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Gender And Sexuality Essay

1226 words - 5 pages

Gender has been around throughout history; however, within recent years, gender has separated itself from the traditional view of sex, e.i., male or female, and has become centered on ones masculinity or femininity. Of course gender is more than just ones masculinity or femininity, gender has become a way for one to describe, he or she, in a way in which they are different from everyone else. Gender has turned into a sense of identity, a way for one to feel different and fulfilled among all of those around them. Of course gender’s sense of freedom would seem outside of structure and only affected by one’s own agency, however, structure is a key component in establishing gender. We can look into both ethnic Mexican’s culture practices regarding sexuality, children songs and games, and see that cultural traditions still heavily influence gender, creating what is masculine and what is feminine and what is the role of each gender, as well as challenging the notions that gender is solely based on agency.
Sexuality has become one of the key determining factors in one’s gender. While many want to initially say that gender is solely based on sexual orientation fail to take in to account many cultural practices, which not only influence gender, but create certain gender roles. The initial creation of Mexican gender roles, as Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez suggests, is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church “over the course of almost five hundred years,” created beliefs that virgins are desirable and that a non-virgin is of a lower moral class (38). From this Mexican women began maintaining their virginity, not because of the moral implications, but because of social mobility. Virginity has been created to be something beautiful and cherished; among families it represents respect and honor and for the women themselves, it represents a way to receive a better life. Staying a virgin until marriage is a gender role that is strongly focused on women only, and lets men slide. Women who do lose their virginity before marriage were seen as a disgrace to their family, as Lopez-Gonzalez writes, women’s “fear of family condemnation surpassed the fear of God,” thus, women became forced to accept this role and maintain virginity (44).
While virginity was kept out of fear for some women, a larger part of keeping virginity was a man’s view of “clean” and “unclean” women. A virgin in society is able to progress farther, as marriage is her only chance at mobility. Non-virgins were seen as used, unclean, and they were considered undesirable partners as men did not want “a piece of bread that has been touched by others hands” (Lopez-Gonzalez 45). Through this women were more or less forced to remain virgins until marriage unless they wanted to give up any chance at social mobility and marrying a respectable man. Therefore, because of ethnic Mexicans’ view of virgins and non-virgins women are forced to maintain their virginity until marriage in order to be...

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