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Concept of Machismo & Latin American Women

Women have been largely ignored in the histories of Latin America, which are traditionally written as if women scarcely existed. This has started to change recently with the rise of social and economic history as a discipline. Women in Latin America live in a male-dominated society and have had to adapt to that social form. Sexual and economic roles are closely intertwined in Latin America. More and more women in this century have found occupations outside the home, such as in the classroom, in the factories, in commercial establishments, and in offices. They have also become part of the government and government bureaucracies. Women holding professional positions suffer from inequities in salary and treatment, as they do elsewhere, but they also enjoy many of the benefits denied the mass of urban women living in slums or performing menial tasks. Domestic service is still a major job category for women, and the "liberation" of upper and middle-class women is partially dependent on the labor of the lower-class women who cook for their families, clean their homes, run their errands, and care for their children. In rural areas, women lead hard lives of toil and subordination. Lower-class women encounter both economic and sexual exploitation, for they are both poor and female. The importance of class cannot be ignored in analyzing the place of Latin American women. The stereotype of the guarded and pure female was never universally valid, and actual behavior varied according to status and class. There has been a historic double standard of morality for men and women. Female honor has been closely associated to family honor, and both are connected with the social hierarchy (Hahner 14-15).

A frequently cited element is the concept of machismo. Octavio Paz, the novelist, states that machismo is more than a cult of virility as it combines elements of courage and intransigence with an aggressive maleness. This contrasts with...

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Concept of Machismo & Latin American Women. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:46, August 07, 2020, from