Looking at male privilege forces us to consider social, political and economic advantages that are made available to men. These things or rather ascribed rights are made available to men purely based on sex. Being a white male therefore has had privileges that have impacted on the identity formation of women and especially Mexican women. It does not matter what ethnicity women are but the availability of some privilege to men will always have an impact on the way women form their identities surrounded by these attributes. This paper is going to look at the concept of white male privilege and the effect it has had on the formation of identity for Mexican or ethnic women.
Identity formation or individuation refers to the development of an individuals personality or the way an individual forms their personality in a manner that they are going to be known. Women are already at a disadvantage owing to their sex. This is because society is inherently patriarchal which places women at a disadvantage even before they are subdivided into ethnic or class divisions. The disadvantage is even more pronounced when it comes to ethnic women, minority or migrants since they are considered to be an extended part of America rather than an integral part of the country. In the book From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-century, Vicki Ruiz addresses the issues that permeate the life of a Mexican woman in the USA from a tender age. She begins by addressing stories and histories as a young Mexican woman is taught. One underlying factor is the portrayal of the white male as a superior person compared to a Mexican male. This kind of thinking and conditioning makes Mexican women develop a different form of identity in relation to white males (Ruiz, 1999). . They identify themselves as inferior if their men are considered inferior. The book notes that women of Mexican birth identify themselves by different names that reinforce the fact that they think of themselves as immigrant and not part of the larger society. Names like Chicana and Mexican just go to show how these women form identities that segregate them as different. White male supremacy would have worked on the positive, maybe these women would simply refer to themselves as Americans and nothing more.
The Pachuca Panic: Sexual and Cultural Battlegrounds in World War II Los Angeles highlights the discrimination rallied upon ethnic people and the labeling that comes from an affiliation with ethnic people. This article opens with the story of a young Mexican woman who is protesting the ill treatment of Mexican youth by police yet her displeasure is associated with Mexican gangs. In such instances, white male supremacy comes to the forefront through the actions of the white police force who are depicted as above the law that ethnic people should subscribe to. The press depiction of Ameliaa story is also an advancement of white male supremacy that forces Mexican women or ethnic people to construct their identities around the preconceived notions that America has of them. Owing to such kind of treatments, the article notes that many second generation Mexican women adopted a new subculture that rejected Mexican and American culture. Women of this time rebelled and formed their identities based on the rebellion f mainstream culture that not only segregated them but defined them. This rebellion from social conventions is what earned them the name Pachucas. This rebellion moved away from aspects of the society aimed to confine and limit women (Escobedo, 2007).
The article by Delgado looks at the border patrol activities that were directed at limiting the entry of Mexican women into America. Looking at issues and circumstances like Ruby Browns, (Delgado, 2012). it becomes clear that the cross border prostitution trade was more lucrative if the girls were coming from Mexico into the USA and not the other way round. White male supremacy must have played a central role in such an aspect as the girls believed white males were better customers for their prostitution trade than the men in Mexico were. Economic opportunities aside, the risk of crossing into a foreign territory to practice a trade that can be advanced in Mexico shows the formation of identity by Mexican women as influenced by their notion of what American men are. In this sense, they are ready to endanger their lives to get to what they deem as better that what they have.
Cobas et al. (2015) considers the aspect of White Hegemony and the consequences it carries. The book notes Mexicans as the oldest and largest group in America to have undergone the longest and most sustained history of racial oppression among Latinos. With this in mind, they are categorized as outsiders and treated as such which makes them believe that they are lesser that whites. This form of oppression has made Mexican women from the onset build negative identities with regard to rights that women should be given without question. They have grown believing that they should bear the brunt of ill treatment as women since they are of Mexican origin
Womens America: Refocusing the past considers the ideas of male supremacy that made women form identities based on accepting inferiority. Lo et al. (2015) looks at the segregation of women through family, household and sexuality that assign women to domestic roles hence denying them the opportunity to move beyond what they see themselves as; domestic beings. White supremacy and the patriarchal nature of society has ensured that Mexican women form their identities based on the concept that they are better suited to domestic roles. In this sense, they are supposed to be good at cleaning, cooking, and performing domestic chores not related to any form of excellence in different fields.
The concept of white male supremacy has hence made Mexican women to form identities that are confined to the ideals of what society thinks they should be. Being ethnic in America is hard enough but being ethnic in the twentieth century meant that Mexican women had to stay within the confines of their ascribed roles as immigrants and lowly people who were not originally from America.
Ruiz, V. (1999). From out of the shadows: Mexican women in twentieth-century America. Oxford University Press, USA.
Cobas, J. A., Duany, J., & Feagin, J. R. (2015). How the United States racializes Latinos: White hegemony and its consequences. Routledge.
Kerber, L. K., De Hart, J. S., Dayton, C. H., & Wu, J. T. C. (2015). Women's America: Refocusing the past. Oxford University Press, USA.
Escobedo, E. R. (2007). The Pachuca panic: sexual and cultural battlegrounds in World War II Los Angeles. Western Historical Quarterly,38(2), 133-156.
Delgado, G. P. (2012). Border Control and Sexual Policing: White Slavery and Prostitution along the US-Mexico Borderlands, 19031910. Western Historical Quarterly, 43(2), 157-178.
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