In this chapter, we see the emergence of Latin American Feminism. It is interesting to note that this first push for equality came at a time when men are beginning industrialization and modernization, while women are largely kept out of this process. Although it is important to note that many women did work, they were ultimately tools in the white man’s push to move away from the “natural” and colonial. Dawson points out that this association of men with modernity and industrialization and women with the nature and the past is evident in the photographs; men wore Western clothes and women wore traditional attire. This modernization was a step away from a society that values the natural (women, indigenous, equality) and a step towards a buildup of “isms” (sexism, racism, classism). As Dawson notes, this modernization came with the look and feel of a liberal democracy, but without the political attitudes of the democracy. I think that with this look and feel also came the social inequality of the liberal democracy- all are free and equal as long as you are white and male. The white men held authoritarian positions in the government, workplace, education system, and the Church.
It is upsetting that even as these societies across the Americas were pushing for modernity, certain aspects, such as women’s rights, were held with very conservative values. This is evident in our liberal capitalist societies today. Many feminists argue that equality cannot be achieved in this system, suggesting a complete revolution.
Diaz belittles the Mexican people in order to maintain his power. He claims that they are not capable of a democracy. It confuses me as to why an American journalist would idolize such a repressive and non-democratic leader. I also noticed how Díaz advocates for a capitalist democracy, but also insists that the people of Mexico ignore their “duties” to the society. This seems more like a socialist idea. Clearly, not only this interview, but Díaz’s whole rule is full of contradictions.
In the end of the interview, when Creelman is reporting the achievements of Díaz’s regime, the aspects he focuses on are the ones that benefit the country and the elite. He measures the success of the country in monetary value and statistics. The “conditions” that he speaks of are not the conditions of the people, but the conditions of foreign investment in Mexico. When looking at the Díaz regime from an economic stance, it is more understandable as to why an American journalist at the time would support Díaz. The economic goals of Díaz are more in line with the interests of the American than his political stance. Creelman (and presumably many other Americans), were willing to overlook the political injustice of the Díaz regime in order to fit their economic interests in the country.