Women in Latin America
First, Latin American women were expected to uphold their honor, as well as their family's honor, through maintaining virtue and purity; secondly, women were expected to be submissive to their parents and especially their husbands; and lastly, women were expected to remain excellent homemakers.
For instance, an indigenous woman, known as Doña Marina, or La Malinche, served as the guide and interpreter for the conquistador Hernán Cortés and is believed to have played a crucial role in the conquest of Mexico. Another example is Eva Perón, the wife of Argentine president Juan Perón (1946-1955; 1973-1974), who became a heroine to the working class and garnered political support for Juan Perón. There are a multitude of other Latin American women who have been agents of change in the region.
Hence, the present discussion of the general concept of Latin American feminism methodologically necessitates historical sensitivity to apprehend the intimate relationship between the development of different ideas and the heterogeneous political conditions that give rise to them. In the U.S., tracing the history of Latin American feminism and its ideas is an urgent task. While growing interest in the broader Latin American philosophy calls for increased textual representation and access, the role that women have played in the evolution of Latin American philosophical ideas has been largely neglected. Yet, there exists a wealth of critical feminist ideas for theories of identity, politics, and culture (Palacios, Antonia, 1949).
As the Argentine writer Claudia Piñeiro described recently, this political climate not only makes the work of expanding rights more challenging: it also discourages women from exercising rights that already exist, at least on paper. Girls and women in Argentina, Mexico, and other countries that do permit abortion in cases of rape, for instance, are routinely denied care by medical providers, judges, or other authorities.
Millán, Márgara, 2014, “Politics of Translation in Contemporary Mexican Feminism”, in Alvarez et al. 2014: 149–167. doi:10.1215/9780822376828-009
Moreno, Marvel, 1980, Algo tan feo en la vida de una señora bien, Bogotá: Pluma.
Ochoa, Enriqueta, 1987, Retorno de Electra, México: SEP-Diógenes, Colección Lecturas Mexicanas n. 72.
Palacios, Antonia, 1949, Ana Isabel, una niña decente, Argentina: Ed. Losada.