Throughout last week we had several meaningful lectures on various topics that blend into the topics discussed in my political science and history courses. A major theme of last week is the topic of LGBT and gender roles, specifically on masculinity.
On Wednesday 4/30, history professor Antonio gave a lecture on LGBT history in Cuernavaca. It was interesting to hear his presentation and the views on the gay community from the perspective of a developing nation. During his lecture, I often found myself comparing Mexico’s societal views on homosexuality to the United State’s view. It was also interesting to hear about the different nonprofit organizations that not only support the LGBT community but also promote healthy relationships. It was surprising to hear that Mexico has a strong LGBT community, especially when it still holds a strong patriarchal culture. After his presentation, later that day we had a talk from the Sexual Activism and Diversity Panel. We had three different speakers who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, and transgender. We heard stories and perspectives from these individuals. It was interesting to hear stories from a personal level and their experiences.
Panel discussion on the LGBT community
From Antonio’s presentation on LGBT community, the lecture on masculinity on Thursday 5/1 contrasted well. Hugo Rocha’s presentation on masculinity was interesting, especially in a country like Mexico that is heavily influenced by machismo. Rocha dispelled several misconceptions on masculinity and gave a different approach to it. I thought that it was interesting when he explained how men are put into situations that encourage masculinity. He gave an example of how the newsstands on the streets consist of magazines of nude women and explained how this incorrectly portrays men. We often hear that these women are objectified but we don't hear about the negative image it puts on men. It portrays men as thinking about sexualized women and sex. Another interesting point that Rocha brought up was interaction between men. He explained that it is less acceptable for men to do things with each other than it is with women. He demonstrated this with two male students from my program. He asked them to hold hands and hug comfortably. The reactions that we got from the audience were interesting and proved Rocha’s point.
Students Al and Tyler demostrate how bending gender roles can be difficult.
Overall, this week was full of guest lecturers that I found very relevant to topics that MGE focuses on, which are culture, identity, and gender. It was interesting to listen in on these lectures. From the day I arrived to Mexico, I consistently thought about gender roles here and what influences these roles in their society. I like to look into their culture and find a common ground with my Korean culture and my American culture. It has been an interesting experience for me to compare and observe.
- Sarah, Student