Si Se Puede!

The title phrase is heard at immigration rallies and it is often translated “yes, we can!”  It is a very powerful and liberating phrase  for girls and young women.  So it isn’t entirely surprising that it shows up in the XX Factor blog, which is connected to Slate and its off shoot, Double X.  It occurs in a post celebrating Rachel Alexandra’s victory.  And it raises a question about the extent of feminism.

The surprising thing is that the apparently feminist hero’s victory is the Preakness.  And she is a horse, filly, girl:

And what a girl! A gorgeous, eager, big-hearted horse with a princessy name, who seemed to genuinely enjoy her run along the storied track where only five fillies have raced since the last female Preakness winner, the perfectly named-for-her-era Nellie Morse, in 1924.


Some troubling conventions, like the expectation that female racegoers will stick out a long day in mile-high hot pink heels, are still with us. But watching Rachel Alexandra reminded me what it feels like to take off your shoes and run as fast as you can. It was a great day to be a woman at the races.

So was the original post a joke?  Or an ironic way of calling attention to the conventions for dress and behavior at horse-racing?  Or does feminism and its heroes extend to some or most  large mammals?  And small ones too? 

And then she’s the first filly to win in 85 years.

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Si Se Puede!

  1. Yes, it’s — at least — a bit strange.

    I was having a hard time confirming for myself that the horse was Rachel Alexander and that the jockey was male.

    It was consistently apparent throughout the related trackbacks on Slate’s site, but I was just in disbelief that because it’s a female horse people have equated it to feminism.

    If we’re going to carry on with the symbolism, the female horse winning the race against male horses, what’s it mean that the jockey was male?

  2. J, I’m glad I’m not alone in seeing a filly as an odd feminist hero. I love your question about the jockey. I think I saw him whip her.

    Jockey as Svengali?

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