by June Soto
Gender roles in the Hispanic community are pretty traditional. In fact, a lot of the way Hispanics see gender roles here in the United States stems from the culture brought with them when emigrating. There are so many large Hispanic communities where people are able to practice their own culture while still being able to be part of the U.S. culture. No immigrant who comes to the U.S. completely assimilates to American culture, but what about those Hispanics who are born here in the states?
For Hispanic parents in the US, raising children and being a family is probably very challenging. We all know that the Hispanic family is extremely close and is probably the most important part of surviving in the states. Unfortunately for Hispanic parents, their children are being brought up in a country where gender roles and traditions are completely different. The prosperity in the United States means that Hispanic women are able to find jobs and opportunities that they may not have had back in their country, which then leads to the independency of Hispanic women.
The independence of Hispanic women in the states breaks the traditional gender roles in the household. Both women and men are now bread winners and “bill payers.” These are the gender roles that their children learn, however, the morals instilled in them are quite different. I know that for myself and friends of mine, who are Hispanic, women are supposed to be housewives while men take care of the financial aspects of the family and any labor that needs to be done around the home. From what I have experienced, even these roles are changing.
Many Hispanic women no longer know how to cook traditional foods and many Hispanic men aren’t exactly familiar with physical labor. I would say that this is because of the educational aspect that is so important here in the US. Children here don’t necessarily have to drop out of school to help their families in order to survive. These factors effect the hierarchy of the traditional Hispanic family and each generation to come. My question now is, How has the American culture helped and/or hurt the traditional Hispanic family?
I’m not condoning Machismo or Feminism, but I do see that many of our traditions are dying here in the U.S. The best thing about Hispanic culture, for me, is the food and family “get togethers.“ What happens when all of that is gone? To what extent do we let U.S. culture change ours? I’m all for equality and respect between men and women, but does it mean that we can’t be slightly traditional when the time calls for it?
It’s important for our Hispanic community to cherish and pass on our traditions here so that we don’t lose the sense of self. Our children should be proud to be Hispanic Americans without having to favor one culture over another and this lesson starts at home.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.