When we ask ourselves about women’s identity, which are the first words that come to our minds? Is our history related with this?
Well, the truth is that we all could have different ideas, and while some people imagine something very traditional, there are also some people thinking about roles, marriage, motherhood, changes or history. And this last word is definitely one of the most powerful words to describe how we are building our lives everyday.
So, how Latin-American's women have been changing over the years? Where is the beginning of our identity?
Through the past two centuries, Latin-American women for example, have experienced a kind of accelerated process. First they were born from a mix between the native and Hispanic culture, and then they grew up going trough different roles. Some of them, the “luckiest” girls were part of the Hispanic descendants, a privileged group in charge of the colonies and kind of “workers of the Hispanic kingdom”. And on the other side were the native women, most of them enslaved and subservient to the Spanish rules. At that point we could not talk about “Latin-American identity”, because both sides were completely polarized. Moreover Indian women were undergoing a mixing process, when many of them gave birth to children of European men. Until this new generation was born, no one could have been considered Latin-American.
When “criollos” appeared on the colonial scene, the feelings of a new identity started to emerge, and of course that many women shared it and felt very involved in this new group of people claiming their rights on these new lands. On this point we need to be very careful, because native people were not considered in many places of Latin America here we are only talking about “mestizos” (racially mixed people).
During that period women assumed new roles, especially inside their families. That is a very important issue, considering that the most part of their lives were committee to them and restricted to private life, and only if we understand their lives inside their families we will catch the feminine essence of that period. No matter if they were rich or poor, their little decision was building who we are today, our great grandmothers, and their great grandmothers were in charge of our destinies and we can’t ignore them.
The women’s identity was a mix of different ingredients, obviously there is the blend of both cultures, and then the lifestyle that they set up inside criollo’s feelings once they felt part of the new continent. After that, and only when those emotions were incorporated to the everyday life and to their hearts, we are able to understand that our identity was not born overnight and that, we are always related to our past. Who we are today began long time ago.
Identity is changing every day, and we are part of it wherever we are. Therefore, we cannot forget our roots, and of course that we are the owners of our history.Written by Carla Deppler