Sexualized African Women in Post Colonial Latin America Essay

911 WordsSep 20, 20124 Pages
The role of women in colonial and post colonial Latin America seems to be debatable depending on whose account you are reading. European men valued propriety and modesty in their wives, but still enjoyed the sensuality of their mistresses or other sexual partners. This image also helped men divide women and their offspring by race by associating the ability to live up to this expectation with background. This idea that was pushed upon women directly created a situation that fostered feminist ideals simply because of the way in which it contradicted itself. The environment around the late 1800s and early 1900s was a changing one in which the countries of Latin America were trying to solidify themselves as independent countries without the ‘support’ of imperialist Europeans. One of the important tasks when doing this was to really create the society that would best support the emerging nation. For Puerto Rico one of the ideas believed to be essential to creating the idea nation was to basically have the best classes of women become more educated so that they could breed higher class, educated citizens. Although not everyone could be of a higher class, if they were moral and more “white” in terms of their actions and behaviors, women who were more educated could also provide productive members of society, “theses well-educated women would provide Puerto Rico with an army of capable mothers to produce future generations of active, manly citizens.” (Findlay, 61) Those who did not fit this image, or were seen as too ‘African’ were blamed for the over sexualized portion of society and could not mix with the upper class. Upper class white people, (almost entirely men,) believed that once the citizens of this more ‘respectable’ class could organize, then the men would in turn, be authorized in ruling over the lower class, “Once able to govern themselves, they could claim

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