The following are the five women who have influenced and shaped Mexico the most, from the time of the Spanish conquest to the present day.
Alvaro Ramirez is a blogger and frequent contributor for Cultura Colectiva. If you also want to be part of our growing pool of contributors, click on this link and send a 400-word article for the chance to be featured in our website.
Mexican women from all walks of life have left an indelible mark on our national history. Of course, the Virgen de Guadalupe is in a category of her own in this respect, but here we are talking about women born, raised, and who lived in the geographical area that we now call Mexico, and who left an imprint that continues to have positive consequences for our nation.
The following are the five women who have influenced and shaped the country the most, from the time of the Spanish conquest to the present day.
1. La Malinche
The mythical mother of the mestizo nation. There isn't any person more mysterious in Mexican history than this indigenous woman who participated in one of the most amazing periods of human history: the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs. Because of her linguistic skills, she was the most powerful woman during the years of 1519-1521. As Hernan Cortes' translator, she helped him successfully navigate his way through the complex, indigenous political world of her time. For this reason, Mexican history condemned her unjustly to the role of traitor.
2. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
A most excellent poet, essayist, and dramaturge. This intellectual powerhouse transformed culture and society from her cloistered life in a convent cell during the colonial period (1521-1821). In her writing, especially "The Response to Sor Filotea," she anticipates much of feminist thought with an uncanny intellect that no one in Latin America, female or male, has ever matched to the present day.
3. Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez
Without her courage and resolve, the independence movement of 1810 would have been aborted. Her timely warning to Don Miguel Hidalgo about his impending arrest, along with that of his collaborators, greatly changed the course of Mexican history. We need to acknowledge more the role of "La Corregidora" (as she is popularly known) during the independence festivities of the 16th of September.
4. Frida Kahlo
Diego Rivera. With the advent of the feminist movement in the United States, her artistic legacy found a more deserving audience and recognition. In the new millennium, she has become a cultural icon recognized around the world, and today it is Rivera who lives in her shadow.This surrealistic painter lived for many years under the shadow of her husband, the giant of mural painting,
5. María Félix
She may not have shown a great acting range, but her movie roles, particularly the one she played in Doña Bárbara (1943), were essential in defining female Mexican-ness in the twentieth century. La Doña, as she was known until her death, was a key player in the Golden Age of Mexican film (1936-1957), whose influence continues to reverberate in a transnational Mexican society and culture that resides in both, Mexico, and the US.
The contributions of these five women were paramount in the creation of a political, cultural, and intellectual identity that gives Mexico its uniqueness in the world's family of nations. Without their existence, Mexico just wouldn't be the country we know today.
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