From the minute I met Violeta, it was easy to see that she is a strong, independent woman who has overcome a variety of obstacles throughout her life. Violeta knows exactly what she wants, and she goes after it–but despite what it may look like today; it has not been an easy journey. While Violeta was still living in Guanajuato, she experienced an rigid gender divide that served as a barrier in the progression of women in society.
In class, we had a great deal of discussion about traditional gender roles, specifically with regards to migrants. The background knowledge that I gathered from the readings, as well as the insights of my classmates and professor, was brought to life through Violeta’s words. As a woman, she continually faced oppression, both in Mexico and America, simply because of her gender. However, Violeta broke down these barriers and has achieved a level of success in both her personal and professional life that would be inspiring to anyone who has ever come up against adversity. Violeta’s parents fully conformed to traditional gender roles, which placed her father in full control of the family. Seeing the effects of a lifestyle like the one lived by her mother helped to push Violeta toward the feminist cause, and become far more independent than the previous generations of women in her family.
We also discussed the return rate of migrants to their home countries. We learned that some who say they will return never do, and a portion of those who vow to never return make their way back eventually. When she first arrived in the United States, Violeta wanted nothing more than to return to Guanajuato, and promised herself that she would return the first chance that she got. Before that chance would arrive, Violeta would decide that the United States was where she needed to be if she wanted to achieve her educational goals. Violeta leads a transnational life, as she does revisit Guanajuato to see family. Both her husbands family, and her own family still have ties in Guanajuato, so they do try to visit every few years. Violeta has noted that Guanajuato has progressed, and changed for the better with regards to gender roles, as well as the general standard of living.
I look forward to continuing the friendship that I developed with Violeta thanks to this project. She opened my eyes, and allowed me to see her world; and for that I am forever grateful.