By Jennifer Delgado ’17
“Ya te dije que no puedes ir – I already told you you can’t go” “Pero si no mas voy con Tere y Rebeca a comer – But I’m just going out to eat with Tere and Rebeca” “No me importa, tu no sales – I don’t care, you’re not going” “Entonces porque Germán puede salir con sus amigos al centro y regresar tarde? Then why can German go out with his friends downtown and come back home late?” “Porque el es hombre – Because he’s a guy.” A heavy weight had just been unexpectedly dropped on my shoulders and a flash of heat ran throughout my bloodstream. In that moment, anger had manifested in me, and there was no way it was going to fade away for as long I remained a female.
Whether it was the fact that my parents are Mexicans, that our society has fixated gender roles, or that safety has set restrictions, but I had realized that males have more privilege than females.
Being Mexican, women are taught as young girls to be conservative in terms of speech, actions, and character. Told to speak respectfully and softly in order to not sound “mal hablada” or “irrespetuosa.” Told to not hang around the wrong set of girls, hang around troubled boys, staying out late, but told to stick to a domestic activity, such as cooking or cleaning. Told to be nice to everyone you meet, to be outgoing, and to be forgiving. It was not a suggestion on how to live, it was an order and a lifestyle that has been followed through generations by the females in the family. The ebook by Anna Watorczyk, “The Problems of ethnic female Adolescents as portrayed in Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’, Maxine Hong’s ‘The Woman Warrior’, Sandra Cisneros’ ‘The House on Mango Street,” stated “Another important writer, Helena Maria Viramonte criticises the Mexican patriarchy that limits the freedom of women in the short narratives entitled, ‘The Moths and Other Stories’ (1985). In the story ‘Growing’ she presents the concerns of twelve year old protagonist Naomi about becoming a woman. She asks herself: ‘why things are always so complicated once you became older. Funny how the old want to be young and the young want to be old [ … ] She also muses as to why womanhood is viewed negatively by her father and is connected with so many restrictions of freedom.” Novels are being written in the sequence of a young girl growing up in order to give the readers the insight and second hand encounter to the structured life of a Mexican girl, which is strictly demeaned by the male role in society.
Based on how the gender roles were made decades ago, changes the way women have an outlook on their abilities. According to Study.com, “Traditional gender roles are those behaviors seen from men and women in those old movies. While there are many differences today, these patterns of behavior have left an indelible impact on society and our thoughts about men and women.