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"Marianismo" is an aspect of the female gender role in the machismo of Latin American folk culture. It is the veneration for feminine virtues like purity, moral strength, etc., e.g. it represents the "virgin" aspect of the virgin-whore dichotomy.Evelyn Stevens states;
"it teaches that women are semi divine, morally superior to and spiritually stronger than men."
The ideas within marianismo include those of feminine passivity and sexual purity. There is power in marianismo that stems from the female ability to produce life.

This term supposedly derives from Catholic belief in the Virgin Mary as both a virgin and a madonna. According to the New Testament, she was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. She was eventually given the title "Mother of God" and thus became a subject of veneration and admiration. From this is derived the idea that an ideal woman should be spiritually immaculate and eternally giving.

This ideal woman is emotional, kind, instinctive, whimsical, docile, compliant, vulnerable, and unassertive. She has a higher status in the community if she has children and is a caring mother. She is also pious and observant of religious laws.

A common tendency in “marianismo” is for the wife or woman to remain sexually pure and abstain from sexual activity unless explicitly for becoming impregnated. The macho male wants a “María” for a wife - to raise his children and be a spiritually pure and submissive example, but he is also free to express his “machismo” in having side romances in which his machismo can be conveyed.

Origin of the term

"Marianismo" comes from the Virgin Mary (or "Maria"). It is the supposed ideal of true femininity that women are supposed to live up to--i.e. being modest, virtuous, and sexually abstinent until marriage--and then being faithful and subordinate to their husbands. In essence, "marianismo" is the female counterpart to "machismo," and as such, probably originated during the time of the Spanish conquest.

"Marianismo was first used by Elsa Chaney in an article by that name. It was in direct response to the male word machismo and was meant to explain this interesting female phenomenon in Latin America in which women were either saints or whores."

"In their book The Maria Paradox: How Latinas Can Merge Old World Traditions with New World Self-esteem (1996, G. P. Putnam), Rosa Maria Gil & Carmen Inoa Vazquez suggest that the concept of marianismo was first discussed in the academic literature in a 'ground-breaking essay written by Evelyn P. Stevens in 1973' and that it has also been further discussed by academicians such as Sally E. Romero, Julia M. Ramos-mcKay, Lillian Comas-Diaz, and Luis Romero. In their book, Gil & Vazquez use it as applicable across a variety of Latino/a cultures."

"There have been some responses in the literature to the concept of marianismo that point out that its model of/for women's behavior is very class-based. In other words, the rather sheltered existence, with men doing the hard work, etc. in exchange for the pedestal that women are supposedly on, is a life that rarely exists, particularly for the majority of peasant, poor and working class women that make up the population of Latin America. Remembering Stevens' article, most of her data came from middle class Mexican women."

See also



External links



References

  1. Evelyn P. Stevens, "Marianismo: la otra cara del machismo en Latino-América"; in: Ann Pescatelo, Hembra y macho en Latino-América: Ensaios., Edición Diana, México 1977, p.123.
  2. Marianismo: Origin and Meaning


Bibliography

  • Stevens Evelyn P.; 1973. :Marianismo:The Other Face of Machismo in Latin America; in: Pescatelo Ann; Female and Male in Latin America, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973.



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