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“Selena Quintanilla: Deconstructing the Feminine Script”

The 1995 death of Selena Quintanilla, the beloved and renowned Tejano singer, has compelled academics to research the many dimensions of her life and how they informed her art. U.S. critics have tended to focus on the singer’s gender performativity and the alleged hyper-sexuality of her public image. Following advances in feminist scholarship in recent years, critics are beginning to approach the singer’s dualistic representations in regards to how she approached gender relations. By juxtaposing Selena’s stage performances alongside her lyrics, we are better equipped to analyze how she worked to deconstruct a normative feminine script. This presentation seeks to add to this fruitful line of inquiry.

In the songs studied here (“Amor prohibido”, “Como la flor”, “Las cadenas”, and “La llamada”), Selena creates a space that promotes a dualistic consciousness with regards to sexuality and culture, with her lyrics focusing principally on love, heartbreak, and female empowerment. Consequently, Selena uses these concepts to deconstruct social binaries that would otherwise limit Chicana identity and to highlight a subtle intervention that beckons a new masculine ideal. This presentation concludes by contemplating the role of lyrical ambiguity in relation to how the singer approached these same concepts.

Key words: dualistic thinking, gender performativity, Chicana feminism, masculinity

Part of the pre-organized panel: “Latinx Literature and Cultural Production along the US-Mexico Border”


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • Modern & Classical Languages

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
  • Event date
    • 26 March 2021

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Joshua Martin