Essay Title: 

Women`s role in Colonial Latin America politics

March 29, 2016 | Author: | Posted in history, latin-american studies

p 1 Women ‘s Role in Colonial Latin America Politics Women and Gender Disparity In many culture of the world , women have always been treated as second-class citizens inferior to men . Women were limited in their access to the occupational field and their roles are constricted mainly in the domestic field as to raise children and home-making . This idea has rooted since the beginning human civilization and has further undermined the roles of women in society throughout human ‘s history . As Lavrin (1995 :1 ) put it , assumption that the restrictions imposed [banner_entry_middle]

on the female sex by law and custom were needed to maintain the integrity of family and society . In some society , this discrimination is often enforced under the guise of religion . In the Islamic world , religious restrictions on the activities of women of reproductive age tend to keep them near home , where they often engage in domestic food gardening and especially in food processing (Nye 1993 :13 The Culture of Honor In to have comprehensive view of the gender issue in the time of the colonial Latin America , we will examine how the honor was defined and defended

In the case of Latin America , the patriarchal system of the society has formulated the culture of ‘honor ‘ which dictates the administration of the society and its individual lives . Although this set of value concerning the culture of honor apply to both men and women , in practice , they are often used as a means to further diminish the status and roles of women which in turn aimed at maintaining the status quo of the male dominance . Nye (1993 :13 ) argues that these claims of honor often were necessarily an attempt to place others in a position of inferiority . This system was usually manifested in legal codes , social gatherings , seating arrangements at public events The culture of honor in the time of the Colonial Latin America is believed to have rooted from the cultural concept which was based on the Iberian legal and customary practices . These system suggest that adultery and the initiation of a sexual relationship or remarriage within a year after a husband ‘s death as dishonorable (Johnson 1998 :4 Furthermore , there is this issue of biological differences that kind of legitimizing the gender discrimination issue . This aspect has been used to influence the cultural norms in a patriarchal world in relation to the idea of honor . In this case , women are always in losing end since they cannot deny their physical nature . Johnson and Lipsett-Rivera (1998 :82 ) argue that this biological difference is the main factor which established parameters for sexuality and procreation and influenced cultural norms that defined the presence or absence of honor According to them , there were several logical explanation which accounts for this

First , unlike females , males could never physically demonstrate proof of their virginity at the time of first intercourse , so male sexual abstinence was never an issue of honor

Secondly , since males never become pregnant , they never had any potential to manifest overt signs of their sexual activity in public and so the ensuing consequences of intercourse never directly threatened their personal honor

Johnson and Lipsett-Rivera (1998 :82 ) further contrasted female honor which could rest on tangible proofs of virginity , and women physically showed that they had been sexually active when they became pregnant or gave birth . Women who consented to intercourse risked their personal honor in ways that men could not

Though seemed unfair , these are the standard to measure and govern the system of honor in the society with emphasis on women ‘s reproductive side and authentication of paternity . This double standard was further used to prescribe what is right and wrong on the women ‘s side which if broken might inflict terrible consequences which bring about family disgrace , communal contempt and even banishment from the society . If the women are from the elite or ruling class , their loss of honor as a result of loss of virginity or out-of-wedlock pregnancy have to be redeemed either by eventual marriage or by the concealment of sexual activity and pregnancy so that such activities never became public knowledge and therefore never threatened honor The Men ‘s Supremacy During the colonial period , women were not only socially discriminated in their status and roles but they also underwent a more tangible means of ‘intimidation . In one of the Spanish America colony of New Granada women often suffered from verbal and physical abuse , even death in the hand of their spouse . Uribe-uran (2001 :43 ) in his article “Colonial Baracunatanas and Their Nasty Men : Spousal Homicides and the Law in Late Colonial New Granada ” wrote that such physical ‘assault ‘ towards women was considered natural among the lower classes and state officials centuries ago . In some part of the world this practice was even considered as the husband ‘s right as a punishment for the wife ‘s misbehavior . This idea was actually shared by most society in the world at time , even in England and the United States . It even comes to the point that gender-based disputes have been found to comprise a considerable share of all criminal violence in late colonial Latin America (Kuznesof 1989 :168-186 Women , at that time , were also an object of exploitation . Lavrin (1989 :3 ) provide an example of the colonial men cohabited with indigenous women who were either given by the conquered people or taken from them . Another example can be seen from the marriage practice at that time in which marriage was seen as a means to attain , maintain and increase social and economic prominence (Kuznesof 1989 :168-186 The Gender War Feminism movement serves as the counter force in the reform of the female-male role and status in the society . The feminists fight for the equality and justice for women in the male-dominated world . The basic tenet has been to reject the idea that the restrictions imposed on the female sex by law and custom were needed to maintain the integrity of family and society (Lavrin 1995 :1 . The feminist movement in Latin America started to gain its momentum by the many publications of poetry novel and prose by feminist which spread the women ‘s thought through public media like magazine and newss trying to refute the ideas that men are more intellectual than women The roles of women in politics were generally ignored at that time . No women ‘s role was acknowledged during the Mexican Revolution . However women did play significant roles during the time of the revolution . At least two accounts proved the involvement of women : Ana Macias and others partially correct the record by documenting women serving in the military as soldaderas , as camp followers foraging for food , and as spies working for various revolutionary armies (Macias 1980 Miller 1981 Soto 1979 , in Lavrin and Miller 1987 :107 . Sister Barbara Miller has written extensively on women involved in the Cristero Rebellion demonstrating that women took a predominantly conservative position opposing Calles ‘s restrictions on the Catholic Church in Mexico (Miller 1984 , in Lavrin and Miller 1987 :107 Feminism in Latin America Of all the feminist movement in Latin America , it should be noted that they are of a different nature or ‘brand . One of the most important discrepancy is that the Latin America feminist still hold dear the importance and dignity of bearing children and caring for the home rejected free love and hatred of the patriarchy as opposed to their North America counterpart (Lavrin and Miller 1987 :107 . In practice they rarely resort to violence and always urge moderation in time of political insConclusion History has shown that gender discrimination has been an inseparable part of the society in the past . Many factors have contributed to this pertinent practice . Socio-cultural factor has indeed been the strongest one . it is particularly obvious that the political , legal and social system are male-centered . Women , like in the case of Latin America during the colonial period in the past , believe that that is the way the society works , the communal convention that cannot be questioned , let alone rebuked

However , the feminist movement in the Latin America especially since the beginning of the twentieth century has served as a lobby force to further increase the role of women in most of the occupational field dominated by men and strengthening their status in the society . However their movement still acknowledges the role of women as responsible for bearing the children and caring for the home as opposed to their more radical North American counterpart

References Nye , Robert A . Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France (New York : Oxford University Press , 1993 , 13 Johnson , Lyman L . and Sonya Lipsett-Rivera . The Faces of Honor : Sex Shame , and Violence in Colonial Latin America (Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press , 1998 , 4 Lavrin , Asuncion . Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America (Lincoln , NE : University of Nebraska Press , 1989 , 3 Lavrin , Asuncion . Women , Feminism and Social Change in Argentina , Chile and Uruguay , 1890-1940 (Lincoln , NE : University of Nebraska Press 1995 , 1 Uribe-Uran , Victor M “Colonial Baracunatanas and Their Nasty Men Spousal Homicides and the Law in Late Colonial New Granada . Journal of Social History 35 , 1 (2001 : 43 Kuznesof , Elizabeth Anne “The History of the Family in Latin America : A Critique of Recent Work . Latin American Research Review , 24 ,2 (1989 168-186 Lavrin , Asuncion and Francesca Miller “Directions in Latin American Women ‘s History , 1977-1985 . Latin America Research Review 22 , 2 (1987 107 Johnson , Lyman L . and Sonya Lipsett-Rivera . The Faces of Honor : Sex Shame , and Violence in Colonial Latin America (Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press , 1998 , 82 … [banner_entry_footer]


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