Gender Constructs between North and South America
Throughout the times, gender has been an issue of great importance in society. Diverse cultures have created boundaries between men and women, and have consequently allowed men to have more power in society over them. This division has existed for centuries now, and has greatly affected how our society works nowadays. Gender inequality has separated jobs, lifestyles, and even rights. In the past, women were not allowed to go to school for example, since society saw no reason for them to go as their only job was to take care of the household and of their children. And in some cultures of the world, that is still the case.
Sexism has been going around for ages, and various anthropologists and sociologists have done research about this situation and its history. Feminist and anthropologist June Nash recounts in “The transition From Empire to Class in Empire and Colony” how the Aztec culture views women, compared to the European culture, and how this view changed after colonization. She explains how in the pre-aztec culture, men and women had different roles but equal rights, for example, during this time women could own lands. Nonetheless, women began to be seen as commodities, which means that they were seen as sex objects.
This leads to the subject of machismo, which is a subject explained by Stephen. She explains that males feel a need to be productive and aggressive, both physically and verbally. This feeling makes men feel as if they have a power over women, and makes them see women as weak or as less too. This believes lead to social separation too in different areas of a society, like jobs, education, and even behaviors. In some cultures for example, women will not have rights to education, while in others there are certain jobs that are not socially acceptable for women. This could be seen in multiple cultures in the past, where the men would be the one to hunt and work to maintain his family. Women did not have that luxury, if they didn’t marry someone that could maintain them, then they wouldn’t be able to depend on themselves. Women were made to stay in their houses, have kids, please men, cook, and clean. An example can be identified in Latin America, where most of the families hire nannies, and this job is mostly considered a job only for women. Because of this behaviors, there have been cases where the men would be abusive towards the women, physically or psychologically since the women as seen as weak or easy targets, and this is passed on through generation as the children grow up witnessing this behavior. Nonetheless, there is the subject of “marismo” which is explained by Stephen too. This is when the mother is seen as untouchable, so boys would defend their mothers since they are their mothers, but when they grow macho men abuse their women so this behavior shifts most of the time. The main problem of this cultural gender inequality is seen in Latin America, and it’s that the women voted to be more conservative because they want to protect their household roles. The reason for this is that they are convinced of the legibility of this structure, and they’re not aware of the position [gender roles] that they’re in.
Gender inequality is found in various countries, but specific examples can be seen in Colombia. In this country the catholic religion is very dominant over Latin America, and marriages, birth and deaths are controlled and handled by the church. This catholic based society unintentionally creates an environment that appears and indulges gender inequality. Professional Adaljiza Riddell presents the measures that have been taken in Mexico regarding sexism. She informs about a conference that took place in Mexico city, where numerous activists groups were made. The women’s movement in the country also made deep history, and eventually this sum of events led to the judicial rights which assert that men and women should have the exact same rights in front on the law. These groups fought for women’s choice over abortion, same tights as men in the case of owning and purchasing properties, and access to good daycare.
In order to achieve gender quality, the main movement has to start at home. Education is the base of our foundation, and this foundation begins with our family and environment while growing up. Children learn by what they see, so if they grow up seeing their male roles treating females such as their wives unequally, then they will learn that to be correct. Children’s games and advertisements found on the TV also encourage gender inequality by dividing men and women’s jobs. For example, girl toys include play-kitchens, baby dolls, housekeeping toys, among others. Meanwhile boy toys include cars, mechanical engineering toys, doctor role plays, construction toys like LEGOS. By targeting these brands and these exclusions by gender it could be possible to leave a different impression in a kid’s mind, thus planting a different seed of future behavior. We’re all equal human beings, we should all be treated as such.