“We’re Not All Anti-Choices”: How Controlling Images Shape Latina/x Feminist Abortion Advocacy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reproductive politics and Latinxs’ politics demonstrate a preoccupation with representations and discourses across time and space. Intersectional feminists theorize how controlling images function as mechanisms of social control by distorting holistic perceptions of marginalized people. While social movement research documents the importance of culture in collective action, little research applies a controlling images interpretive framework to social movement contexts. An important case for examining Latina/x representations is the ideological terrain created by pro-abortion Latina/x feminist advocates. Utilizing a three-year ethnography with California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ), written materials produced by the organization, and in-depth interviews with staff, I argue that CLRJ highlights the limitations of existing research, uses feminist approaches to dialogue, and creates structural analyses of inequalities to challenge la santa (the saint), a controlling image centering cisgender mestiza and white Latinas used to assume that all Latinas make poor advocates for reproductive autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1208-1227
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Perspectives
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Latinas
  • abortion
  • controlling images
  • intersectionality
  • reproductive justice
  • social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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