Marianismo is a Spanish term used as a reference for the prototypical woman among Latin American and Caribbean people. It is also the complementary gender construct to machismo. Marianismo is an obsolete concept used to explain Latinas’ gender norms and sexuality. The term is much less frequently used in the social science literature as a gender construct than machismo. Yet, the characterization associated with this term frames the discussions on Latinas, culture, and gender.
Marianismo (or Mariolatry) is linked with the deep worship of the Virgin Mary. Marianismo (“the cult of the Virgin Mary”) has been thought to influence the female ideal in many cultures (including non-Latina/o cultures) where Catholicism has been dominant. The characteristics associated with the Virgin Mary are assumed to provide the example for women to emulate. As such, marianismo confers on females a spiritual superiority over men which can provide them with a place of power in their personal relationships.
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