Unmasking Male Voices in Woman Hollering Creek: Contributions to Pedagogy and Masculinity Studies

Ramón J. Guerra
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Joan Latchaw
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Omaha, Nebraska, USA


In teaching Sandra Cisneros’ Woman Hollering Creek to undergraduates, we have developed a sociocultural and historical framework, beginning with the theoretical work of Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands and the concept of transfrontera feminism. With incidents of seduction and sexual abuse of women, spousal abuse, and patriarchal family structures, the collection of stories strongly indicates the oppressive representation of machismo. Scholars and teachers have drawn important critiques of Cisneros’s work based on destructive sociocultural forces on women. However, in rereading the text with an intended focus on the representations of male characters, we have surmised that Cisneros structured the stories in the text to reveal that men are simultaneously affected by sociocultural pressures. The male characters in this story collection play an important role beyond the characterization as oppressors.

Cisneros’s stories have helped us unmask important social forces that affect not only Chicana characters, but husbands, lovers, and even neglected fathers. Male characters in Woman Hollering Creek also have basic needs for food, shelter, love, and dignity, and they too suffer the consequences of politically charged borders. Furthermore, these masculinity effects may not often be acknowledged in teaching literature courses. The pain and struggle of male and female genders are aligned within this collection; there are several male characters who signify masculinity, and compassion, and beauty. Therefore, in revising our curricula, we intend to place some stories from Woman Hollering Creek and Rigoberto González’s Men without Bliss (2008) in conversation with each other. We do not intend to privilege one writer against another, but encourage students to consider the contributions and limitations of each in terms of theme, characterization, plot, and literary technique. It is our intention to teach students that Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek humanizes both men and women in their strength, frailty, and quest for love.

Keywords: Sandra Cisneros, Chicana Literature, transfrontera feminism, Woman Hollering Creek, Gloria Anzaldúa

Suggested Citation


Guerra, Ramón J. and Joan Latchaw. “Unmasking Male Voices in Woman Hollering Creek: Contributions to Pedagogy and Masculinity Studies.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 7, no. 3, 2020. http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/unmasking-male-voices-in-woman-hollering-creek-contributions-to-pedagogy-and-masculinity-studies


Guerra, R. J., & Latchaw, J. (2020). Unmasking male voices in Woman Hollering Creek: Contributions to pedagogy and masculinity studies. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 7(3). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-3/unmasking-male-voices-in-woman-hollering-creek-contributions-to-pedagogy-and-masculinity-studies

Author Bios

Ramón J. Guerra is an Associate Professor of English and Latino/Latin American Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His research focuses on the placement of Chicano and Latino Literature within the larger named American Literature, particularly in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He specifically examines the significance of nonfiction witness accounts, oral histories, and memoirs all under the category of testimonio as a means to expand historiography through literature. His selected publications include works on Latinos and the American Dream, the early twentieth century Mexican American writer and scholar Américo Paredes, and contemporary Latina writer Sandra Cisneros.

Joan Latchaw is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, teaching and publishing in rhetoric and composition, specifically computers and writing. Other interests include Ethnic-American literature, Jewish-American Writers, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Feminist Rhetoric. She has worked with UNO’s sister institution in Nicaragua (UNAN León) in the teaching of ESL writing, for faculty and Master’s degree students. She has also given a keynote address at an international TESOL conference at UNAN León along with workshop sessions.

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