Latinx women consider their cultural patriarchy

Abelina Nuñez
Social Media Editor

Three University of La Verne Latinx panelists discussed their personal experiences with Cultural Patriarchy on Wednesday with 19 participants via Webex.  

The speakers were Julissa Espinoza, director of community engagement; Jazmin Alvarez Barragan, coordinator of student life operations; and Samantha Sandoval, senior pre-med biology major. 

Misty Levingston, associate director of multicultural affairs and black student services, asked the panelists about when they realized there were different expectations between themselves and their peers of the opposite gender.

Espinoza said that she realized the differences in the household first. 

“To me, it was so unfair, and that’s when I really realized that my parents are giving me certain freedom but giving my brother certain freedom as well because he’s a boy, and that means they are restricting me because I’m a girl,” Espinoza said. 

Espinoza’s younger brother could do whatever he wanted even though Espinoza was a good student who did not give much trouble to her mother, unlike her brother. 

“Growing up, I think I either normalized (gender roles) or just thought that was just the way things are,” Alvarez Barragan said. “I didn’t start realizing until college that I have the same opportunities, the same rights as anyone else.”  

Alvarez Barragan was empowered by many historical figures who were not afraid of occupying the spaces and used them as motivation and inspiration to voice her opinions and do what she felt she could do.  

Sandoval thought it was normal for a girl to be in the kitchen and helping her mom around the house. 

“In high school, when I started talking to my friends, we would complain about having to do things in our house while our brothers were not doing anything,” she said.

Sandoval ended up making a list assigning who was doing the dishes on what day, and her brothers would complain to her, asking why they had to do the dishes. Sandoval’s mother saw Sandoval’s perspective and understood when she asked for everyone to help out more around the house. 

“Now that my brothers are older, and we all do things and help each other out, I love it,” she said. “Seeing my mom being able to step up and not care what anyone had to say made me think that I should be able to speak up for myself and do what I want to do.” 

Espinoza said that her mother understood her because her mother took care of her entire family being the oldest daughter in her home. 

“My mom was the oldest from her household, and she had to take care of the family,” Espinoza said. “Because my mom had that experience, I quickly learned that my mom didn’t want me to have that experience. Part of the challenge was that coming home from college, I would always tell my brother, ‘Hey, you don’t have maids here; you wash the dishes.’” 

Alvarez Barragan said it was a challenge breaking the gender roles as this is what women do, and this is what men do. 

Alvarez Barragan was asked how she was able to unlearn those habits.

“I don’t think you ever fully (unlearn those habits), and I think it’s just learning to empathize with yourself and just kind of learning what you’re comfortable with and just taking every day at a time cuz every day is different, every situation is different,” Alvarez Barragan said. 

Sandoval’s challenge was asking for permission to go out and was only able to go out once a week while her brothers didn’t have to ask for permission and were able to go out with their friends.  

After the event was over, participants commented in the chat box thanking the panelists for sharing their personal experiences with cultural patriarchy. 

Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs, commented saying, “I am always surprised when older generations are totally progressive in their thinking and open to allowing for equitable experiences in life,” Loera said. It’s very illuminating to see how alive and well cultural patriarchy is and yet how they still struggle for educating family members and others around these issues.”

Abelina Nuñez can be reached at abelina.nunez@laverne.edu. 

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Abelina J. Nuñez is a junior journalism major and LV Life editor for the Campus Times. She has previous served as social media editor and staff writer.

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