Change in Women Role through Postcolonial Mesoamerica
Every day anthropologists around the world come across evidences of different culture existence. Mesoamerica is one of the many cultural existences that anthropologists have continuously studied for a long time. Robert M. Carmack and his co-authors describe Mesoamerica as land between North America and South America. Also, Robert Carmack describes Mesoamerica as “historical traditions of aboriginal culture” where traditions were always undergoing changes before and after being in influence of Spaniards. To more specifically define Mesoamerica, Suzanna Barbezat describes it as an area that includes countries such as Guatamela, Belize, Hourdreas and El Salvador. The origins of ancient civilizations such as Olmec, Aztecs, Zapotec etc … were flourished in Mesoamerica (Carmack, Gasco, and Gossen Chp 1). Mesoamerica has been divided into certain periods to highlights the culture, evolution of societies and political structure, and life of Mesoamericans. Throughout each period much development took place within in Mesoamerica, which can be seen and traced within the current areas of Mexico. Mesoamerica is divided into few important periods such as: Formative (1800 B.C. - A.D. 200), Classic (A.D.200- A.D. 900), Post Classic (A.D. 800 – A.D. 1500) (Carmack, Gasco, and Gossen 41). It was during the Post-Classic era of Mesoamerica when Spaniards came, and many transformations had occurred. The period when Spaniards had full control over every aspects of Mesoamerica was known as the Colonial period. And, during the Postcolonial period was when Spaniards had lost control of Mesoamericans’ lives. Many changes and developments occurred in Postcolonial era of Mesoamerica which will be the highlight of this paper. All of the developments in the lives of Mesoamericans are very important in understanding about a culture so different than others. However, from all the main developments that were occurring, understanding how women of Mesoamerica have evolved and changed throughout periods is important. In the early periods of Mesoamerica, noble women were “portrayed as mothers or queen” (Carmack, Gasco, and Gossen 441). It changed over the Colonial era where women were seen as objects by the Spanish men (Carmack, Gasco, and Gossen 445). However, everything has changed since colonial time to the modern era. Few major changes have been noted between the postcolonial era and the modern era in women’s role in the society: change in political domain and change in economic roles. Political domain is one the important areas where power of women has emerged greatly during the postcolonial period to the modern era. There are various examples to highlight how women have risen over the political branch in Mesoamerica (current Mexico) continuously throughout the postcolonial period to the modern era; one of them participation in the Independence Movement. Robert M. Carmack, one of the three authors of the book The Legacy of Mesoamerica describes how women from Mexico were involved in the independence movement, and played very active role throughout. During the independence movement which was during the postcolonial era in Mexico, women were involved in roles of “carrying messages, arms, and instructions” (Carmack, Gasco, and Gossen 454). Unfortunately, Robert M. Carmack also describes even though women participation in the independence movement was praised, but their roles declined; women were not allowed to hold any positions in office nor allowed to vote. Author Stephanie Rousseau describes in her article it was Zapatista movement when the indigenous women emerged with their own network in the male-dominated organizations in Mexico. In Bolivia, during 2000s when Evo Morales emerged as a new political leader, made few alternations in occupying of seats in the Parliament (Rousseau 8). Changes made by Morales lead to have women occupying 88 out of 225 seats. And, in 2007 Evo Morales chose...
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