Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Diana Noreen Rivera

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Carmona

Third Advisor

Dr. Marci McMahon


This thesis analyzes elements of humor used by Chicana cultural producers (poets, performance artists, stand up comediennes) to subvert negative stereotypes of Chicanas. Chicana humorists have challenged harmful images of Mexican American women through poetry, prose, performances, and stand-up comedy. While Américo Paredes created a scholarly foundation for the study of Chicano humor, it is evident that Chicanos and members of dominant society mock Chicanas with their brand of humor. I argue writers like Michele Serros and Lorna Dee Cervantes resist dichotomous Chicana imagery and instead create and add to Chicana representation with humor. This thesis examines performance artist Maria Elena Gaitán for her use of humor to bring awareness to Chicana injustice in California in the late twentieth century. I examine her alongside Monica Palacios and America Ferrera. Although Chicana humorists in recent history have created new imagery and representation for the larger Chicana perspective, I conclude my study with a chapter on Internet memes from the lower Rio Grande Valley, which have been created to further mock and satirize Chicanas. I juxtapose this negative representation with the internet presence of standup comedienne turned social advocate Cristela Alonzo.


Copyright 2018 Victoria E. Valdez. All Rights Reserved.