Modern Vs. Traditional

Modern Vs. Traditional

Are we expected to act like our parents?
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There is a total disconnect between the modern day Puerto Rican American woman and the previous generations. While there seems to be some sort of similarity between the two, these groups of women are whole-heartedly different when it comes to interpretations of traditional practice as well as the way they adapt to the so-called “American” way of life. When women from Puerto Rico migrated to the states, they kept many of their traditions while still adapting to American culture and customs. Their children, however, didn’t find the transition so simple. It didn’t matter whether or not they were born in the states on the island. The disconnect caused friction, especially between Puerto Rican mothers and daughters. The daughters found it increasingly hard to maintain their Puerto Rican identity while still remaining in mainstream American culture. There are many factors that contributed to this divide, including: economic status, the concept of machismo, and education in America.

Puerto Rican women tried to assimilate into American society in three distinct ways: the classic pattern of assimilation into the white middle class, downward assimilation into a lower class, or choosing to stick with your Puerto Rican comrades and fit into the niche community, using their insight for personal economic advancement. Geographic location usually helped, especially with the third type of assimilation. This is why Puerto Ricans usually opted to settle in cities, especially in New York. Yet, this can also lead to an economic downturn due to the saturation of the job market. It is interesting to note that most families from Puerto Rico were matriarchal, putting high importance on the mother as the head of the household. As of 1990, 39% of Puerto Rican families in New York were headed by women. This actually helped when it came to the family’s economic status. Three out of four of these families were above the poverty line. It is starkly different when it comes to male headed households, as three out of four families were below the poverty line.

As a result of these statistics, many Puerto Rican daughters in America felt the need to fill their mother’s shoes. . The daughters were also expected to carry on the family line, by getting married as early as possible and having multiple children. Taking care of the family and leading the household were very prominent and important roles for them to take on. Many of them were not willing to do so. They saw the American dream as a way out of this situation. Scholars have argued that the reason for female head of Puerto Rican households in America actually has to do with this divide. Increasing resistance of tradition by Puerto Rican daughters has led to dissolution of marital unions as well as the births of many children out of wedlock. This further increased stereotypes of Puerto Rican women as being regarded differently than white women. Scholars explain that this shift in family life has largely to do with how Puerto Ricans positioned themselves as they immigrated; they mostly stayed in their own social groups and didn’t integrate much with other ethnic groups in the cities.

These statistics on marriage and family show a very different picture when it comes to women born on the island and women born and/or settled on the mainland. Second generation Puerto Rican women were more likely to either become married later in life or marry due to pre-marital pregnancy than those women who were born on the island. It is also important to note that migrants, be they first generation or second generation, had a propensity to work before getting married and having children. This can also lead to a rift between husband and wife, for reasons that will be discussed later on in this essay. Some of the statistics on this issue are pretty shocking: education or lack thereof has no bearing on these relationships or marital unions, and second generation women who have formal marital unions are more likely to divorce than those who just have domestic partnerships.

One concept may be the cause of many types of disconnect; be they economic, social, or simply even just the relationships between mothers and daughters and husbands and wife: The concept of machismo. In a nutshell, machismo is simply cultural expectations for men in Hispanic or Latin American societies. It typically describes and/or identifies gender roles for men and women, while pressuring men and women to fill certain social demands. This didn’t generate well in The United States, as women were increasingly challenging their typically defined gender roles. Men weren’t accustomed to women emasculating them, which therefore led to dissolved unions or high rates of divorce. Women are taught to repress their sexuality while men were taught the opposite. Men are thought to control women. Machismo can also lead to a lack of conversation or consistent dialogue between partners. This affects many aspects of the lives of Puerto Ricans, including marriages, domestic partnerships, overall health due to possible sexually transmitted diseases, and most importantly, childbearing tends.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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My Mom And I Do NOT Have What Lorelai And Rory Had, And For That, I'm So Thankful

But where she leads, I will follow.

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There are very few people I know who dislike the Gilmore Girls TV show. We've all admired the quiet and idyllic town of Stars Hollow and the warm and cozy feel of Luke's Diner. We've all experienced the highs and lows of Rory growing up, and we've loved choosing whether we're team Dean, Jess or Logan. We've all appreciated Rory's literary references, Sookie's love for baking and Kirk and Taylors' quirky personalities. But one of the most entertaining aspects of the show has to the dynamics between Lorelai and her daughter, Rory.

For me, Lorelai and Rory's witty and comedic banter makes the show. I can't imagine being part of such a peppy, caffeine-and-takeout-food-loving duo that always knows the funny thing to say. Wherever these two go – whether it's the town hall meeting or Luke's Diner for the third time in a day – they manage to have a ball of a time because they have each other. And honestly, who wouldn't want that? Watching this TV show has led me to idealize their seemingly-flawless mother-daughter relationship, and to examine my own.

My mom and I are on completely different planes on cultural references, so our conversations don't include jokes about the latest actors and shows. We'd want to go home to take a nap if we were to walk endlessly arm-in-arm around our own hometown, and we would be out of a house and home if we spent as much time at our local dinner as Rory and Lorelai do. Not to mention that, if my Mom and I imitated the Gilmores in consuming copious amounts of food and coffee, we'd explode.

As much as I love the Gilmore bond, I'm still glad that I got the mom that I did. Unlike Lorelai and Rory's relationship, there is a clear mother-daughter divide between us, which I have learned to appreciate. My mom has been there to guide me through both amazing and challenging times and to give me wisdom that she's learned from years of experience. She's been present to give me encouragement about how to do life and how to make friends and how to deal with that one person who's really bugging you. And she acts like a moral authority and encourages me to always be the best me that I can be.

I'm not saying Lorelai doesn't do these things – in many ways, I see her being encouraging and uplifting and altogether-awesome, just like a mom should be. But I also know that she falls into the big sister role because of the smaller age gap between her and Rory, so she fills the shoes of motherhood in a different way.

Although we're not Gilmore girls, I am still thankful for the happy home life that I have. For one thing, I'm so fortunate to have a Dad who lives in our house. My mom and dad's marriage are strong and full of love and makes a house a home. And while I understand that Rory doesn't have a stay-at-home dad as a staple (Gilmore Guys just isn't as catchy), I definitely appreciate the perks of that in my own life. Similarly, it's also really, really nice that my mom gets along well with my grandparents! Sure, we don't have weekly Friday-night dinners with them, but I'm glad that every time we do get together, we don't have awkward dinner-time arguments at the table.

And yeah, even though we aren't Rory and Gilmore, my mom is still one of my best friends. We go mall shopping until either her back gives up or we need to pick up my little brother. We sing along in the car to ABBA music and we laugh about the latest drama in our church. We go on exciting outings, like free movie showings at the library and local teahouses. I try to be interested in her historical fiction dramas, and she tries not to be shocked by my comedy shows. We spill the tea together – even though she's still not 100% sure what 'tea' means. I'd love to be a Gilmore girl, but all the same, I'm glad my mom and I aren't. She's still the Lorelai to my Rory – if Lorelai were a cardigan-clad, nap-loving woman who sneaks vegetables into our dinners. And you don't need to be a Gilmore girl to have someone you can do the adventure called life alongside with.

All in all, I'd say we are more than blessed if we have someone we can follow, where they lead.

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