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Gender Roles And Sexuality In Latin America

1179 words - 5 pages

Marianismo and machismo are the traditional gender roles in Latin America. Marianismo is the aspect of female gender roles while machismo is the aspect of male gender roles. The key belief of machismo is that men hold supremacy over women. For the most part these gender roles conform to traditional understanding of sexuality, masculinity, and femininity. There is only one key contradiction I found when it came to traditional understandings of sexuality, masculinity and femininity. Some people may confuse the meanings of gender, sex, and sexuality. Gender is what a person chooses to define themselves as: masculine or feminine. Sex is biological: male or female. Sexuality is then defined as the expression of sexual interest. These three words connect to one another.

The marianismo gender role beliefs vary depending on where one is located. Marianismo beliefs influence what women see as “appropriate female behavior” (Craske, 1999, p. 12). Stereotypes of women are created which have stuck to what is ‘appropriate’ for what women can and cannot do. It is out of the normalcy for women to not follow these marianismo beliefs. It is obvious that motherhood is found as the ultimate role for women. Though it would make sense that men have fatherhood is not the ultimate role for men (even though both man and woman are needed to create a child) this is not the case at all. Another key marianismo belief Craske (2002) found was that women are “dominant in the private world of domestic organization,” while men are dominant in the public sector (p. 11). This is important to know because women lived very secluded lifestyles. This exclusive lifestyle connects to how Catholic women in Latin America had greater transgressions than men when it came to premarital sex. Men typically had two types of sexual relations: including ones with wives and ones with casual partners (Chant & Craske, 2002, p. 134). Women wouldn’t be able to leave in the evenings, nor go out with friend; making it nearly impossible for wives to partake in relationships outside of the one with their husband. The females in Latin America lived lives that conformed strictly to their typical gender roles.

The main belief for machismos is that they are superior to women. The machismo gender roles consider men as the “breadwinners” (Craske, 1999, p. 11) because they (men) tend to bring in the most income. They do the work in the outside world that is in the public’s eyes. The word machismo can also hold a negative connotation towards men such as men participating in activities such as “excessive drinking, domestic violence, insistence on a large family to indicate virility, and the demand that a wife stay at home to concentrate on family life and be a ‘good woman’” (Craske, 1999, p. 11). Chant and Craske even compared men to being children and women to being treated like children. These are brutal descriptions of men. Yet they seem to be true for the most part. Men definitely help superiority over...

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