Jessamine and the Shadow-Beast

Jessamine says that when she learned that her grandmother didn’t want her mother to attend high school because there were too many boys, she thought, “I don’t think it’s right. Women have their own voice also. They can get better opportunities out there, and not just stay at home for the man.” 

Gloria Anzaldúa might say that Jessamine is coming to terms with the Shadow-Beast of a mestiza consciousness that is a reality of Latinas who straddle multiple cultures and contradictory identities. Anzaldúa conceived of the Shadow-Beast as a powerful force brought about by one’s vision of self as living both with and in defiance to ideals held by family and culture. The power of a Shadow-Beast is awakened by a person’s own subversive actions against it, notably through their resistance to conform, contort, or defer to the orders and authority of patriarchy. The wisdom Jessamine draws from acknowledging her Shadow-Beast empowers her to give guidance to her younger brother. “He’s just a freshman, but I tell him, ‘Don’t give up. Talk to counselors, teachers; see what you can do. Don’t listen to others who say you’re not going to make it, because you are.” [Big thanks to Claire DowneySarah Prevost and Professor Shaun Wrighof JMU’s School of Media Arts and Design for producing and editing these short films. You rock!]


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