Faculty Publications

Title

"It is the only way I can survive": Gender paradox among recent Mexicana immigrants to Iowa

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Sociological Perspectives

Volume

47

Issue

4

First Page

393

Last Page

408

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to collect, analyze, and report the voices of immigrant Mexicanas as they talked about their new lives in Iowa. Changing material conditions wrested from them their traditional lifestyle and threw them into a situation in which they adapted by maintaining traditional gender ideology while transgressing traditional gender behavior. This gender paradox connects their ideology and behavior in a kind of functionality whereby the women violate traditional gender boundaries as a way to maintain and support traditional gender ideology. The paradoxical relationship between behavior and ideology does not just co-occur; rather, breaking away from traditional gender behavior helps to protect the traditional gender ideology that is central to their lives. The gender paradox reveals that Mexicanas are active agents carving a space for themselves under rapidly changing material conditions.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2004

DOI of published version

10.1525/sop.2004.47.4.393

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