Marianismo is an aspect of the female gender role in the machismo of Hispanic American folk culture. It is the veneration for feminine virtues like purity and moral strength. For example, it represents the "virgin" aspect of the dichotomy. Evelyn Stevens states:
[I]t teaches that women are semi divine, morally superior to and spiritually stronger than men."<ref>Evelyn P. Stevens, "Marianismo: la otra cara del machismo en Latino-América"; in: Ann Pescatelo, Hembra y macho en Latino-América: Ensaios., Edición Diana, México 1977, p.123.</ref>
The ideas within marianismo include those of feminine passivity and sexual purity. There is power in marianismo that stems from the female ability to produce life.
This term derives from Catholic belief in Mary, mother of Jesus, as both a virgin and a mother. According to the New Testament, she was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. She was eventually given the title Theotokos "Mother of God" in Christianity and thus became a subject of veneration and admiration. From this is derived the idea that an ideal woman should be spiritually immaculate and eternally self-giving.
This ideal woman is emotional, kind, instinctive, whimsical, docile, compliant, vulnerable, and unassertive. She has a higher status in the community if she has children (especially male children) and is a caring mother. She is also pious and observant of religious law.
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