RE-PRESENTING THE NATION
Contemporary Mexican Women Writers
by Charlene Merithew
It is possible to trace the relationships between sex, gender, and nation-states through the textual material of essays by contemporary Mexican women writers such as Sabina Berman, Julieta Campos, Rosario Castellanos, Brianda Domecq, Margo Glantz, Bárbara Jacobs, Marta Lamas, Elena Poniatowska, Martha Robles, and Sara Sefchovich. These authors play a significant role in developing and disseminating ideas and theories that illustrate how patriarchal society manipulates constructed categories of gender and representations of monumental and archetypal female figures of Mexican history in order to subordinate women.
These intellectuals critique and subvert the typical manipulations and (mis)representations of images of the Virgin of Guadalupe as the glory of motherhood, of La Malinche as the embodiment of the bad and sexual woman, and of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz as the reminder that womens intelligence is abnormal. All three historical/cultural figures and female archetypes are from the time of the Conquest or the Colonial period in Mexico. However, through the nation-state, their archetypes have endured to the present time with the purpose of maintaining women in a position of the other within the Mexican nation. Mexican women writers share a mission of making progress in the struggle for womens rights in Mexico, so that women have the right to assert themselves in society without repercussion. From the standpoint of a conceptual framework, their ideas are highly relevant to theories orbiting around history, myth, culture, and gender.
Charlene Merithew graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a doctorate in Latin American Literature. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Assumption College in Worcester, MA.
Last Updated: 05/20/07