A compilation by a number of authors of writings related to Women in early Mexico. One of the books I picked up in Santa Fe at the Alla Book Store and recommended by the owner Jim.
From the dust cover: “…is the first comprehensive collection of substantive essays about indigenous women in prehispanic and colonial North America.
A scholars book, heavy sledding at times but very informative.
These early women were not compliant salves to their husbands, rather their traditions gave them rights, including that of owning property which they defended. There were however definite rules that placed the woman subordinate to the men as evidenced by the following:
on the other hand:
All of this is evidence that prior to the Spanish conquest, there were well-established “norms” of behavior and codes of conduct that were popular and written down.
There is an interesting comment in one of the articles related to what the author refers to as “the moral economy” of the peasant. This connects to the studies elsewhere related to revolution and war, especially Vietnam, that address the attitudes of the lower classes. The author makes the point that the peasant expect 2 basic things: reciprocity and subsistence. By that, the peasant understands that it is required that he support the ruling class with taxes and labor and such, but he expects something in return…mainly security and protection and some measure of justice. At the same time, he expects that he has the right to subsistence, either provided by the ruling classs or provided by his own labor. In other words he expects to be able to provide for his family and that his right to do so will be respected. Failing to provide this bargain, the rulers have no rightful authority. We will see this again, in another form, in the discussion of the Vietnam war and the period prior to 1965…see…<to be written>.
It should come as no surprise that the basic structure of the family was disrupted and revised by the imposition of the rules of the Catholic church. The authors write:
“…the Catholic church promoted a politics of marriage that rested on the inviolability of the husband’s authority”
and it goes on with the expected disparity of rights associated with violence, adultery etc….
It seems that the general knowledge here is accurate…
This was interesting for background information and some confirmation that things were as bad in some ways as I already thought but that the womn at this time and place were strong enough to fight back at times. There are records of court proceedings and even a revolutionary or two. It is safe to conclude that a mildly sexist society from pre-colonial times was replaced by a significantly more repressive society after the Spanish conquest…..no surprises there.