Suarez Findlay 's Work, Imposing Decency : The Politics Of Sexuality And Race

1911 Words Nov 18th, 2016 8 Pages
In Eileen J. Suarez Findlay’s work, Imposing Decency: The Politics of Sexuality and Race in Puerto Rico, 1870-1920, Findlay offers a nuanced and compassionate discussion of the relationships between people of Puerto Rico and the meanings inscribed upon those relationships. Findlay is able to achieve this through her use of a wide range of types of sources, her careful insistence on breaking apart binaries, and her use of “discourse” in her methodology and analysis, which allows for a rich look at Puerto Rican culture in the colonial context. Throughout the book, Findlay draws connection between themes of honor, morality, family structure, surveillance, and social and political activism. She is able to draw these connections because she has access to primary sources that supply evidence of overlap that actually occurred during this time period. In Chapter One, “Respectable Ponce: Deciphering the Codes of Power, 1855-1898,” Findlay introduces the theme of “honor” and “decency.” Decency was particularly salient for women as a status symbol and marker of worth. While there were a few ways that women gained and maintained “decency,” virginity was central to a woman’s social standing. Findlay explains that, “[a] family’s honor hinged on its women’s sexual reputations” and therefore ordered social life. Findlay also explores “honor” for men and how they were able to gain it through protecting “their” women, providing financially, and sexually conquering other women. Findlay also…

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