lips of Mexican American mothers reminds their children of the age-old expectation of familial values within Latinx culture, just as it was told to them by their mother, who was told by their mother, and so on. The mother is expected to ensure the passing down of traditions, values, and culture to the next generation, although the representative is not always the biological mother. Furthermore, traumatic lived experiences without the psychological, emotional, and mental support of a positive maternal figure can forever alter how the subsequent generation perceives their heritage and culture.

The gendered experience the Mexican American mother-daughter dynamic is illustrated in texts such as Reyna Grande’s The Distance Between Us (2012), Erika Sánchez’s I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (2017), and Cherríe Moraga’s Native Country of the Heart (2019), each adding to the collective voice of Chicana women. To reconcile differences between family members from different generations, it is important to learn how to be accepting and understanding of cultural heritage and/or ethnic history so that one can better acknowledge its negative or positive interactions with majority groups that establish hegemonic ideology.



Mexican American women; Feminism; Intergenerational Trauma; Borderlands