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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Changing Sex Roles Of Chicanas
Program #
Culture, Identity

Women's Issues
Linda Fregoso
Lea Ybarra
Apr 18, 1980

Changing Sex Roles of Chicanas

Professor Lea Ybarra discusses the changing gender roles and norms of Chicanas. Ybarra first explains that while the U.S. media and advertising have used the term macho to describe dominant, abusive and hypermasculine men, among Mexicanos the term denotes a man who provides for his family and is in touch with his emotions. She argues that the former, distorted vision of Mexican masculinity assumes all Mexican women are passive and oppressed, yet domestic violence is no more common among Chicanos than it is among other ethnic groups.

Ybarra urges people to examine how traditional gender roles span cultures. She explains that the idea that women are caretakers and men are providers is not limited to Mexican culture but rather found throughout the world, and she argues that those ideas are changing in many societies, including among Chicanos. As more and more women work outside the home, men are now helping with the housework and eagerly forming relationships with their children. Ybarra says this is in part because Chicanas are demanding change. Some men however are not willing to change, and Ybarra talks about the increasing divorce rate among Chicanos.

Ybarra then discusses the gender expectations that have compelled women to serve men and not challenge them. She explains that women are realizing they do not have to choose between being assertive and feminine. She also discusses research that has found the daughters of working mothers have higher self-esteem and stronger belief in gender equality than those of stay-at-home mothers. Moreover, gender equality is healthier for both women and men, as both can take an active role in the care of their children.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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