Women and Religion: The Influence of the Catholic Religion on the Role of the Mexican Woman
The role of the woman in Mexican society and culture is a topic that has recently come to light and is being studied in greater depth by anthropologist, sociologists, and feminist scholars alike. Because the submissive hembrismo (female submissiveness) characteristic of Mexican women's role is not rare in the world, on the contrary, the recognition that women's issues have gained is most probably attributed to Mexico's geographic proximity to the United States, even more so now after Nafta, and North American feminist concern for the plight of the Mexican woman. Looking at women's issues in Mexico inevitably leads to looking at women's role within society and culture, and to develop any sort of understanding about women's roles it is important to look at the surrounding culture, it's values and beliefs. The fact that 98% of Mexicans are Roman Catholic, and that the country itself was founded on religious grounds, introduces a number of interesting factors. this paper will attempt to accomplish three things. One, it will attempt to explore contemporary fem/anth critiques of religion, secondly, it will look at religion within the historical context of Mexico as perpetuating female subordination, and finally, it will attempt to compare the fem anth critiques to what actual Mexican women think and feel. All three of these aspects will be explored in the hope that two such polar perceptions as those of US feminists and Mexican women can come together, not only for the benefit of the Mexican woman, but also for US feminist understanding of the situation of Mexican women in relation to Mexican culture and Catholicism.
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