- Show more
The role of Hispanic women in the past centuries
Women have historically undergoing certain behaviors and ideals. Although the papers of women and the life they lived was a social construction throughout Europe. Spain maintained their opinions about women and how they should live their life as an absolute law. In Spain, desirable women were expected to be obedient, reserved, dependent and ignorant. Through the progression of time, the perception of what an ideal woman has changed. However, obtaining the ideal it has not ended with the behaviors that men practice in relation to women in achieving the ideal woman. Perhaps, as in "Count Lucanor" for Juan Manuel, such as Mancebo, a man could try to build an ideal woman through fear and violence. In contrast to “the deceived preventing” by María de Zayas, a man can have strict requirements that will never be able to find the right woman. Why do men behave in this way? Why do they strive so much to have the "perfect woman"? In Spanish society during the past centuries, men are governed by the expectation of a certain lifestyle with women. In both "Count Lucanor" and "The deceived preventing," these socially constructed norms force men to seek the "ideal woman," resulting in unexpected results.
"Count Lucanor" speaks of Lucanor and Patronio, his advisor who tells the story of a sweet man, a domebus who marries a woman known for being spoiled and cruel. When man finally marries women, he begins to show a more severe side than the wife does not expect. The husband’s attitude manifests itself through violence. In fact, when he describes the husband, Manuel writes that the Mancebo became "very angry and full of blood" ("Count Lucanor" line 48 in Rodríguez). The young man shows violence to establish his domination at home and scare the rebel wife to be more obedient. As a result, the woman begins to follow all the orders her husband gives her. Marriage was no longer about the joy of both people within marriage, but about the servitude of women to men. At this time, we begin to understand that, for the wife, marriage and their home they seem more like a prison. However, Manuel portrays this dynamic between husband and wife as an ideal and the general message of the story is revealed to be "if at first you do not show yourself as you are, you cannot do it when you would like" ("Count Lucanor" lines 107-108 in Rodríguez). This idea of establishing dominance over women just at the beginning of marriage is only one of the various rules that men had to obtain the "ideal woman."
In "The deceived prevent," a man named Fadrique seeks the perfect wife. First he commits to Seraph, but he leaves her after discovering her pregnancy. Then, Fadrique travels to Seville, where he meets Beatriz, a widow who proposes marriage. Fadrique leaves her after she discovers that she was with a man at home. Once again, Fadrique leaves the city to go to Madrid, where he meets Violante, but finds her in bed with another man. With a broken heart, Fadrique hits her and goes to Naples. His next significant encounter occurs when Fadrique meets a married duchess who invites him to dinner. The Duchess enlightens Fadrique about her ideals by disapproving her search for an ignorant woman (the ideal woman). The Duchess tells Fadrique that intelligent women are discreet and that they will want to ask Fadrique in response to a woman "as he will know how to be honest who does not know what the Being is" ("The deceived prevented" line 598 in Rodríguez). Fadrique ignores the Duchess and goes to Granada, where he crosses with Serafina. Try to marry her again, but she refuses. Later, Fadrique realizes that Grace, the girl who rescued now is old. When Fadrique is going to do his business, grace is costing another man who exposes her to other responsibilities of being a wife. When I return Fadrique to Case, Grace is honest with him on the matter. Although honor has been ruined, it stays grace until his death.
Through the content of Manuel’s story as in Zayas, it is clear that ideal women during the past centuries embodied morality, virtue, obedience, loyalty and beauty. In the article "Spanish feminist theory then and now" by Roberta Johnson, the author supports the perspective that historically Spanish literature was full of misogyny. Johnson points out that Spanish literature contained "Apparent Stereotypes of Spanish Women in Fact Refleced Spanish Social reality" (Johnson 13). In the past, these standards for women were common in society, but the hope that women have all "desirable" standards leads to a life of a woman who does not exist. In "The deceived prevent" and "Count Lucanor," women in narratives do not have the standard characteristics. Mancebo’s wife, for example, she does not possess the characteristics of an ideal wife, such as loyalty or obedience, but the mencebo wants those characteristics to have the ideal woman. Therefore, the meavero builds his ideal wife through fear and violence. Fadrique’s many women, despite their defects, embodied beauty, seducing Fadrique to ignore the other characteristics of ideal women. Both in Manuel and Zayas’ narratives, men met women who resided outside the social norms of Spanish society. They demonstrated rebellion against men who had different expectations of a woman.
In the article "On Spanish Literary History and the Politics of Gender" by Constance A. Sullivan, the author discusses the equity of the writers in the literary world predominantly occupied by men. Sullivan states that “Most Storytellers Have Been Men, Defined in Their Identities by Their Cultural Moment’s particular Construction of Masculinity, Their Stories, Their‘ Histories, ’of whatver Spanish literature is, are expressions of a masculine-genendered desire” (Sullivan 27). The author creates connections between male writers and misogyny in Spanish literature, for example, "Count Lucanor" is a great illustration of inequality and lack of precise representation of women. It has been said that social expectations in the past centuries forced men to look for ideal women, even trying to mold women in something that were not. Male writers such as Manuel are the main source of what promoted misogyny in Spanish literature. Especially compared to Zayas’ narrative and the voice that gives women to others in society. If the expectations that male authors attracted men to seek specific standards not attainable in women also lead to dishonor and errors in the life of men. Both men in "Count Lucanor" and "The deceived prevented" strive to obtain perfect women, and when women do not have one or more of the desirable characteristics, their goal is to change it. Mancebo and Fadrique are guilty of succumbing to socially constructed standards and try to mold women.
However, Zayas makes something unexpected in his narrative. Although it provides a perspective on a man who tries to find perfect women, there is an underlying social comment that he is doing about women themselves. Fadrique travels through Spain in search of the ideal woman but never finds her. It shows that men can search anywhere and perfect women will not be there because they do not exist. Throughout the trip, Fadrique’s disposition is still melancholic when he discovers that the women who find do nothing for him, and finally reduces the qualifications to obtain an ignorant woman who becomes the perfect woman. As the Duchess says, ignorant women also contain their own faults. Zayas offers a voice of what it was to be a woman in the past and, in many ways, he teaches a lesson to men to accept women more so they are really.
Women are not destined to meet a man’s expectations, there is respect and equality in the relationship of two people. In "Writing Women in Golden Age Spain: Saint Teresa and María de Zayas" by Paul Julian Smith, the author talks about writers who emerged in the Spanish literary scene. The author states that there are two forms of representation in literature that involve women. The first are the images of women produced by male writers and the second are the images produced by female writers. Smith makes an inference that the images of women exhibited by male authors in Spanish literature had hostility and no sympathy about the representation of women. This is precisely the reason why authors such as María de Zayas have so much value in Spanish literary history because they provide a realistic perspective of what a woman in society means. Writers like Zayas taught that there were multiple types of women, all of them with failures show that women are much more complex and multifaceted. A woman cannot be just what men like Fadrique or the Mancebo want.
It is clear that Zayas and Manuel provide convincing narratives about perfect stereotyped women. Men in both narratives are in a case with a wife controlled by violence and in the other married to an ignorant and unfair wife. It can be inferred that because these men were forced to have a perfect woman based on socially constructed ideals, trusting social stereotypes should never be a standard that men follow. Regardless of the motivation of men and social expectations, both men in Zayas and Manuel’s narratives behave unexpectedly to create and maintain ideal women. These actions carry men for a non -compliance cumin, which shows that an attempt to mold a woman to adjust to the social expectations of others is to live in a relationship of dishonor and unhappiness and unhappiness. In addition, Spanish authors such as Manuel contributed to the stereotype of the role of women in society, which ultimately joined the illusion of what a man should desire in a woman.
Fortunately, authors like Zayas arose to challenge the inaccurate perception of women by providing an authentic reality of being a woman in Spanish society and counteracting the narrative of misogyny in literature.