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BOB — University of Nebraska Press / Page 115 / / Case of the Ugly Suitor / Jeffrey M. Shumway 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 [First Page] [115], (1) Lines: 0 to 20 ——— * 26.0pt PgVar ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [115], (1) 6. Crude and Outdated Ideas Attitudes toward Women “We are entering a new era of Liberty, and [men] have no right whatsoever to exclude us from it.” So wrote the female editors of La Camelia in 1852. The fall of Juan Manuel de Rosas had initiated the so-called era of Liberty, and with the help of their own newspaper, these women were going to make sure they had a place in the new order. The women continued their editorial lamenting that men saw women as mere vehicles of reproduction. “All this resonates with our ideas, with our belief—Man has forever abused his strength and our weakness.” Although men’s historic abuse of women was enough to have extinguished all good relations between the sexes, these women were not going to allow that to happen. On the contrary, they pledged, women would continue to exhibit their natural qualities of tenderness, compassion, benevolence, and love. To do otherwise would “violate the sentiments with which the Creator has adorned our sex.”1 This remarkable editorial illustrates the tenacity of women dissatis- fied with their historic lot in life,but it also shows that in many ways they held just as tenaciously to some traditional female roles. La Camelia,and other female literary activity, symbolize both the persistence of traditional attitudes about gender and the new ideas and roles emerging in the nineteenth century. Women were active in shaping their own agendas, and although they still worked within a male-dominated society,women found men willing to help them push back certain barriers to female activity. Argentine politicians and intellectuals, women included, faced the hard task of building a new nation, and, they all understood, women would have to play a major role in that project. As a result, women became more visible in education, literature, and the national discourse in general. BOB — University of Nebraska Press / Page 116 / / Case of the Ugly Suitor / Jeffrey M. Shumway 116 crude and outdated ideas 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 [116], (2) Lines: 20 to 27 ——— 0.0pt PgVar ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [116], (2) Women through History Assessing changes in attitudes toward women is a complex task, for one must consider numerous variables. Is the woman married or single? Is she the mother of children? Does she work in the home or in public? Is she older or younger? The chapters thus far have portrayed young women (and men) gaining more freedom to choose the mate of their choice after independence, but what about women in other aspects of life and in other stages of the life cycle? Over time scholarship on the subject has run the spectrum from seeing women as powerless subjects to casting them as active agents in their own destinies. Traditional views of women relegated them to the domestic world of the home.AsAsunción Lavrin has pointed out,“lo femenino” (the feminine) was “lo doméstico” (domestic).2 This stereotypical enclosure also extended into the ways women were included and excluded in written history. Women were largely ignored in the histories of the nation written in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the early twentieth centuryAntonio Dellepiane tried to remedy the problem. “Historians talk of men perhaps too much, and of women less than they should.” For him, women exercised an undeniable influence in history, although Dellepiane, speaking from the 1920s, could not help but still envision that influence as it pertained to men.“A certain mother explains a certain son; a certain wife makes comprehensible the events that she inspired or instigated with her husband; a certain government official would have conducted his life and public policies in a different manner if he had had a woman at his side.” In 1923 Dellepiane published Dos patricias ilustres, in which he narrated the lives of two Argentine women in order...


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