Irony as a Tool to Challenge Stereotypes in Michele Serros’ How to Be a Chicana Role Model
Stereotypes are overgeneralisations that dismiss individual traits and create tension among various groups in society. One of the most common stereotypes, ethnic stereotyping, can be considered a form of racism, since the stereotyped group is morally affected. This is the case of Chicanas, who apart from being victims of racism, have also been victims of sexism. Due to this, one of the means to counteract and redefine their identity has been literature. In fact, in works written by Chicanas, irony is a frequent literary tool, since it facilitates social issues to be discussed from a distant point of view. Considering all this, the main aim of this dissertation is to examine how Chicana writer Michele Serros uses irony to challenge stereotypes in her novel How to Be a Chicana Role Model. To this end, various instances of ethnic stereotyping from the novel are compared with works written mainly by Chicanas. Through this reading of the novel, I seek to illustrate how the various instances of ethnic stereotyping reveal the multidirectionality of stereotypes, the notion of cultural authenticity and the difficult process of becoming a Chicana writer. In doing so, Serros breaks stereotypes and creates a new role model for Chicanas.