Text by Luna, from Monterrey .

In Mexico, the word “chola” make us think of thin eyebrows and outlined lips, and about thinking it twice before picking on any of them.

The term today is derogatory in our country, as there’s a difference between what popular culture says about them and the reality of cholas in Mexico. Films and music videos feature chicano cholas, Mexicans brought up in the States with a mixture of both cultures, which explains the difference between the two. Here I will talk about the latter.

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The term is old. It appeared in the sixties and seventies in South California to name chicano gangs wearing checked flannel shirts on a white tee shirt, khaki trousers and gangster-style sunglasses. These gangs gave them what society denied them –a sense of belonging and identity. In the gangs there were men, and also women since the 30s.

There are films about them, like Mi Vida Loca, which centres on two chola girlfriends and how their lives are influenced by their lifestyle, and which highlights some of the things that identify them: tattoos, drawings style, the clothes and the codes they use. Personally, what I like the most is the loyalty between the two friends (though I think the film forgot about that :p) and being together above everything else, not getting involved with the boyfriend or ex-boyfriend of any of the cholas, being honest with each other, etc.

They make the best out of what clothes and makeup is available to them. The first members of these gangs were exploited working class, so they didn’t have access to expensive clothes. Girls used to wear sleeveless tee shirts and wide Dickies trousers, which were cheap and easy to get. Today it is common for cholas to wear Dickies. As for makeup, eyebrows are thin and black eyeliner is the norm. Their hairstyle is very well taken care of, with bangs and hair sticking to their cheeks with the help of sprays. They usually wear large earrings and chain necklaces, sometimes with religious figures of saints and virgins.

They have an imposing look and the loyalty between them is very strong, that’s why you should think it twice before annoy a homegirl.

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