Etnografía de la genealogía femenina mexicael poder de la femineidad

  1. Antonia Avalos Torres
Supervised by:
  1. Alida Carloni Franca Director
  2. Mar Gallego Durán Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Fecha de defensa: 08 October 2021

  1. Francisco Giner Abati Chair
  2. Rosa García Gutiérrez Secretary
  3. María José Marco Macarro Committee member

Type: Thesis


“Ethnography of the Mexican Feminine Genealogy: The Power of Femininity” deals with the feminine imaginary linked to practices as ways of exercising power and of feminine subjectivity. This PhD dissertation intends to delve into the relevant feminine existence in the Aztec society from the 13th to the 15th centuries (late postclassic period) through the diverse points of view and discourses of the Spanish scribes and tlacuilos –indigenous scribes- narrated about Aztec women, as they were the owners of the power of the written words for centuries. From the exploration of the diverse versions of the stories told by these men, we have carried out a counter discourse supported by a gender perspective. The search for a feminine genealogy is only possible by placing Aztec women as rightful historical subjects. We have proved that, in Mesoamerican cultures, women had equal power and privileges as men because of the indigenous peoples’ views of the world. In these cultures, both genders are complementary, without hierarchies in the maintenance of the universe and life. This can be observed in the pantheon of the supreme gods, where we could find Ometéoltl god that supplies the universal cosmic energy for all things, and the Omecíualt goddess that is present in creation myths and is deemed responsible for the support of all life forms on earth. The feminist theory has been chosen due to its critical nature, questioning the patriarchal premises of society and culture. In this sense, diverse perspectives and approaches have arisen in order to reveal the structures and mechanisms that produce and reproduce the hierarchical constructions of power between women and men in all historical ages. As we will see in this PhD dissertation, despite these subordinated relations women have been subjected to for centuries, women were vital for the maintenance of civilization and life, not only in biological but also in cultural terms. Within feminist studies, the approach provided by decolonial feminism allowed a critical look into the hegemonic processes of domination and conquest to which indigenous populations were subjected. This theoretical perspective facilitated to question the production of hegemonic knowledge that has served for centuries to maintain relationships of subordination and erasure of other cultures, due to the exploitation, inequity and the dominant discourse of colonization. This critical approach has also been intent on showing the ways in which Aztec women were doubly discriminated in the colonial context. We analyze the development of sexism and the change of social roles for Mexican women after Spanish colonization that reinforced patriarchy, so women lost spaces of power and social prestige as a consequence of the conquest and colonization. Another aspect to take into consideration is the role and responsibility of the Catholic church for the colonization and imposition of the Cristian religion and morality. In spite of the rubble, desolation and death left by the Spanish conquest, we value the diverse roles and relevant professions that Aztec women had such as scribes, poetesses, dancers, midwives, sorcerers and warriors, always in relation with the goddesses that were revered as the gods. Therefore, this female genealogy is claimed as it has preserved knowledge from generation to generation, which has been perpetuated and has survived in women’s imaginary through time.