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Sanville, J.B. (1998). Transcending Gender Stereotypes: Eluding the Eva Perónista Position. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 3(2):175-195.

(1998). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 3(2):175-195

Transcending Gender Stereotypes: Eluding the Eva Perónista Position

Jean B. Sanville, Ph.D.

From Latin America come reports that, in spite of many social changes in recent years, women have very great difficulty in escaping from old stereotypes about proper feminine roles vis-à-vis the men in their lives, and many analysts attribute the problem to the persistence of patterns established during La Conquista. A number of women, even those who are well educated, nevertheless seem to see themselves as destined to relinquish their personal ambitions in favor of fostering those of their men. Eva Perón is sometimes seen as the prototype, playing “shadow” to Juan's “substance,” obtaining her gratifications from being his wife. But we should be skeptical about notions of linear causality in a world where cultures do not respect political borders. Although to live in a country where one's original culture is that of a minority presents certain problems of its own, it may be that the playground necessary to violate the fixities of stereotypes can be extended, especially when the alternative culture offers new and more flexible values. A case example is offered, of a woman who, although of mixed heritage, identifies herself as a Chicana, like her mother and like the grandmother who cared for her in early childhood. It will show her use of psychoanalytic therapy to modify the negative aspects of her gender identity that contained residues from both her historical heritages, hence to modify the metaphor of being the conquered one.

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