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Uncovering the Magalomania Behind Evita Peron

In my reading of “Uncovering the Megalomania Behind Evita Peron”, Eva Peron undergoes a somewhat scathing dissection of her persona as opposed to her talents and influence. The critique that Evita’s popularity is attributable to her lack of testing is easy to defend. Her success came largely out of the bravery to insert herself into typically male dominated circles as well as through seduction and charm of influential men. She made these connections while maintaining a traditional femininity that was palatable to the machismo and patriarchy that was a hallmark of Argentina and Latin America. Obviously these structures continue to be prevalent in Latin America and internationally; however, Evita was addressing crowds during a period of dramatic advancement of women’s rights. This point is well illustrated in her push for women’s suffrage, though this struggle endeared her to many women (and provided her husband with a loyal voting block) she “was careful to enlist the support of her male listeners by assuring them that after enfranchisement, women would not become masculine or overbearing”. These and similar stances allowed her to represent modernity. As she had some immunity from criticism in this period as the wife of the president, she was a valuable figurehead. 

Though many people suggest it Evita was in no way a politician. She was an emotional powerhouse, her entire life was a performance. This was so actualized by her Rainbow Tour through Europe, which was complete with huge spending on shopping trips, a massive entourage and a closet to match. Though different countries received her with varying degrees of enthusiasm this cemented her status as a performer. Add this to her rise to fame as a radio and television actress and this identity is undeniable. She was firstly and adored celebrity, she came to play a politician which explains the phenomenon of adoring fans, a phenomenon that for any normal politician is a bit strange. Her influence is summed up well in the testimony of Dr. Serge Pilar who recounts his memory of attending an Evita speech: “Throughout her lifetime Evita was able to hold herself above factions and espouse her ideas without having to answer for them to anybody.”

The main attraction of Evita came of the dreams of what this uncriticized golden woman could propose. Evita’s actual political bid was evidence of her complete incompetence, not only was Argentina not ready for this or any woman this close to the presidency, Evita was woefully underqualified. There is no evidence that she ever would have had the capacity to effect genuine change; her background, life and education do not support this notion. Evita’s political prowess could only ever be praised in theory and as her day has come and gone, she will perpetually remain symbolic of Argentinian dreams.

Sources Cited: 

Scarpa, Anna. “Uncovering the Megalomania Behind Evita Peron.”, NYU, Dec. 2000,

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Casta Paintings

I was drawn to the series of Casta Paintings largely due to my own initial reaction to seeing them.  I realized that I found them strange. I am so used to seeing only white faces in European art, which obviously during a time of intense colonization was not representative of the makeup of the ever expanding European world. The erasure of racial diversity is so prevalent that their presence in our historical artifacts in startling.

To those who lived during the time of Casta paintings would have been more than surprising, they would have been upsetting. The colonizers worldview was motivated by a persistent goal of conversion and assimilation. There wasn’t any leniency in the us and them mentality. The possibility that new peoples could refine or teach the Spanish colonizers was not compatible with the pervasive sense of superiority that is imperative in order to justify imperialism.

The disdain for non-European, indigenous, black and multiracial peoples was so deeply ingrained that Spaniards feared that children who had been born simply in proximity to those not of Spanish descent might be somehow be tainted. This was seen as a dangerous idea in a culture that above many other issues valued “purity”. People are scared of what they don’t understand and the Spanish colonizers were so cloistered that they just could not comprehend an interracial society that not only functioned but flourished. To them it seemed like a recipe for corruption of a society that they viewed as superior to any other that could exist anywhere else in the world.

The only way Spanish colonizers could concede to having their pure Spanish society tarnished by “inferior” races was by perceiving foreigners as only existing in service positions.  This speaks to the way colonizers understood the societies they came across on their “adventures” as resources that could be used and exploited. Regardless of who had built the empire the Spanish colonizers laid claim to all the people, places and cultures they encountered.

I also see Casta paintings becoming a form of colonizer propaganda. By painting pictures of “exotic” peoples surrounded only by beautiful fauna, flora, smiles and sunshine imperialists could mask the pain they caused and portray a very rosy version of conquest. This could become more important especially as more authors and activists began to raise concerns surrounding the ethics of the colonialists activities.

Art speaks to the political and social climate in which the artist, subjects, and audience. The layers in these paintings fascinates me and I’d love to spend more time observing and studying them on my own time.


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