The Feminist Debate in Mexico

Authored by: Gabriela Cano

The Routledge History of Latin American Culture

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902565
eBook ISBN: 9781315697253
Adobe ISBN:


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In 1915, the scholar Manuel Gamio claimed that the presence of feminism was “microscopic” in Mexico. 1 In making this assessment, Gamio appears to have been unaware of the pro-feminist mood that was gaining ground in the country. In the month of September La mujer moderna, a weekly publication that defined itself as a feminist magazine in support of women’s suffrage, received financial support from the victorious revolutionary government led by Venustiano Carranza, while in the country’s southeast preparations were under way for the first of two feminist conferences to be held in Yucatán, sponsored by General Salvador Alvarado, who had been appointed governor of the state by the revolutionary forces. In spite of considering feminism to be of so little importance, Gamio dedicated a whole chapter to the topic of “Our Women” in Forjando patria, the influential book in which the anthropologist postulated mestizaje (mixed European and indigenous heritage) as the basis of Mexican nationality. For Gamio, feminism was not a worthwhile option for the country because, according to his argument, the traditional Mexican woman, “simple, loyal, and moderate,” was dedicated to molding the “strong and virile Mexican race.” 2 Gamio’s opinion forms part of the great debate over feminism and its repercussions on society that developed over the course of the twentieth century in Mexico, which is the central theme of this chapter.

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