In broad terms, the working-class and semiprofessional women’s cultural
refiguring strategies address individual or local community concerns
through action-oriented redefinitions of women’s roles and female sex-
uality. Their refigurings take the form of individual resistance to domina-
tion or volunteer work in community organizations aimed at alleviating
oppressive conditions. The professional intellectuals’ refiguring strate-
gies address cultural, national, and global concerns by rewriting and
re-presenting denigrating ideologies and symbols of women. At times,
the strategies between the two groups cross over and realize similar ef-
fects. For example, when Chicana literary writings inspire campus ac-
tivism protesting racism, sexism, or heterosexism, they are achieving
action-oriented results as well as new symbolic understandings. Or when
the working-class and semiprofessional women’s local community e√orts
encourage women to seek health care and view their bodies as deserv-
ing attention, they redefine the symbolic meaning of a ‘‘good woman’’
from someone who serves others’ needs to one who fulfills her own
needs and desires. These examples indicate that theory and praxis are in-
tertwined elements of cultural refiguring. Collectively, the working-class,
semiprofessional, and professional intellectual women’s actions serve as
exemplary models informing and inspiring other women toward self-
determination and initiating changes in the way women’s roles and bod-
ies are perceived.
My analysis of privilege and power in relation to the locations of the
working-class, semiprofessional, and professional intellectual women at-
tempts to unravel distinctions that influence the choices women make in
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