María Cristina Campos Fuentes (DeSales University)
This panel will explore the concepts and stereotypes that lay behind the vision of love expressed by Latin American authors. Its purpose is to create a dialogue about writers’ depictions of love, disaffection, and womanhood and how those ideas reflect, renew, or challenge Latin American societies. Both male and female writers have represented feminine images in the context of love or the lack of it, but it is impossible to overlook the fact that portrayals of women have been created mainly by men, who often reproduce traditional views of women, misrepresent them and, furthermore, deprive them of their own identity. The most common representation of woman sees the beloved one compared either with the Virgin Mary or a prostitute guilty of awakening the male’s erotic desires. Nevertheless, with modernization emerging in Latin America, male and female writers from every part of the region have expanded their visions of love and womanhood and have depicted women in more varied situations: women belonging to traditional rural communities or to a liberal and cosmopolitan metropolis, rich, poor, young, old, loved, abandoned, in love, hurt, or disdainful. Indeed, within their works, Latin American authors not only reflect the social expectations for women in their different and often conflicting roles (as lover, wife, mother, sister, friend, co-worker, rival, etc.), but also their personal expectations of the beloved woman or the self—when the author is a woman. This panel will focus on Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking writers who offer intriguing images of love, disaffection, and womanhood. Comparative approaches are suitable, as they could enlighten the changing image of love and womanhood throughout the time under diverse circumstances, but non-comparative studies would also be considered. The method of analysis is open and feminist interpretations are welcome.