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“Tales Told Out on the Borderlands: Doña María’s Story, Oral History, and Issues of Gender.”. Berisso. Along the Rio De Plata About 70,000 people as of 1980 Immigrants seeking work Strong connection to Peronism 96 day strike in the summer of 1945

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berisso
Berisso

Along the Rio De Plata

About 70,000 people as of 1980

Immigrants seeking work

Strong connection to Peronism

96 day strike in the summer of 1945

la cuna del Geronimo (the cradle of Peronism)

armour and swift meatpacking plants
Armour and Swift meatpacking plants

Large scale plants with top technology

Employed 20,000 people in 1944

Declined following Peron’s downfall in 1955

dona marie roldan
Dona Marie Roldan
  • Italian father
  • Moved to Berisso in 1931, mother of three
  • Found work in 1944 in the Swift plant
  • Quickly became shop steward for her section of work
  • Participated in Unionization process of plants and quickly became involved in Peronist movement
  • Great orator-spoke in the Plaza De Mayo in 1945
  • Met with Eva and Juan Peron many times
her opinion on mother hood
Her opinion on Mother-hood
  • Raising children properly is a social and national priority
  • Rational for union and political struggle
  • Generalized into a guiding principle
  • “The home is the place where the great national principles are nourished. . . . The home is the very image of the nation, the stronghold of the fatherland, where mothers sing to their children of the hope of a better world, in the home the invincible force is the woman, it is the woman who with her silent sacrifice entrusts the blood of her blood, her children, for the defense of national sovereignty. She is the people confronted with any state that persecutes, terrorizes, and kills.”
  • Appeared to fit the prototype of a Peronist woman
private public sphere
Private/ Public Sphere

Why after ten years did she decide to enter the workforce?

She needed the money

She has always had a rebellious streak and a strong sense of fighting for justice-The Personist regime encouraged her style of acvtivism

role as a rebel
Role as a Rebel
  • Once I stopped in front of a foreman, this was when we had already come to believe in unions and we could defend ourselves better, this foreman said to a woman, "Senora, you're useless," when I saw that the woman didn't say anything I said to him, "This woman has a husband and she is a wife and mother of a family, what right do you have to call her useless?" "Well, she doesn't know how to work," he said to me. "Have the decency, senor jefe, to call her aside and explain to her what is happening, not insult her in front of everyone, remember that you were born of a woman, not from a plant, or weren't you born of a woman?" I said to him, the impulsive one they called me, yes, Iaimpulsiva, because I shouted in their faces. Where does he get off telling her in front of all her compañeras that she is useless? The woman stayed there, like someone who had killed another person, like a condemned woman. I said to her, "Lift your head up, querida, you're not useless, you just arrived and haven't adapted yet, you'll soon work like us." This was when we already had the right to speak [yateníamosIapalabra], we had the union to defend us, when we knew that we weren't going to go into the streets for answering back, because they would have grabbed me by the hair and thrown me out twenty times a day otherwise, because as a steward I assumed the responsibility of defending my compañeras.
role as a rebel1
Role as a Rebel

"Colonel, I feel wounded many times when my husband on election day says, the people have voted, and I say to him no the people didn't vote, half the people voted, because a woman is a citizen.”

She defines herself as a rebel through her actions

Seen as uppity, impulsive and intrusive

reality of gender in peronism
Reality of Gender in Peronism

Legitimized women having strong roles in public sphere

Gradual line between the two spheres

Women’s roles redefined according to what was deemed appropriate

Political activity was to be derived from feminine characteristics

Men’s roles were masculine

her story as being masculine
Her story as being masculine
  • Based on her story, she filled a very masculine role in the realm of work and politics
  • Meatpacking-harsh and dirty work
  • “do you know what it is like to try and cut frozen meat with a knife?”
  • Leader within the Union
  • Met with top male leaders
  • Respected by those that she led
  • Cipriano Reyes’ story has been glorified in a way very similar to Dona Marie’s story.
  • Women workers mythified as masculine contrary to myth of them as being maternal and nuturing
  • Her work outside the home not liberating, but a necessity
slide11

“On the contrary, I was accepted to such an extent that shop stewards came to ask me questions to clear up problems. For example: "María, what do you think, there is a worker who did such and such, what should I do, shall I take action, because he arrived late and every time he comes he gets mad"; "now leave it alone, at work you don't argue, later outside tell him to come to the union and we'll all talk about it for a while." . . . No I got on fine, they liked me a lot, I have no complaints.”

self representation
Self-Representation

She is not a model of women

Women create their own narratives that do not fit into a single ideology

They may fill any number of roles

“the importance of narrative as an ordering, sense-making device at both collective and individual levels”