Girlhood in the Borderlands

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Many families migrate for what they believe, a better chance at life for them and mostly their children. However, immigration policies have produced the separation of families many times. Not only that but, as a Latina you would have to prove yourself more, even sometimes to your own family, that you deserve more than just to stay home, learn to cook and clean, but that you also deserve an education and/or that you deserve recognition.

Girlhood to borderlands is a book written by Lilia Soto about the story of three Mexican teenage girls caught in the crossroads of migration. They had always believed that something better was always somewhere else than from where they were, they always focused on the future. There were in total about 60 Mexican girls interviewed in Napa and in Mexico. Many would say they felt like they never really felt like they belonged because they stood out from being too Mexican for the U.S. but somewhat too American for their hometowns in Mexico. However, they never had to really deal with identity because they always depended on being Latina.

Some of the young women’s stories were about having to leave right at the moment to make it on the train to the US, leaving all they had, the benefit of the doubt is to hopefully get a better life than their parents by being able to go to school. One of the girls, in the book, the youngest of her siblings, wanted to the US when she was older and study mechanics to become an engineer, but then realized that although being a mechanical engineer would be useful in the US, it would not be as useful from where she was, and instead would have to take a different course on Latina/Latino studies.

As the author of, “Girlhood in the Borderlands”, Lilia Soto wrote this book interviewing many young women about their migration story or routine, and while doing this she was “looking for herself”, and trying to relate to their story. She is also an associate professor and went to the University of Wyoming and studied American and Latina/Latino studies. Her inspiration for the book came to her while she read books about ethnic and Latino studies, and wondered about the migrants that traveled here in a search to the US for a better life. Migrants mostly work in the fields for their children not to have to go through what they went through, and then she realized, what about us?

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