Women in American History: Consider the Latinas
Women, for hundreds of years in American history’, have been portrayed as inferior to men, and have had to beg, fight, scream, and kick to get what they should have been able to have in the first place as an equal being.
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As hard as it has been for women in general to get where we are today, we must consider the hardships that race- discriminated women, such as African Americans, Asians, and Latinist, had to face in addition to those of simply being a women. This essay will first review the lives of most women in America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as some uncommon lives. Second, it will consider the role that Latinist played in the American woman’s quest for equality and freedom. Patriarchy defined is a system of society or government in which the father r eldest male is head of the family and descent is traced through the male line.
This idea of patriarchy, established long before the Americas, was the idea that men had to suppress and control their wives and daughters. This is what led to the inferiority of women and superiority of men. In the nineteenth century is when the cult of domesticity, or “true womanhood” emerged. The cult of domesticity is basically an emphasis on the separation of spheres between man and woman. The outside world was a mess; the economy was unstable, and it was a tough world out there for men.
The separation of peeress is the concept that women should stay in the home and take refuge, while the men stay outside and do the hard, dirty work. However, it wasn’t really considered that, maybe, the household work wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Women had to help on the farm, gather food to cook, actually cook, gather resources to make necessities like soap and candles, then actually make the soap and candles, make cloth out of cotton, then actually make the clothes, clean, give birth to children, manage children while doing all the housework, learn what to teach the children, and then actually teach the children, and more.
On top of that women were expected to support and serve their husbands when they got home and do it with a smile on their face. Some Of these tasks did get easier as time went on and inventions were introduced, but the idea of “true womanhood” was infused with these traits and responsibilities (lectures). Another aspect of the cult of domesticity was the reputation that you were expected to keep with the society around you. Geodesy Lady Book, by Sarah Josephs Hale, was a sort of newspaper or magazine that help all things female.
It had the latest fashionable trends that all women were expected to pep up with, as well as how-tot’s for every aspect of the maintenance of a home. Also, women were expected to call on each other, which meant that you simply went to each others home and chatted in the parlor in order to keep a good reputation in society. These roles that women played, or rather lived, in their time is what kept them in subordination to men. As common as the cult of domesticity was, there were plenty of women who didn’t let society rule her decisions and actions.
Female workers started to emerge in the nineteenth century. Some of these jobs included domestic revere, teachers, working in factories (such as the Lowell Mill Girls), working as authors of books and poetry or working for newspapers, and even prostitution. Working outside the home was an irregular idea during this period, but from here it grew more and more common. Another uncommon idea, that started since the beginning of the United States but received more popularity during the nineteenth century, was the movement westward.
People, families, were comfortable in their homes, but many were intrigued by the adventure of establishing themselves in the West ND the opportunities that they believed were waiting for them. The idea of “Manifest Destiny” was the inevitable expansion of the nation all the way to the Pacific shores, at the same times spreading the ideas of democracy and Christianity (Nancy). Many families packed up their bags, said their goodbyes, and headed West, most never to see their friends or family again.
Not surprisingly, the cult of domesticity traveled with these families on the expedition, and women found themselves with their same responsibilities, only in the middle of nowhere. Most of these travelers didn’t know what to expect, and some already had stereotypical mindsets on the people that they would encounter, including Native Americans, and Mexicans on the frontier. By the 1 sass, Hispanic villages in the Southwest had been “almost untouched” by the growing presence of white settlers and sojourners.
Hispanics, in most villages, had a piece of land per family and depended on their land to support them, working cooperatively with one another. Men and women divided the farming tasks, and women, like Native Americans, “contributed significantly to their villages’ sustenance” (Nancy). It was even custom for Hispanic sons and daughters to inherit equally. By the 1 sass however, more white settlers came and forced their cultural values and business practices on Hispanics. Land was lost and women’s ability to contribute disappeared (Nancy).
Although this happened throughout many Hispanic societies throughout the West, some Hispanics managed to find a way to somehow fight back this idea of Manifest Destiny and the suppression of women that followed; including the following Latin legacies. Gertrude Barcelona was a Spanish- Mexican woman from Santa Fee, New Mexico that lived outside the norms of the rest of the women in her society. Barcelona was the town’s leading businesswoman who owned a gambling house and saloon from which she made her profits.
She was powerful in that she had a voice in local politics, but this meant that she was living outside the “societal codes”. Newcomers scrutinized her for this, but her society eulogies her. The reason for this was because Barcarole’s gambling, dancing and drinking was the way she and others in her community dealt with the “Euro-Americans” that came to settle in their societies. The newcomers would be invited to the gambling house, and lose all of their money to the skilled card dealer. These newcomers hated her, but couldn’t help but admire her at the same time.
Barcelona “symbolized how an older community had handled the arrival of men from a new, young nation seeking to tap markets” and take over their societies (Vicki). “In a broad sense, life for women in nineteenth-century Puerco Rice was not that much different than that for many other women in the other parts of the Americas. They Were mostly to be seen and not heard, largely left out of public life, and denied the societal privileges accorded to men” (Vicky). Edna Costa describes the life of women in Puerco Rice during the time of Lola Rodriguez De Ohio’s life.
Lola came from a privileged family and received a better than normal education. She had a love of writing, and a love of her homeland, Puerco Rice, from which came her devotion of most of her life to “freeing the Puerco Rican motherland from the chains of Spanish colonial rule” (Vicki). Lola advocated the education and intellectual development of women; she refused to accept social confinement by marriage and others. One of her most powerful advocating weapons was her writings of books and poems that she used to inspire women. “… Education of women.
Her ignorance or enlightenment will always determine the lesser or greater floor of societies, the blessings or misfortunes of the home, the ruin or ascent of the motherland. ” Here Lola emphasized the importance of an educated female’s role and how much of an impact these women can have on a society. Deadline Otter Warren also came from a privileged family in New Mexico. She was an education reformer, and was the first Latin to run for Congress. Deadline’s life “demonstrates how quickly Hispanic adapted after they were thrown into the cortex of American life… ND how well they responded to the challenge of maintaining Hispanic values as village matriarchs” (Vicki). As I mentioned earlier, in Hispanic societies women in the village had a sense of contribution and power, and women like Deadline sought to keep that power, especially within her family. Deadline was an education reformer, and was appointed to many different positions in which she had influence on the education system of New Mexico. Deadline wanted to keep the Hispanic ultra in the schools while at the same time teaching how to succeed in America.
Also, although she married in her younger years and quickly divorced, Deadline turned out to be a lesbian, and she had a partner for over thirty years. However, the fact that Deadline was homosexual wasn’t as controversial as the fact that she was divorced. During the Great Depression, unemployed increased to as high as 25% of the population. There was so much competition for jobs, especially among women and between cities. Also, since so many men were unemployed, it was up to some women to provide for their families.
This was the case for Louisa Moreno who moved to New York from Mexico City two years before the Great Depression. Louisa, her husband and daughter were living in such bad conditions, and her drunken husband couldn’t find work. After an incident that included a baby’s face half eaten off by a rat, Louisa decided to pursue political activism as her life course to change such conditions. Louisa dedicated her life to being a labor activist, so much that she deprived her daughter of a mother and a home. There are many differences in the way women were treated in the nineteenth Century from the twentieth century.
In the latter, women definitely had expanded their power and voice from what is was before the turn of the century. Women were now able to work and after 1 920 they were able to vote; although they still had a long way to go. For example, Deadline embraced her homosexuality and was able to have a relationship with her partner, but in a letter from an Oregon woman to Karl Engineer, this woman is sick with herself because homosexuality would explain the feelings she’s felt all her life, but she feels it is a sickness and is asking for a cure because she is so gusted with herself (Lisa).
This is just one of the many examples that demonstrates the difference between the centuries because the view of homosexuality as a sickness didn’t emerge until the twentieth century.