There are common stereotypes that Mexican families have strong conservative traditions when it comes to dating. One common stereotype is dating within one’s culture.
It may have been like this a long time ago specifically for our grandparents and great-grandparents during a time where things were more traditional, and the world wasn’t so modern. As a 22 year-old Latina I can say first hand that things have changed tremendously, at least for my family. Times have changed and my parents have coped with things they were not used to when they were my age. I constantly hear from my parents how strict it was when they were growing up.
When love and culture clash:
It all comes down to your family, and how easy they are on coping with traditional change. If a family is really close to their rural Mexican roots, they will have their own set of customs such as going out in a group, instead of alone with the date. For example, in Mexico, one common expectation is getting the father’s approval since he is the head of the household. For women, the guidelines are more strict because the father is letting their little girl go off with another man.
Debora Hernandez, a senior at the University of California, Riverside stated, “As an individual you always want to please your parents and make them proud, but I have always been very independent and moved to the beat of my own drum.”
Victoria Servin, an editorial-translator intern for Latinitas and Linguistics and Translation student at the University of Texas at El Paso, explains how she followed her mother’s wishes, “Personally I didn’t want a boyfriend in high school so it didn’t really bother me too much. I never really felt the need to rebel against my parents and I didn’t do it out of spite, I guess I just agreed.”
In Mexico, your family is your biggest dating pressure.
Essentially, you are not only dating the man/woman, but you are dating the family; almost becoming part of the family in which they expect you to hold conservative values. Another common conception is that girls are not officially allowed to date until they turn 15, the age they become a woman and have the option to have a quinceañera.
When asked about dating in high school at a young age, Victoria Servin stated, “My mother didn’t want me to have a boyfriends because she didn’t want me to fall under the hispanic teen pregnancy statistic. She wanted me to go to school, or travel, she didn’t want me to date anyone.”
Today the Mexican-American culture is really not much different from other cultures in the U.S. Like all concerned parents, my parents did have some influence over who I dated. They wanted to meet them and learn more about them, rather than “I’m going out with so and so.” And questions most parents ask, “Where did you meet him?” “What does he study?” “How old is he?” etc.
On the other hand, some parents are less eager to want to meet every person their daughter dates. Servin comments, ”Most mexican moms want to know who you go out with, my mom doesn’t want to meet anyone; I think it’s because no matter who I date, it’s not going to be good enough.”
Today, women are also seen as more independent and as the breadwinners of the house. Melissa Garcia, a graduate from the University of California, Riverside states, “I think my parents main concern is that I date someone that can support me, but as a 2012 Latina, that is not needed anymore. I think I am capable of fending for myself.”
We all have different experiences especially since we all come from different backgrounds. What are yours?