Dangerous women and macho men: preserving sexual difference in Orizaba Mexico, 1920-1940

Gregory Swedberg
2007
This dissertation explores how citizens and legal officials in Orizaba, Mexico interpreted the national project to restructure gender relations following the momentous revolution of 1910-1920. I argue that the state's project to modernize sexual difference by providing education, job protection, and expanding rights in the family for women was part of larger mission to insure that women would be capable mothers and wives. Women, however, sometimes capitalized on these legal changes to challenge
more » ... hanges to challenge men's authority which created multiple tensions in the workplace, family and community. Moreover, laws aimed at preserving sexual difference often created unintended consequences that ultimately challenged state efforts to modernize patriarchy, masculinity, and femininity. My research demonstrates that family, labor, community, and state policy are not mutually exclusive categories but rather each informs the other. In addition, the state's push to modernize gender relations while preserving sexual difference conflicted with anterior forms of masculinity. Women's education and their expanded rights in the family and the workplace conflicted with working class men's belief that the revolution had redeemed their dignity which should then reinforce their power.
doi:10.7282/t3tb1799 fatcat:vz6kuzu65fduzlhhvg2gl5i7se