There are certain standards and values that we cannot escape when we belong to traditional Latin cultures. There are constant comments about being single at a young age and divorcing in our culture, where marriage is seen as a sacred union.
Being acculturated by two Mexican parents, I was raised with traditional values and beliefs about marriage. I have since shifted my thinking, followed my own beliefs in order to maintain my well-being and follow my own individual path.
Everyone has a choice and when it comes down to it, we should make choices that work for ourselves and not others. Women face many pressures and should have autonomy in all aspects of decision that influence their lives.
It has been a year now, since my divorce and I notice the constant criticism in and out of my family about my decision. We are seen as different because I didn't keep my family together. As a single mother in Latin culture, I do face a lot of criticism from many. They include the circle of immediate family and friends. I have learned that men's flaws are not nearly as magnified as a women's flaws in a marriage.
First of all, people criticize and put the burden on the women. They see a broken marriage as a woman's fault. In many Latin cultures, women are blamed for the break up of families. It's a very common thought that it is a woman’s fault for the divorce. Women are seen as the glue that holds the whole family together. As women, we have immense pressures to continue in these dysfunctional marriages.
We go through the judgement that it was our fault and that the marriage could not be worked out because we "didn't try hard enough".
We hear the many stories of how previous generations of women did to stay married no matter what and endure horrible marriages. In our culture, we are also criticized by our elders. Our elders compare us to them, stating couples today do not withstand any adversity in a marriage and take the easy way out by divorcing.
From speaking to my peers, they also feel the pressures and expectations of fulfilling the traditional female roles in a family that still exist today and across many cultures. The traditions, beliefs, and values of families in our culture continue to get reproduced throughout generations.
No matter how many years of progress we have as a society and media trends, our traditions and beliefs are not easily replaceable, but are so embedded in our psyche. Marriage is seen as a sacred union that holds women more accountable than men. The pressures on women never cease.
Even though our families immigrate to other countries, they continue to perpetuate and follow the values and traditions of their cultures. I can only speak from my experiences belonging to my culture, but the pressures on women in general are never ending. These pressures are shared among all regardless of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.