Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Mariano Azuela's Los de abajo: Patriarchal Masculinity and Mexican Gender Regimes under Fire

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2010), 87, (6), 645–666.

Abstract

Mariano Azuela's Los de abajo has long been recognized as the quintessential novel of the Mexican Revolution. Its subject matter and its numerous machista characters have frequently been read as signs of a masculinist narrative discourse. Reading against the grain, this essay provides a detailed gendered reading that argues that Los de abajo is open to other interpretations. Drawing on Connell's theory of gender as a structure of social practice and hooks' account of patriarchal masculinity, the novel is interpreted in this article as a critique of patriarchal masculinity and of three patriarchal gender regimes: the Huertista army, the Villista revolutionary troop and Demetrio's family. Each gender regime is represented in the novel as both destructive and self-destructive. At the same time, this essay argues that although Connell's theory provides a workable model for interpreting literary representations of Latin American masculinities, her typology of masculinities needs to be extended to include 'patriarchal masculinity' and 'feminist masculinity'. In addition, the theoretical framework requires the incorporation of a concept coined in this study: 'patriarchal affect'.

Desde hace años, se reconoce Los de abajo de Mariano Azuela como la novela por antonomasia de la Revolución Mexicana. Con frecuencia su temática y sus personajes machistas se han interpretado como signos de un discurso narrativo masculinista. En contra de la tradición crítica vigente, este ensayo ofrece una lectura nueva detallada y feminista para demostrar que Los de abajo se puede interpretar de forma distinta. A partir de la teoría del género como estructura de prácticas sociales de Connell y también de las ideas de hooks sobre la masculinidad patriarcal, en este artículo se analiza y presenta esta novela como una reflexión crítica sobre la masculinidad patriarcal y sobre tres regímenes de género: el ejército Huertista, la tropa revolucionaria Villista y la familia de Demetrio. Cada régimen de género se representa en la novela como destructivo y autodestructivo. Al mismo tiempo, este ensayo demuestra que, aunque la teoría de Connell nos ofrece un modelo válido para la interpretación de las representaciones literarias de las masculinidades latinoamericanas, es imperativo extender su tipología de masculinidades para incluir 'la masculinidad patriarcal' y 'la masculinidad feminista'. Por añadidura, el marco intelectual requiere la incorporación de un concepto nuevo, acuñado en este trabajo: 'el afecto patriarcal'.

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Harris, Chris