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Cultural Semester Project

For my term paper I decided to research information about the Dominican


Republic. The main point that I will be addressing in my paper is about the different
gender roles in the Dominican Republic. One of my uncles was adopted by my grandma
and grandpa, and his family came from the Dominican Republic. My uncle ended up
marrying a woman who came over from the Dominican Republic for school. I was able
to ask her some questions about her coming over and some interesting information
about the DR itself.
In the interview with my aunt, I was able to ask her some questions pertaining to
her coming to the United States, and what the DR is like and what it was like for her
growing up. The first question that was asked was why she decided to immigrate, and
this was her answer; First even though a lot of immigrants come to better their life it
wasn't my case. I came to study English which is a very hard language to learn, so my
intention wasn't to immigrate but a temporary stay then I fell in love which we all know is
a very powerful and intense attachment to something or someone and because of love I
entered to this culture! It wasn't too hard to adapt! I thought it was really interesting that
she came over to be able to learn a new language and ended up staying because of
marriage. The second question that I asked her was what the process was like for her to
immigrate over to the United States. She said that it wasnt too difficult to try and be
accustomed to our ways. She told me that one of the hardest things coming here, was
making sure that she had enough money for everything. Since she just originally came
for school, she made sure she had just the right amount for her schooling, and when
she ended up staying longer, it was a struggle t try and raise more money to keep her

here. But she is forever grateful that she decided to stay because it ended up changing
her whole life for the better. The last question that I was able to ask her was what life is
like in the DR, and what some interesting facts that she could tell me about it as well.
This was her response; l am from The Dominican Republic which is an island in the
Caribbean;
Our customs are mainly like Europeans culture but with native Taino and African
influences what make us unique The Roman Catholic is the most popular religion even
though Protestant is growing rapidly. Our predominant language is Spanish but in tourist
area you can find a lot of people that speak English, French German and others since
we have a lot of European visitors and investors. The music is exceptional, we are
mainly known for creating the merengue and bachata, two very popular dances in all
Latin America and almost the whole world. The food is the best! We use a lot of natural
seasoning and herbs! Our breakfast can be very heavy from mash plantain with eggs,
onions and salami to very light bread deep in chocolate milk. My favorite. The most
important meal for Dominicans is the lunch. Usually in small towns business owners
closed their business from noon to 2:00pm so the employees can go to their houses to
eat as a family. Kids are out school at noon as well. Baseball is the most popular sport
in DR. And the people are very welcoming and friendly. We usually salute or greet with a
kiss on the cheek if we know the person. I guess we got the greet with a kiss from
European and the welcoming from the native and Africans.

The part that I am deciding to research about is the roles of the different genders
in the DR. In the DR, they are very straight forward about the fact that the man is the

one with the masculinity and the main provider for the family. Although the women have
been able to be a big step towards equality, there is still a lot more that can be done for
each gender to feel like they are of equal representation and value in different aspects.
While the men are expected to take care of the family financially, the women are then
expected to be the nurtures and caretakers of the home, and to keep the family in a
good order. The women are usually expected also to have the meals prepared. Many of
the men in the DR see the women as delicate flowers, and therefore the men argue
that because they are seen that way, they shouldnt be out doing the hard work, that is
just not for a women to do.
There is the concept of machismo in the Latin American culture, which is what
pretty much all of the makes like to be referred to as. The gender roles go as far as
saying what is proper for the women to be wearing, and what she be expected of them.
The men are also put in the same boat. Today as it is anywhere, nut in the DR
especially it can still go as far as little boys saying that they dont want to be associated
with the color pink, because that is a color for a girl to use and wear, not for a boy. The
children grow up thinking that there are certain things for girls and only certain things for
boys to wear or do, and that the other gender shouldnt have anything to do with those
things.
Because of the harshness that most of the women have to face in the DR, there
have been a lot of women that have immigrated to the United States to, in a sense, start
over and be able to feel like they are equal with the opposite gender. There were a lot of
women that came to New York, where they were gladly accepted and able to make do
for themselves. With so many omen coming over to the states. Immigration was a way

for the women to be able to escape the male dominance in the DR, and provide them
with jobs and means to provide for their family, if they decided to come with them to the
states. But problems started to surface, when visas were able to be given to both
spouses, so the women were then faced with the same problem that they came to the
states to try and stay away from. With this the men were able to come over to the states
as well, which left the women feeling as if though their roles would then be staying at
home, and getting all the housework done, as they couldnt go to work because that is
considered to be the mans responsibility. This was also hard for single mothers,
because they were then left with the responsibility of both gender roles in their family.
Since the women werent able to do very much, being able to participate in
politics was considered a big thing. In 1942 Dominican women got the right to be able to
vote, and participate in elections. This was able to mark a very important milestone for
the women in the DR. In the early 1990s, women were able to form organizations, that
were held at higher inclusions within different political aspects.
As for gender role issues in the United States, I dont think it is nearly as bad as
what the women and some of the men are faced with in the DR. Some of the roles have
come to the states, just because of the men and women coming over from the DR,
trying to start new lives. In which they would be bringing their ways and customs to the
people in the states. As for the gender roles changing in the DR, as years have come
they have progressively gotten better, but women are still faced with many hardships of
not being considered strong enough, or powerful enough to do anything that is
considered important.

As for the music in the DR, like my aunt said in her interview, the people there
are known for the merengue and bachata, which are two very popular dances in Latin
America. The salsa was also introduced to Latin America, which has become just as
popular throughout the years. Many music artists from the DR, have started a big
influence of Spanish hip-hop and reggae style of music. Both of these styles are also
very popular in the United States, and many of the singers from the DR, also have
American fans who like to listen to their music. The type of music that has recently
started to become popular among the people of the DR, is electronic. There are many
famous DJs that are making it big in the DR, because that kind of electronic/pop sound
is something that the people are starting to become accustomed to and like. Some of
the strongest influences, especially on the youth of the DR, is from Europe and the
United States. Over the years, there have been many styles of music that have found its
way over to the DR, and stayed because of them being so popular among the people
there.
When it came to getting a piece of music that represented the Dominican
Republic and still had some American influence on it was very difficult. There arent any
American singers that are originally from the DR, so there was no way that a piece of
music was going to be found with an Americanized spin on it. All of the singers that are
famous in the Dominican Republic, are very good musicians and singers, but the only
hard part is all of their songs are in Spanish because that is one of the native languages
in the DR. With all the songs that came up for me being in Spanish, the one that I
decided to choose, was one that for me had a good rhythm and beast to it, and also had

a good message as well. After hearing the song sung in Spanish, I would look up the
lyrics to be able to see what the song was actually about.
The song that I decided to choose is one titled, Baila Que Baila and the artist is a
very famous salsa singer who goes by the mane of Jose Alberto El Canario. The
reason I decided to choose this piece of music is because of the fun and interesting
style it had to it. Jose is a very popular artist in the DR and his music can be heard all
over the DR. It is mostly played at many clubs, and also at parties and gatherings that
might take place as well. I chose to choose a song that is in the style of salsa, mainly
because that kind of music is extremely popular in the DR. Salsa was one of the first
types of music that came over from Latin America. This type of music is very fun and
upbeat to listen to. There are also several forms of dances that can be done to this
genre of music as well.

Bibliography
1. http://moon.com/2010/01/gender-roles-in-the-dominican-republic/
2. http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/letters/gendered-cultural-norms-in-the-dominicanrepublic
3. http://dr1.com/articles/machismo.shtml
4. http://macaulay.cuny.edu/student-projects/2006/neighborhoods/4/Sara/index.html
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_Dominican_Republic
6. http://www.therealdr.com/dominican-republic-life/dominican-republic-music.html
7. http://latinmusic.about.com/od/countrie1/p/PRO16BASIC.htm
8. https://www.dr1.com/articles/music.shtml
9. http://www.temple.edu/tempress/chapters/1060_ch1.pdf
10. http://kralbion2007.tripod.com/id23.html
11.