Growing up in Coachella, Melina Duarte felt like she didn’t know the words to describe the independent, strong, courageous Latinas. Instead, whenever he went to social events or festivals, he saw T-shirts with the words “cutie” and “Princesa” (princess).
Even when the young woman Duarte quickly realized that “Chula is not my thing.”
“I’m not just Latina. I’m a bad person and I do things, ”said Duarte.
This lack of representation is what led Duarte to pull out bags with new meanings of the word “Chingona” in them. The first batch he made was a DIY project that got a lot of feedback on social media. This prompted Duarte to turn his DIY project into a small business called Chingona Definition.
In Latin America and the Latin American communities in the United States, the word chingona has always had a negative connotation.
The word is historically used to describe women who are “very aggressive,” and the male word “chingon” is used as a way of praising men. In recent years, Latin-speaking people like Duarte have made efforts to reclaim the name and use it as a means of self-empowerment, much as the LGBTQI community has restored the word “queer”.
Duarte was confident that chingona type bags would be a disaster within his network. Many of his friends and colleagues used the word “chingona” to empower themselves. A week later he released a pile of bags in January 2017 for sale.
“People are waiting for more bags to come out,”. “I have received orders from New York, Florida, Oregon, and across the country.”
Elizabeth Romero, who also grew up in the Eastern Coachella Valley, said she too has seen the lack of words used to describe strong, independent Latin. When Romero heard of his friend’s opinion, he was eager to support him.
“This word is powerful and timeless,” Romero said. [This] can lead to social action and social change. ”
Romero, the current President of the Riverside County Board of Education, said throughout his professional career he has been fortunate to be surrounded by machines that have inspired him to keep moving forward.
“The most important thing is that they feel that way in whatever they do. [Name,] is a powerful symbol and symbol because they have their place. ”
“I think this is a new organization. Depending on the political situation, our momentum may be to flee or give up, especially for people who do not have books or who live in fear, ”said Mendez.
While Duarte is very excited about how fast his customer base is growing, and he is very committed to monitoring his intellectual property.
You have the right to own a name and a meaning. Despite being approached by many stores that would like to sell his goods, Duarte has decided to keep his distribution small.
In 2017, Duarte sold about 700 bags with very little marketing. Duarte’s customers have also been asking him to release T-shirts with the name and meaning. Duarte said he plans to make more sales this year.
For Duarte, the Meaning of Chingona is more than a business; movement.
“I also want to make a women’s empowerment movement on this, have a conference around this [and] be a people’s goal.”
Mendez admits that Duarte’s efforts are already helping to create the conversation space that many Latina needed and wanted to have for a while.