Subjugation of Women In Colonial Latin America

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Throughout history, there are many examples of oppression of women. Even today, violation of equal rights for women still occurs in some countries. The majority of the societies which have prejudiced against women have been male dominated with the belief that women are the weaker sex and unable to carry out the same responsibilities as men. Additionally, sometimes women had more difficulties if they came from a racially prejudiced background such as the Africans which faced exploitation from the European countries. Women in colonial Latin America experienced constraints based on their gender as well. Although the type of prejudices that women had to confront depended on their background, all women were made subject o patriarchy in colonial Latin America. African women who were brought to the Americas as slaves often worked as house keepers in the houses of white people. Many white men had extramarital affairs and used the African maids working in their houses as mistresses. The sexual relationship forced on the African women is illustrative of the “unhealthy institution which [smothered] all sense of decency in women” (Children of God’s Fire, p. 140). It diminishes the sense of pride and individuality for those African women because they are treated as objects used for sex and maid service. It was especially hard for the African women because they had been torn away from their culture and language. Many of the women had been separated from their husbands and children who were all sold separately to different masters. Furthermore, the African women were more objectified because they were used as wet nurses to suckle the children of Spanish women. Possession of a wet nurse was a status symbol for Spanish men similar to owning a luxurious house or car. It showed the prosperity of the household. In the process of choosing a wet nurse, there were set criteria for a
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