Marriage has unique components and issues in Mexican culture. Religion is a major component that is important to many Mexicans during their engagements and weddings. Traditional gender roles are significantly influential on Mexican marriages. They affect the status and income of many individuals and perhaps appear to encourage domestic abuse.
Division of Labor
Mexican brides typically become accustomed to being housewives and full-time mothers. According to the everyculture.com article "Culture of Mexico," 35% of women and 75% of men participated in the economy in 1995. Although there might be an increase in women getting jobs, women still only make up around 35% of employees in the workplace. Women who do have jobs usually are not the breadwinners of the family. They typically have completed less education than men have completed and earn less money than they earn.
Men and women have different roles in their marriages that give them different opportunities and authority. Women have the role of educating their children about morality and religion. Mexico has a predominant Catholic faith, which significantly influences women's roles. Men are viewed as the head of the family, which means that they have significant influence over major issues and decisions for their families. For instance, many fathers make rules that their daughters cannot date until they are 15 years old.
Mexicans typically begin to date under supervised circumstances. Many women and men meet each other during the paseo, a traditional walk with boys going towards one direction and women towards the other. Their engagements are typically long. According to author Judy King's article "Tying the Knot," the average age for brides was around 24 and their grooms above 24 in 2004. Men usually give their future wives promise rings made of silver to show that they plan to marry them. The rings are worn prior to the actual engagement to demonstrate that they are a serious couple.
Mexicans do not have a common practice of arranging marriages. While love is the primary focus in a marriage, many people hope that getting married can provide them with economic security and upward mobility. There is a significantly low rate of divorce. Although divorces are legal and easy to get, there is social pressure to stay together. Catholicism, the predominant faith in Mexico, believes that divorce is a major offense against God. Many people who take their religion seriously do not want to commit sin by divorcing their spouse.
Domestic violence is an important issue in Mexican culture. According to the BBC News, Mexico City, article "Domestic Violence Stalks Mexican Women," over 6,000 women and girls were murdered between 1999 and 2005. There are many incidents of beatings, emotional abuse and rape. Mainstream soap opera television shows even portray gruesome violence towards women, which desensitizes some people to believe that domestic violence is normal.
- loving couple image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com