Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

16 September 2010

Summer of Feminista: Mama Feminista and Son

Written by Gabriela Lazzaro @supersonicgaba

“You know who the biggest machistas are? Mothers!” I’m reminded of that familiar saying as I sit here and try to grasp how being a feminista has changed for me now that I’m somebody’s mommy. This beautiful, perfect, smiley three-month old little piece of sunshine looks up at me and I melt. And I am at once terrified at the level of responsibility that parenthood brings and the promise and excitement of getting to know and raising this wonderful little boy.

I grew up in Dominican Republic, surrounded by men, who were --- the typical Latin men. The type of men with una muela (sweet talking) to make you feel like the only woman in the world. The type of men who will dance all night with you and make you fall head over heels, only to then drop you off in time to go cheat on you with someone else. Men who were often, still “babied” by their own mothers well into their adulthood. Men who understood they were in charge, who didn’t owe anyone any explanations, and women just had to get with the program in order to be with them.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they’re all like that. Once I moved to the states I swore off Latin men for a while, only to end up marrying a Dominican. When I got older, I definitely got better at picking them. I made conscious the qualities that I admire in my father, my brother and of course, my husband. Stand up men who are men enough to be with strong women – with their own interests, ideas, ambitions and opinions. Stand up men who don’t feel intimidated by having a partner be their equal. Stand up men who can do the dishes and the laundry and never feel like it’s a poor reflection on their manliness. Stand up men who admire and love us feministas for all we have to offer.

Something tells me my little boy is gonna be just fine. What he’ll see in our home is an example that is so much more powerful than anything I could ever say. He’ll know how to treat and value women as equals. He’ll be confused when he learns about traditional gender roles and hopefully find them ridiculous. He’ll know inherently that all people are valuable, and all people deserve respect. He’ll know that living this truth will make him more of a man than anything else ever could. He’ll be a damn good feminista, and I’ll continue to be incredibly proud.

Summer of Feminista is a project where Latinas are sharing what feminism means to them. Positive. Negative. Academic statements. Personal stories. Learn more or how you can join the Summer of Feminista. This is a project of Viva la Feminista. Link and quote, but do not repost without written permission.


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