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Chicanas: A Theoretical Analysis

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Director of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s (HEW) Population Affairs Office, Carl Shultz, estimated that the government funded 100,000 to 200,000 sterilizations in America, paralleling the 250,000 sterilizations that took place under the Nazi Regime (Davis, 129). In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the nation experienced a population scare after Professor Ehrlich proposed his theory of a “population bomb”, which stated that an increase in population would lead to food insecurity due to the environment’s inability to support such a large amount of people. (Put cite) The threat of overpopulation pushed the nation to increase birth control in the name of the public good. However, common fixed beliefs, called hegemonic ideologies, of hyperfertility…show more content…
Intersectionality can be described as the effect of overlapping of systems of discrimination, based on social categories like race, gender, and class, on an individual or group. White feminists did not understand why it was necessary to combat the racial systems that effected Chicanas. Chicanas faced ideologies of racial inferiority and hyperfertility, which contributed to the reasons why they were victims of forced sterilization. To combat forced sterilizations, Chicanas urged feminists to include a 72-hour waiting period for sterilizations and informed consent (Davis, 131). However, because white feminists at the time were focused on obtaining immediate rights to their bodies, they saw informed consent and a waiting period for sterilizations as inconveniences (Davis, 131). Failure to include protections for Chicanas allowed racial ideologies to affect birth controlling, leading to more forced sterilizations. While the Chicano movement did try to combat the racial economic barriers that Chicanas faced, they failed to understand the intersectionality of race and gender. Chicanas in the documentary No Más Bebés revealed that they did not tell their families about their sterilizations because women in their culture who could not give birth were deeply frowned upon. One women said she feared telling her husband about her coerced sterilization because she thought her husband would equate her to a prostitute and throw her out on the street. (No Más Bebés). Although including race as a factor birth control rights was essential to preventing continued forced sterilization, the Chicano movement wanted nothing to deal with the feminist movement because they saw birth control as a tool to destroy families. Chicanas, left unaccounted for in both movements, continued to be victims of
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