In El Salvador, the roles of men and women are very different than they are here in America. We understand the traditional roles of men and women in a household - the husband is the head of the family who provides, the wife has her domestic responsibilities to clean, cook, and care for the children during the day. This view is a little old-fashioned to us, but we don't understand it to be abusive or dysfunctional. Yet, husbands and wives in El Salvador take that view to the extreme.
    There is a term in El Salvador - machismo - that refers to male dominance over women(Sturr, 2012). The males have much more power, voice, and control than women. Husbands are not necessarily expected to remain monogamous, while wives are expected to be submissive, responsive, and attentive (Conover). Many times, this has led to husbands leaving their family, and therefore, women caring for their children alone. The number of single-mother households living in poverty is rising, along with the number of children who don't have a father to look up to.
    Machismo isn't just a new concept to the Salvadoran culture. It is a concept that has evolved from their ancestors over time. The Nahuatl people believed that boys are born to do specific tasks - conquer, endure, battle- while girls are born to do very different ones - weave, clean the house, and cook(Douglass, 2008). Over time, this idea of separate gender responsibilities has turned into the dominance of males over females.
    While I am a fan of the traditional roles of men and women (described in the first paragraph), I don't believe that men should have complete control over their wives. And this idea of "conquering" as many women as they can makes women sound like mere objects. Wives should be submissive, but only because they trust their husbands to lead the family and take care of them. The abuse of this male responsibility is disastrous.

Works Cited

Picture from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machismo

Conover, R. (n.d.). Liberation in el salvador. Retrieved from http://roseconover.weebly.com/gender-and-family-structures.html

Douglass, S. (2008). Gender roles among the nahua in the codex mendoza [painting]. Retrieved from http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/primary-sources/276

Sturr, C. (2012). Being a man in el salvador. Retrieved from http://www.brophybroncos.org/sites/elsalvador2012/2012/06/03/being-a-man-in-el-salvador-by-charlie-sturr/



Diane Godfrey
03/12/2013 11:35am

Your weebly is looking very good. I notice that your group members have not yet made any comments. Have you had the chance to look at their pages?

04/27/2013 5:02pm

I like your analysis of gender roles in El Salvador. I did not know they felt so strongly about their obligations to society. It would seem that as time passes some would move away from sexist ideas and trends, however it is deep-rooted for many. In comparing the gender roles many in america have, to the gender roles in El Salvador, you gave the reader something to relate to ans base their knowledge off of, which is excellent.

Jasmine Burk
04/27/2013 5:43pm

I did not know that there were such extremes in this country. I too believe in the benefits of traditional roles with men and women, but men should not have control over any woman.

10/12/2013 6:18am

The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am.


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