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The intersection of gender and war creates a series of amusing paradoxes. On one side, it is the male fox that have been quintessentially associated with war and therefore are more affected than the female. Obviously, there is usually some pride, satisfaction, necessity and glory in fighting that men enjoy while women have never felt it. A different look at the issue would imply that soldiers take on women's roles which are defined by blind obedience, service, and sacrifice. On the same note, women are only reduced to helpless victims whose bodies and lives are considered of lesser value compared to those of men. To be sure, on very rare occasions are women accused of war but on the contrary crimes on very rare occasions are crimes committed against women coded as abuses of human rights. However, tough war and revolution where women suspend the repression structures of the society and social normalcy could provide great opportunities for women emancipation. War can offer women a prominent public role, a relief from conventional spaces and roles, and even the privilege of carrying arms and protecting the society from enemies.
The picture of Mexican women in the pre-revolutionary period was of a lady whose life was always in the shadow of the man. These women were controlled by marriage, family life, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. There lives were dominated by the male counterparts. The Mexican Civil Code was passed by the government in 1884.This restricted the rights of women at work and at home. There was an incredible inequality between the husband's conditions and those of the wife. These rights nullified and erased the personality of the wife. The Mexican Revolution arose between 1910 and 1920 to fight against the oppression that Diaz had incorporated into his term of rule. Women started to establish their place in the society. The revolution gave them a chance to control their lives and their own fate and live a successful public life. The Mexican Revolution therefore changed women roles both during and after the war.
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Mexican women were very important figures in the revolution period in so many ways. They took part in advocating for right causes which they had so much believe in, took part in politics, and even took part in the battlefield. Female politicians were some of the most influential figures in the revolution. They were thinkers, prominent political activists, role models, figures and most of all fearless individuals in their fight for women goals. These activities resulted to jail terms in a number of occasions. Both lower class and upper class women were able to rise in political ranks despite the all the oppression and all kinds of inequalities they faced. This gave them similar respect to that awarded to men. These women ended up winning the respect and appreciation of women and men around them. Dolores Jimenez Muro and Hermila Galindo are among the women who attained these standards. Muro was a very important political writer, while Galindo was an advocate for the regime and campaign of Carranza as well as a renowned political speaker School teachers and enlightened women provided the intellectual contributions during the Revolution. Jimenez also fought hard to improve the economic standards of indigenous women and in improvement of women both intellectually and morally.
Women also played a big in their selfless support for tribesmen in the battle field. In most instances, they also took up arms left by wounded or killed soldiers Alan Knight. Every soldier in the battlefield was accompanied by a soldadera. These Mexican women could be found in rebel bands of Francisco villa, Emiliano Zapata and Venustiano Carranaza. They could also be found in normal troops of Mexican army federales. Women solders mostly participated in traditional feminine roles for the largest part of the Revolution. They were therefore involved in activities like cooking for the male soldiers. In addition they were also used for the purposes of raising the morale of men soldiers. This was not similar to the traditional female role of cooking for the man at home, here women were more than just a mere companion, they provided comfort that encouraged the men to fight on and persevere the difficult time in the battle field for so many hostile years.
In addition to offering support and care, women also took part in the real war by joining the male counterparts in the battle field. This was different from their previous traditional roles. For instance, they could pick up arms in difference of their men as they took a rest or when they were eating. In the battle field there is no specific time for eating or resting.As such troops needed to be vigilant all the time. Since they could not do this all the time because they required some time off to either eat or rest, the soldaderas substituted their husbands for a while. Some of the women however also engaged in the actual war because they were fully committed to the cause of the revolution. Most women joined the men in the battle field with their children on their backs. They were not afraid to take up the male dominated role and had similar courage to the male. Most of them even ended up becoming very distinguished fighters with a great impact on the final outcome of the Revolution.
Women also took up the role of nurses for the male soldiers. They treated their wounds and gave them a chance to live again. Unlike in the past when women had depended on men, it was a time for the men to depend on women .Without the treatment by women nurses, it was likely that wounded men could die. The domestic skills possessed by women were therefore more appreciated than before. There was some value added on the women. The war also provided women with a chance of leadership. For instance women soldiers who joined the flying columns and privates and proved that they were capable of taking up the fight were awarded leadership roles and even made officers in charge of men. This was a very different role that was unlike the traditional women. Women in leadership were supposed to dress like men and completely masculernize themselves both outwardly and inwardly. They were also supposed to ride on horsebacks something that women could not do before.
Unfortunately and unlike most people might think, the revolution also brought about negative changes to the lives of Mexican women. For instance, their fulfillment of men's sexual desires could be equated to being prostitutes under very hostile conditions. Those women whose husbands died were taken by other male soldiers to continue with their roles. Women therefore acquired the role of victims of war. The female victims are mostly those who were not willing to be involved in the war but were forced to due to some circumstances. In most cases these were those who were to become soldaderas but their husbands went to war with a bad indicating that they did like or accept the followers of the camp. Some victims were women who were left with no job after their services were of no use any more. Those women who were left behind faced more problems because they were supposed to work for double duty. They were also vulnerable to attacks from enemies because their husbands had left for war and there was no one to protect them. There was a declining supply of food between 1910 and 1917. This led to more women being involved in prostitution in order to survive. This was the only way they could raise food for their children and their own sake. In addition there were increased cases of rape committed against women.
Without the brave show by women during the time of war, there is no other way by which women could have had a chance to revel their abilities in the society and gotten the much needed recognition for their work in society. This therefore means that the effect of the Revolution was also felt even after the war. There were a number of feminist issues that were brought up because of the Revolution. North Carolina: UNC press Books, 2009. For instance there was a fight for equal opportunities and rights for both men and women. Women did no longer want to take up the subordinate role and remain in the shadow of the men. By fighting and proving themselves during the war, Mexican women set an example for the rest of the women of the world and this inspired most of them to take up leadership roles.
Even after the war women still maintained three most important roles: Intellectuals, combatant and supporters. There have been a number of conferences held after the war uprising national, international and even the local issues dealing with justice, liberty and democracy. These conferences presented the best means for women to discuss their issues and involvement in the development of the society. Because of the Mexican Revolution, women became active members in the fight for social justice and peace missions in the society. Women were also able to take care of children and families in instances where the men were killed in the battle field. In addition they were also involved as advisers to communities on how to deal with the danger of infringement from the military because most of them were involved in the actual war zone and are able to tell when people are attacking the community. They also took up educational roles such as being teachers within the Mexican society. They gave children instructions to basic subjects like ethics and also acted as teachers in Catholic schools.
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Women also learnt very important skills of nursing during their times in the battle field since they used to take care of the men. They were able to carry up the nursing skills even after the war and could take care of members of the society to help them recover from injuries that they might have gotten from attacks by intruders. After the war there was also a gradual increase in the number of women in the work force. This contributed to a feeling that men and women should share responsibilities at home. It was even noted that men and women shared various chores at home.
If you look at the role of the women had before the Revolution, you get a feeling that they were never recognized in the society. All these were required to do was to fulfill the needs of their husbands and the family at large. The society did not care what they went through to accomplish this as long as the men were satisfied. The Revolution therefore brought some sense of value to the women population. For instance, they were able to showcase their ability to defend their community by taking part in the battlefield as female soldiers. This was a proof that women could also take part in important positions of the society other than remaining at home. Even though some women still participated in their traditional roles of looking after the men and family, there contribution was very much respected because it ensured that the soldiers were able to fight on. The only unfortunate issue is that women did not get enough recognition as they deserved.
The involvement of women in the Revolution has made it possible to for the feminist issues to come to light. It also gave women idea that they should not remain living in the shadow of their husbands. They managed to believe in their strength and capacity to fight for their own future and even for the future of generations to come. It is incredible how women who had been discriminated upon were able to fight selflessly and bravely and made a mark in the history of the world. It is because of such women that we now have women holding strong leadership positions in the society. For instance Dilma Rousseff was elected the first female president of Brazil. This shows that the society now believes in the ability of women to lead its people to the desired destination. Unlike in the past when the Presidency was considered a male job, it can been seen that women are now taking up these challenges. As the women would say, what a man can do, a woman can do even better.