Women Don’t Riot is a poem written by Ana Castillo who was a Mexican-American Chicana who began to write protest literature in the late 1970’s. Castillo called herself a “Chicana protest poet” which was a part of the Chicano movement from 1965-1975. The Chicano movement was a Mexican-American activist group who sought to define their cultural and political identity. The poem Women Don’t Riot was written in 1998 and was about how women do not fight for their misery. In the poem Castillo mentioned very stereotypical jobs that women possessed at the time and are seen in history to have. These jobs consisted of sweatshops, kitchens, laundries, and hotels. She would then go on to say that women will not defend themselves against violence from men because they do not know how to do so. Castillo stated, “Women who were molested as children raped, beaten, harassed, which means every last one sooner or later; women who’ve defended themselves and women who can’t or don’t know how, we don’t-won’t ever rise up in arms” (45). The poem preaches how women are treated very poorly and they do not do anything to try and make these situations better. She is saying that you will not see women in the streets linked together arm and arm rioting about how they are treated.
Simone de Beauvoir wrote literature and philosophy on the topics of feminist and existentialist themes. One of her most popular writings was The Second Sex. The Book focused on feminism in the 20th century. Beauvoir main arguments in the text were that women have never been equal to men and that they are almost slaves of men. She said that even in the word women, the “Wo” is behind “Men” and that there are endless things that push women to be lesser human beings then men. Beauvoir goes on to say that the liberation of women is similar to the liberation of African-Americans because they are both “freeing themselves from a like paternalism, and the formerly dominant class wants them to stay in their place”. She expresses that women are always having their freedom limited through oppression or through personal choice.
Simone de Beauvoir and Ana Castillo would most likely agree with one another regarding what they both are standing up for. They both argue that women are treated poorly and that they will always be treated differently than men. If Beauvoir had read Castillo’s poem she would have been interested in the pint of view of a Mexican-American woman in America going through the same, if not harder issues then your American women at the time. Women Don’t Riot is kind of a story that follows the message that Beauvoir is expressing. The fact that women are almost slaves to men and they will always be behind them in the eyes of society. Castillo’s description of the day to day jobs women have and the beatings and rape they go through without fighting back, connects to Beauvoir’s claims that women are limited through oppression or through personal choice, allowing others to define them.
Women today are still seen as not equal to men. Times have changed since these writings were published and women have gained a lot more equality and freedom, but they still face the silence and fear to stand up against men that they faced in the past.