One story that challenges the role of Machismo in men is “Never Marry A Mexican”. In this story, a woman named Clemencia exudes some of the characteristics of Machismo by being compared to La Malinche. La Malinche, in a quick summary, is an infamous figure for Mexican culture by betraying her people. She represents the deception of the native people of Mexico at the expense of whites and a disgraceful reminder of a woman’s conspiracy. She stated “I’ve known men too intimately, I’ve witnessed their infidelities, and I’ve helped them to it…I’m guilty of having caused deliberate pain to other women. I’m vindictive and cruel, and I’m capable of anything.”
Clemencia knows the harm she is causing on other women by sleeping with their men, yet she is aware that she can continue to do so. This is a surprising situation that both leaves the reader shocked and disappointed. Cisneros has introduced this dynamic character because it forces the reader to question the views of these women. Cisneros wanted people to see these women in a different perspective, and compel the reader to not judge Clemencia for what she seems. Unlike the other male characters that embody Machismo, she is only character to admit her own negative characteristics without feeling remorseful. Moreover, the reader isn’t obliged to hate Clemencia despite her indecent behavior, because it’s discovered that she is a victim of the order of cultures and gender society creates.
Despite being confused as to why she would even have this belief of never marrying a Mexican, the issue she has with her parents explains a lot. This advice was actually given to her by her mother. She blames her mother for doing this to her, but she also thinks she did it to spare her the pain that her mother endured. Her mother married a Mexican man at seventeen and had to “put up with all the grief a Mexican family can put on a girl because she was from the other side, and my father had married down by marrying her. If he had married a white woman from the other side, that would’ve been different.”
It’s now understood that she saw that her mother was already being mistreated by her father’s parents. When her father died, her mom married a white man and Clemencia didn’t agree with her decision at all. Clemencia holds this against her mother to the point that she has disowned her mom entirely. This anger she feels towards her mom was created because this choice was being disrespectful towards her dad. Not only did her mother betray her father, but she’s also abandoned her cultural identity by marrying a white man which enforces her mother’s belief that no woman should ever marry a Mexican man. This is the reason why she shows so much hatred towards the wife of the man she slept with named Drew.
Clemencia rants about the ended affair with her to be with his wife Megan, who both were white. She even comments that she cannot feel compassion towards her because they are not the same. It’s seen in the story of her mother that she cannot show any remorse to Megan because she was white. The reason why Cisneros created a character like Clemencia was to reflect the struggle that Mexican women have to adjust themselves according to negative cultural stereotypes that have taught them to hate.