McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Mellissa Villafranco

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Major and Classification

English Literature

Faculty Mentor

  • Arely M. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Department

  • Dornsife: Program for Environmental and Regional Equity

McNair Project

Spatial Fantasies: Place and Temporality in Mosquita y Mari (2012) Queen Womyn Color in Southeast Los Angeles

Abstract
Mosquita y Mari (2012), directed by Aurora Guerrero, is a coming-of-age film exploring the intimate friendship between two fifteen-year-old Latinas in Huntington Park, California. While the two female protagonists of the film are not explicitly identified as queer, this coming-of-age film makes visible young womyn of color negotiating with their sexualities in a Latino/a space. Both mujeres exist in a pre-coming out phase, a place where sexuality is not the defining quality of their identity, but rather one that informs and intersects with their racial, gender, class, and immigration status. In effect, through studying Mosquita y Mari as an example of queer Latina narratives and place-making, intersectional and multi-dimensional identity are posited at the center. This is important in larger discussions of space, place and identity in the LGBTQ community as these young Latinas embody and inhabit multiple identities, and negotiate and respond to multiple axes of societal pressures. Their resistance of hegemonic heterosexual space lies in their desire for each other, redefining how to "be" queer in space. Mosquita y Mari (2012) most profoundly makes visible queerness in an urban Latino/a enclave through illuminating how space is never neutral. Further, this film uproots the narratives of young queer womyn of color who negotiate with heterosexual Latino/a spaces and forge new places of identification that nurture all facets of their identities.