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Dominguez

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Patricia Dominguez
Professor Ditch
English 113B
16 February 2015
Breaking Traditions
In the article, Culture and Communication Novelist Anastacia Kurylo expresses that
A culture is any group of people that share a way life(Kurylo 3). In todays younger generation
culture isnt just defined as race or ethnicity but the surrounding cultures you consider yourself a
part of. As for myself, I began by first reflecting on my own family, realizing that they have
influenced me to become a part of diverse cultures. I can still express that I am proud to be
Hispanic but a nonconformist to traditional values and stereotypes. More specifically, I consider
myself to be a part of learning community and a self-reliant community where women have a
role of being independent. Reflecting on the struggles of my grandmother and mother, whom
lead me to become a part of both these communities, they have also been the key reason that I
want to break free from these traditional values and stereotypes. Despite the traditional values in
my Hispanic community, I have learned to be independent by being financially stable and
enhancing a womans role with the same power of a man. Being a Latina and independent, has
lead me to succeed further by also pursing an education at California State University of
Northridge, despite the stereotypes where Latina woman are not expected to attend or even finish
college.
Reflecting on my own identity I realized I had to dig deeper into the backgrounds of my
mom and grandmother. My grandmother being raised in Mexico her expectations and beliefs
growing up were to maintain a clean house, get married at a young age and have children to

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clean up after. Being married was seen as huge responsibility because her only job was to
maintain the husband happy by having dinner ready by the he arrived home. Her routine was a
constant struggle because that was all she was taught and that was considered the traditional way.
My Mom on the other hand, spent her teenage years in the U.S., without a High School Diploma
and has been a single mother working to support her four children. Working as single mother
meant she had the job of both a man and a woman which was working and making sure the kids
got to school on time. Both of these women in my life were not able to choose the pathway they
dreamed of but, settle for the traditional life they had to adapt to. They did what they have been
taught for many generations before which was for a woman to have the responsibility to look
over everyone else but her. West Virginia University graduate, Celina Melgoza Marquez,
expresses in her booklet that Women with limited educational opportunities tend to see
marriage as a goal of their personal development(Marquez 10). The importance of Celinas
story is that she provides a message that explains that these Hispanic women only grow up to see
one kind of dependence and that was to be reliant on a man. Despite a woman taking physical
care of the house and children, a male figure is seen as the provider and man of the house.
These women 30 years ago did not have an opportunity of education or independence and some
as young as 15 years old had to make life long decisions like marriage and having a family.
Therefore, brings me back to my point about these influential women who struggled, to continue
encouraging other young women to become a part of this community and break free from this
traditional norm. Today most women always have a choice where they can take advantage of the
opportunities given and where they do not have to continue this tradition.
This background has not only lead me but has also influenced me to become independent
and make wise decisions with the opportunities that are given within the Hispanic community.

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Times have changed in which these younger generations of Latina women are now able to
separate themselves from these traditional roles and be self-reliant. There are many positive
aspects to this because young girls from the age of 15- 17 are usually in high school, participates
in clubs, sports, and maybe even have a part time job. Which is exactly the experience I had
while being in high school. Ive also noticed while having the freedom to participate in these
opportunities it also boosts not only their confidence but also serves as an encouragement to
succeed more. Which serves the purpose to give women the empowerment for independence. As
an 18-year-old girl outside grown up in the authentic Mexican community I enjoy having the
power to challenge a man and have choice to so say no to a young marriage as well. Novelist
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez express a sense of woman empowerment in her story My hips, My
Caderas, when she says They ask me to dance, and I often say no because I can. And these
men suffer (Valdes-Rodriguez75). Rodriquez here expresses that she has the power of being
independent and she will have the men come to her instead of vise versa. This is where reflecting
on the experiences of my grandmother teaches me that I dont have to rush into a marriage.
Born a first generation born to a Hispanic mother, I have been taught to learn from my
mothers struggles and encouraged to accomplish things that will only benefit me for my own
future. This includes getting financially stable and getting a job and truly get the feel being
independent. Even as a young woman this is where being a Latina is beneficial because in most
part time jobs being bilingual is a necessary skill to communicate. Being financially stable shows
that woman doesnt necessarily need to be reliant on man but focus on taking care of yourself
first. This also gives the opportunity to have luxuries such as girls night out to a club or go on
vacations with friends. Growing up watching the struggles that my mom and other women have

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gone through has been uplifting because not only are traditional values changing but also the
stereotype of woman not being able to have a job or go out to have fun.
Although being independent is exciting it also comes with responsibility with choosing
different paths in life such as pursing an education. Eventually through all the reflecting of my
family background and being independent, this lead me to the path of attending the school of my
dreams California State University of Northridge. I feel very proud to say that I am the first
generation college student in my family, which means a lot because I am a part of the movement
of culture to prove stereotypes of Latina woman un able to attend or complete college wrong.
Director of Higher Education Research Institute, Dr. Sylvia Hurtado explains in an interview that
Women are being more educated and theyre being encouraged to go. (Hurtado)(BranchBrioso). Statistics were also shown that in 2006 surveys Hispanic females were 60.8 percent of
first-time, full-time Hispanic freshman in a four-year college and university.(Branch-Brioso)
Culture changes are being accomplished because more woman are encouraging one another in
the Hispanic community they can achieve a degree as well. Therefore, going to college doesnt
make me feel out of place because more and more women my age are also making the same
movement to change stereotypes of being a stay at home house wife without any education or
career.
Culture not only defines the way you look but more specifically in todays young
generation it is seen as what communities you surround yourself with. Looking deeper into my
own culture I have realized that I am a part of diverse cultures because of the roles we play in
with each community. I have grown up in a Hispanic community where woman for the past 30n
years have been encouraged to break traditional values and prove stereotypes wrong. Hearing the
stories of my grandmother traditional values on being reliant on a man and watching my mom

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struggle through mistakes taking a role of a man, have all taught me that I need to redefine my
culture become a better version a Latina. Reflecting on these women I had been encouraged to
break from these norms by defining myself as independent because I didnt have to marry at a
young age and had the opportunity to be self-reliant by having a job to become financially stable.
Not only that, but also proving stereotypes on Latina woman not attending college wrong by
pursing an education at California State University of Northridge. In a Hispanic community
today there are always ways it is accepted to adapt yourself into diverse communities and at the
end of the day still be proud of the background you come from.

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Works Cited
Karen Branch-Brioso, Dr. Sylvia Hurtado. UCLA Study Reveals Growing Gender Gap
Among Hispanic College Students DiverseEducation.com. 16 October 2008. Web. 18
February 2015
Kurylo, Anastacia. Culture and Communication Marymount Manhattan College.
Book. 11 February 2015
Melgoza-Marquez,Celina. An Introduction to Mexico and the Role of Women Extension
Service, West Virginia University. Web. 12 February 2015
Valdez-Rodriguez, Alisa. My Hips, My Caderas MSN Underwire. April 2000. Web.
12 February 2015