The Gender of Power: Latin American Dictatorship

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The Gender of Power:
Latin American Dictatorship

Throughout history men, women and children have been subject to harsh ruler-ship, generally under a patriarchal system. With the emergence of a female role in one of the most coveted dictator positions, one would ask the question: Is feminized power less ruthless? In Gabriel Garcia Marquez's “Big Mama's Funeral” we learn that although a female has stepped in to the office of a leader, her power is still abused and misused like any other. Latin American history has proven to be one of the most affluent in terms of poor utilization of wealth and power. We have also learned that man or woman can strive in the role of a leader, and that followers will pay mercilessly for the simple fact of living and being. Big Mama is the living proof that power is genderless.

The lifestyle lead by a dictator as powerful as Big Mama herself is quite consuming regardless of her gender. The protection of her kingdom and her fortunes were her prime concerns, along with the assurance of her matriarchal rigidity. Her absolute power reigned over the kingdom, slaughtering any who opposed her and every person living within her kingdom had to pay their dues. Residents even believed Big Mama “was the owner of the waters, running and still...”, even the “air they breathed”. She was the richest and most powerful matron in the world, although no one knew the the exact value of her estate. She was considered by most of the inhabitants as immortal, to them, she was bigger than life itself. Her stern sovereignty was questioned by none.

Her family consisted of brute and loyal soldiers who followed her every command without question. She had built a fence to further protect her and her possessions. The land which she occupied had been passed down from generation to generation. Big Mama had been “Macondo's center of gravity”, as had her brothers, her parents and the parents of her parents in the past, in a dominance...
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