She Pushed Their Eyes Away…

That line leapt out at me.  Gloria Anzaldua in “The Coautlicue State” talks of being oppressed as felling as if those who are considered “normal” as seeming to constantly stare at her, as if she always has something to hide and having to create what sounds like a fortress made of spikes, nettles and her own silence, either hiding away or actively resisting those same oppressors.  While she applies this specifically to herself and other Chicanos, this same idea applies to anyone who has been oppressed or bullied in some way.  Her idea of the Coautlicue state is the state right before any change can occur, a paralyzation that can overcome one’s ability to escape one’s own self made fortress of fear, to “remain a stone forever”.  This is the true state of the oppressed, to stay trapped by one’s own mind that convinces you to just stay safe in your oppressed state, that trying to cross that boundary and overcome this oppression is too difficult, that there are too many forces arrayed against you to even bother.  It has a duality to it, she seems to say that this state is necessary before anything can happen at all, that in acknowledging this, acknowledging that this oppression exists, one is able to use it to stride forward and get what you want despite the forces arrayed against you.

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3 Responses to She Pushed Their Eyes Away…

  1. thetagirl10 says:

    I love the connections you made here with the Coautlicue state of mind and how Gloria thinks that people need to be in this state before more and better things can happen to them. Even though I agree with Gloria slightly on this though it is good to look at the other side of things. Why do people have to hit rock bottom in order to stand back up? Why must this Coautlicue state occur where according to you and Gloria one must learn how oppressed they are in order to make a difference for themselves and their community. Gloria thinks in such a positive mind mostly thinking about the way things could be, but here she gets very depressing. I believe that communities whether it is of the white race, a different ethnicity, or sexuality rises together collectively as a group because they want to be better as a whole and engage in the world in everything they do. This can definitely be done without reaching a horrible era of depression in which Gloria describes she has been through; but I’m just a positive type of person and am just trying to think more like that!

    • I think that most people, though certainly not all, have to reach that point in order to break free of their old defense mechanisms that were preventing that forward momentum. Its the moment of revelation that addiction counselors refer to, that rock bottom moment. I think you can only reach that state as an individual, that even the act of finding solidarity in a larger group is just another defense mechanism unless they’ve all made that pass through the river away from the Coautlicue state.

  2. jkv21 says:

    I definitely agree with your point that people really believe that they need to break free from their own mind. Sometimes the hardest part of making decisions, or moving forward in life is convincing yourself of what you need to do and to break free of your own habits. In order to be happy with yourself you need to make sure you’re making the decisions that are best for you and that you actually believe you’re doing what’s best not just what you’re used to. I think Gloria realized this by hitting that depressing state and getting back up. I think a big point of this is our society hitting a “rock bottom” by tearing down everyone who is different, whether that be by skin color, sexuality, etc. If everyone could figure out a way to break free from this hurtful defense mechanism we have against change, a lot could be accomplished.

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