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Sexual Freedom In The New World : A Response To Lavrin and El Saffar    

When I was in college I took a Latin American Women Writers course.  As I have mentioned in past posts, I got heated.  In so many ways I could identify with thesewriters.  I am going to give my Latin Studies professor a break (lol) and publish some of these papers.  This particular paper was my response to, “Rapture Encaged, The Supression of the Feminine in Western Culture” (Routledge, London and New York) by Ruth Anthony El Saffar. The other reading was, “International Feminisms: Latin American Alternatives” (Blackwell Publishers Ltd.)  by Asuncion Lavrin.


 After reading the two histories by Lavrin and El Saffar I immediately notice that sex is a central theme between the two histories.  Lavrin describes the new world as a place where the Conquistadores come and have affairs and sire multiple children.  On the other hand, El Saffar describes Spain as a rigid environment due to the Inquisition. In my opinion, many Spanish were flocking to the new world in search of a less rigid lifestyle.   During the Inquisition, people in Spain were devout.  Unfortunately those in Andalucia  were not all Catholics.  El Saffar mentions that Christians, Muslims and Jews also lived in Andalucia.  Although, people lived next to each other peacefully, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella required everyone to proclaim they were devout Catholics to unite the kingdom.  Discovery of the New World was an attractive place for many Spanish males.

 Lavrin notes that when the Spanish started to arrive in the new world they began to have sexual relationships with the native women.  These relationships were good for the Conquistadores for sexual, and expansionist reasons.  On the other hand, the church still wanted the moral code to be upheld.  Consequently, the church also started to expand throughout the new world.  Eventually, men that had wives had to reunite with them, and those that did not were required to marry the women that they had relationships with.  Eventually, a caste system arose between the different ethnic groups in the new world.  European, Casta, Mestiza, Indian, and  African women were all perceived to be on different levels socially.  In my opinion, women were attracted to the church in the new world like men were attracted to the new world for different reasons.   In conclusion, Spain was a rigid place during the Inquisition.  The new world meant sexual freedom for men and women alike.  Men were able to have a less rigid lifestyle in the new world, and women had freedom from sex through the church.

Joy Clark is a writer, producer, and publisher. Lexington, KY

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