Nafta: North American Free Trade Agreement and Global assembly Line

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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) wields a double-edged sword in Mexico. This trilateral trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, signed into force in 1994, has evidently favored the United States while Mexico has taken a downturn in the very areas the agreement claimed would it help. With a frustrated economy and heightened rates of unemployment, Mexico has seen an interesting cultural shift as a result. With distinct gender roles for men and women, known as "machismo" and "marianismo," which dictate certain behavioral expectations for members of that community, NAFTA has significantly refined this convention. With the opening of the maquiladoras, or foreign-owned border factories, in Mexico, there has been a noticeable shift in gender roles and a subsequent increase of misogynic violence and homicide. The 2006 film, Bordertown, directed by Gregory Nava, examines this issue surrounding the numerous homicides in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and presents to the audience not only the atrocities of the murders themselves, but also how local authorities have attempted to cover these events up and prevent such stories from being publicized. This essay will examine NAFTA’s impact upon Hispanic culture and the reshaping of gender’s relationship between employment and the media in Mexico.

Globalization has complicated class relations nationally and internationally. As corporations utilize different global locations for differential production and outsource labor, they transform these spaces and people. Jessica Livingston, author of Murder in Juárez: Gender, Sexual Violence, and the Global Assembly Line, explains that with major corporations constructing factories in nations such as Mexico, a new phenomenon of migration and independence has occurred among working women. The maquiladoras are understood to favor women when hiring, due to their “manual dexterity and… ability to tolerate tedious and repetitive work” (Livingston 61)....
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