Women See Two Sides to Gender Roles in Their Immigrant Families

The video above, from Feet in 2 Worlds, presents a series of interviews with women who came to the United States as young children or young adults with their families. How did gender roles play out in their families after they arrived in the United States, and how did American perceptions of gender roles trigger changes in their own lives?

Its producer, New School graduate student María Teresa Alzuru, was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to the United States at the age of 5. She grew up immersed in American food and culture, with American friends.

However, Alzuru hit a point where she began to question her identity as a native Venezuelan growing up in the United States.

Somewhere along the way I developed an identity crisis. Thanks to my light skin, all my peers considered me to be “white” and said to me, “you’re Hispanic, but you’re not really Hispanic.” To which I thought ‘what exactly am I then?’

It wasn’t until high school, when the Hispanic population in Athens, Georgia began to grow and diversify, that I started to identify with my Venezuelan heritage. With my new Hispanic friends I learned how to dance salsa and merengue and found I could actually talk about my cultural traditions in a way they understood perfectly. A new life began where I felt a deep connection to my native Venezuela.

Tapping into this idea of straddling different cultures, Alzuru pursued a documentary project in which she would talk to immigrant women from around the world “about how they grapple with their identity as a result of living among two or three cultures.”

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