Well unlike Meg, Makina is not in distress.
In most novels about quests, we’re found in the usual predicament where a man goes on a journey and proves his strength and perseverance throughout the entire course of the novel. Don’t get me wrong: I love reading about a good journey. However, Yuri Herrera goes against the odds and introduces us to Makina, a young Latina that doesn’t follow the stereotypical Latina, in his novel Signs Preceding the End of the World. Not only is Makina a nonsubmissive Latina, but she’s also a badass female protagonist.
So what makes her so cool?
If you’re unfamiliar with Mexican culture, the women are usually extremely submissive to their men and typically aren’t perceived as the strong ones. While Makina still has an aura of femininity to her, she defies the “typical” Latina most writers would depict her as. Not only does she have a strong personality, but she doesn’t take any disrespect from anyone and I love it. Maybe she listened to Queen Latifah’s U.N.I.T.Y. and had the lyrics “I bring wrath to those who disrespect me like a dame” resonate with her because when a guy on the bus tries to make a move and run his hand up her leg, she yanks his finger back and says “I don’t like being pawed by fucking strangers, if you can believe it” (31). Like, let’s be real. This alone not only assured 1) my love for Makina (because I love seeing women not take any shit from random men), but 2) also made me want to be her.
It’s not often where we read about women like Makina. Sure, we have Katniss from The Hunger Games who is badass because of everything she deals with in the games, but there’s something special about Makina. Maybe it’s because she’s a woman that crosses international borders and has the respect from her entire town to fulfill not only this mission, but generally just any task in town? Or the fact that she still perceives herself as a sexual human being and doesn’t hide those desires? There is no shame coming from her and instead exudes confidence.
If there were more Makina’s in the world of literature, I’m sure the world would be a better place.