Stereotypes in My Culture

In Latino families gender stereotypes exist. Not to generalize or anything but in my point of view, in Latino families, women are the ones in the kitchen. I know in some families, the mother keeps the daughter in the kitchen to learn how to cook. In my family, however, there is an equal amount of work in the kitchen between both genders. A Latino mother once told me that it is essential for a woman to know at least five different dishes that will be perfect for her husband. It amazes me that I have to learn how to please my husband. Shouldn't I be able to please him by just being me? Why do I have to clean, cook, think, talk, and do things a certain way just for him?

Maybe it goes back to the pueblos where the women had to stay home and take care of the children because the men had to go hunting, but even so, why couldn't the women go hunting? It angers me tremendously. I do not know where these stereotypes came from and why they still exist today. When I speak with my male Latino friends and ask them if they would ever cook, I receive a rude response along the lines of, "Oh hell no! Girls belong in the kitchen and I belong on the couch." Why does it seem that women are not worth anything or that their roles are already planned for them? In a way, it disgusts me to know that these stereotypes exist within my beloved culture.

As a girl grows up in a Latino family, they get placed into a category: The Caretakers. They learn how to cook, fold laundry properly, clean, and of course all the while, act like a "proper lady." Somewhere in these many lessons a girl learns to say the right things to a man. For example, sometimes a girl has to act a little bit dumbfounded so that the man can seem intelligent if, even in some cases, he might not be. My mother always informed me that you have to give the husband "confidence" and any insult from his wife can really affect his self-esteem (as if a wife wouldn't be affected by an insult from her husband!). All this nonsense seems quite frustrating to me and I think that it is for other teenagers in this generation, too. Teenagers live in a different generation than their parents, obviously, but in each new generation there are always norms of society, family, and culture that one follows and tries to continue in the future.

My Latino friends and I always giggle at the fact that our mothers always let our dads wear the pants in the family. I think it is very normal that a wife does this, especially in Latino families. I personally think that wives say that husbands rule the house while the wife is the actual backbone because I feel that the husbands want to feel as if it is in the past where the men ruled. The truth is that women are aware of the new generation and its different norms, but choose to act as if it is still in the past. I really admire my mom because I know she is the one who calls the shots and makes things happen in the house. It certainly is a blessing.


Angelica is 16 years old and lives in Chicago. On the weekends, she spends her time working, playing sports, dancing, going to church, and studying. Her role model is her dad, because "he always worked really hard to provide and looked for a better future not only for him, but for his family." Have a question for Angelica?  Send us an email!


 

WHAT OTHER TEENS ARE SAYING:

ON APRIL 20, 2013 AT 1:22 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Oh wow, it's still like this? The only reason my mom taught me how to clean and cook was because she knew I'm planning on going to college, a prestigious one at that, and thinks I should know how to care for myself. My mom tries to teach my brother these things as well but he's stupid anyway. My mom doesn't expect him to become sucessful, but expects me, the oldest daughter, to be involved with politics and such. Funny, although I do know I'm going to become someone important. But, I do fit the ghetto latina in a way. XD My Mom holds the power in the house, everyone knows it. My dad tries to be 'The man of the house' but my mom always shushes him up and puts him in his place. XD But, over all we an awesome familia!

ON DECEMBER 14, 2011 AT 2:25 PM, CHEYENNE SAID:

this is so true i agree with all the statements on here in spanish and this is the way my family works as well

ON OCTOBER 27, 2011 AT 2:32 PM, CHY SAID:

im latio and my mother and father both taught me how to coook but i agree with all the comments on here

ON FEBRUARY 4, 2011 AT 4:43 PM, MEL SAID:

It is true women want to be more like a man of have more power and such but sometimes not willing to take it. I know a lady that said she has never pumped gas in her life, she makes her husband do it along with everything else…it’s like she wants it done, but not willing to do it! She get’s all mad cause I don’t help her like her husband does. I think there is a big difference when were talking gentleman like…this is more take advantage than anything else.

ON JANUARY 24, 2011 AT 4:37 PM, SPAIN BABY!!! SAID:

Women need to stay in the kitchen and cook me meat! Women need to wash my socks and tell me how good looking I am! Or else. LOL

I truly believe that many of this needs to be a shared responsibility. Oh yeah, forgot to say I'm Latino/Hispanic and a real boy :). It is sad that women get less because they are female, true it shouldn't be like that. Understand that it takes two to become one in a healthy relationship, so helping each other out is actually a good thing. So in a healthy relationship there are going to be responsibilities, not to the point where they become burdens.

I’m sorry, but on youtube there is a video that shows a woman slap a man during an argument, so the man slapped her back…ROFL. If you want to go, let’s go. Just a little stand up for man time, I think we have to look at it in both points view. A man loses his child/ren when there is a divorce and the ex is worse than him, the man goes to jail cause he defended himself…I know most of the time it is truly the mans fault, but you have to admit if a woman wants to do man things then she should, but don’t complain either and that goes both ways too. :) (I don’t know any men that want to do women things, but ok) Seriously I don’t want to push because I know I’ll be the one complaining and I can’t and don’t want to handle that responsibility, so more power to the ladies!

Hey women are moving on up, that’s for sure! Coming from a guy…In a way you are right though, women are the ones that call the shots and make men believe that they actually are…sorry guys but you all know its true…lol

Sorry for my long spill, but we do need Real Men (gents) to stand up and take LEADership, not in a way to over power or take advantage, but actually Love, understand and make better!

ON DECEMBER 30, 2010 AT 11:41 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I agree with you 100% and its in all races all over the world. I think that we as females really call all the shots and let them think and feel like they are the ones who call the shots. (Males just don't see it as it really is)

ON DECEMBER 29, 2010 AT 3:36 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I agree with you 100%!! People think like that all over the country and it makes me mad. Why can't I be the strong one, the leader? It does not always have to be the man who wears the pants. (That is not to say the woman should wear them all the time either, but still.) Thank you for breaking silence. This is the 21st century. Women should be able to take control!

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