Title

The Health Risks of “Marianismo”

Subject Area

Hispanic Women Writers

Abstract

The paper examines the representation of “marianismo” in writing by Latinas publishing in the United States. Mexican-American and Puerto Rican-American authors frequently portray female characters who are docile, self-effacing and tireless caregivers. These women demonstrate a great capacity for sacrifice in regards to others. Despite their own desires or needs, they are always respectful of and subordinate to the demands of parents and husband. The set of behaviors displayed by such “model” women in their role of obedient daughter and wife respond to social expectations that call for upright females to emulate Mother Mary. In the texts examined, women suffer from a variety of mental and physical ailments that are overlooked and go untreated because in their upbringing women have internalized the need to care for others at the detriment of self. The essay argues that adherence to “marianismo” can present serious health risks for Latinas themselves and jeopardize the well-being of their family.

Brief Bio Note

Gisela Norat is Professor of Spanish at Agnes Scott College, a liberal arts college for women in Atlanta where she teaches Latina and Latin American women's literature. She is author of Marginalities: Diamela Eltit and the Subversion of Mainstream Literature in Chile. She has published scholarly articles on issues of immigration, sexual identities, oppression, and motherhood in Hispanic women’s writings.

Keywords

Latinas, Marianismo, Illness, Health, Motherhood

Location

Room 211

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-26-2015 1:30 PM

End Date

3-26-2015 2:45 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 26th, 1:30 PM Mar 26th, 2:45 PM

The Health Risks of “Marianismo”

Room 211

The paper examines the representation of “marianismo” in writing by Latinas publishing in the United States. Mexican-American and Puerto Rican-American authors frequently portray female characters who are docile, self-effacing and tireless caregivers. These women demonstrate a great capacity for sacrifice in regards to others. Despite their own desires or needs, they are always respectful of and subordinate to the demands of parents and husband. The set of behaviors displayed by such “model” women in their role of obedient daughter and wife respond to social expectations that call for upright females to emulate Mother Mary. In the texts examined, women suffer from a variety of mental and physical ailments that are overlooked and go untreated because in their upbringing women have internalized the need to care for others at the detriment of self. The essay argues that adherence to “marianismo” can present serious health risks for Latinas themselves and jeopardize the well-being of their family.