Rooted in womens voices in and through literature,
music, the visual arts and politics, Womansaints: The Saintly Portrayal of Select
African-American and Latina Cultural Heroines is offered to open dialog across
cultural boundaries, toward a greater understanding of the commonalities of
African-American and Latina womanhood.
attempts to historicize and draw parallels between stereotypes of African-American and
Latina women utilizing the Catholic Latina saint-to-whore stereotype continuum as a model.
In this study the womansaint is defined as a woman
who derives her power from purity (undiluted strength), perceived commitment to the
(common people), (nearly) silent suffering, and having not born children.
Latino communities lend themselves naturally to presenting a ready-made role model for and
stereotype of Latina women in the Madonna and Child and Virgin Mary iconography, due to
the nature of their religion. In contrast,
most African-Americans are Protestant, and their religious iconography targets the
Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ.
author, however, is able to distinguish four overlapping embodiments of the womansaint
stereotype: the Angel; the Virgin Mary; the Madonna and Child; and the Martyr.