Malinchism (Spanish: malinchismo) or malinchist (Spanish: malinchista) is a form of attraction that a person from one culture develops for another culture, a particular case of cultural cringe. It is derived from the name of Hernán Cortés's Nahua advisor La Malinche, referring to a deep-rooted Mexican inferiority complex. La Malinche is used as a symbol for those who assisted Spaniards in destroying indigenous Americans' way of life and culture.
"Malinchism" is a pejorative, expressing disdain for those who are attracted by foreign values, thinking them superior, of better quality and worthy of imitation. In Mexico and in other countries the term "malinchism" or "malinchist" applies to all those who feel an attraction to foreign cultures and disregard for their own culture. It also applies to politics, as in El Salvador, in which leftist political parties call their opponents "malinchist right-wing". The myth of Malinche came to be applied as a technical term for giving preference to foreign cultures.
Ueltschy and Ryans argued that upper-class consumers in Mexico display malinchism in their preference for American imports, rather than local Mexican brands. As result, American products are popular in middle class markets, and their advertisers generally avoid working class and rural areas. They concentrate their efforts on urban Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara, which purchase 70 percent of American imports.
Malinchism is also associated with the depiction of women as a source of betrayal and nefarious behavior. In Mexican popular culture, this theme plays out with Malinche often portrayed as both the deceiver and the deceived. In theatrical productions, she is sometimes portrayed as a victim of conquest, and sometimes the manufacturer of her own destiny. Almost always, Malinche is portrayed as guilty, in a form of victim blaming. If a woman was indeed forced to help the conquistadors against her will, it was because she didn't struggle enough; if she was a willing participant, she not only brought her own troubles, but she caused her people and her children to suffer. She is represented in art as a figure showing women's inborn deception and guilt — one who used her sexuality and betrayed her children. Even in dance, the dichotomy persists. In La Malinche, a ballet composed in 1949, by José Limón, Malinche is at first an unwilling victim, then assumes the proud deportment of an aristocrat, and in the end, weighted down by the finery she wears, she gives birth to a mixed-race child who rejects her. In literature, Malinche has been compared to Eve, the temptress who through deception, leads men astray.
- Lemos & Dantas 2010, p. 86.
- Butler 2004, p. 83.
- Linda Ueltschy, and John K. Ryans, Jr., "Employing standardized promotion strategies in Mexico: the impact of language and cultural differences," International Executive (July 1997) 39#4 pp 479+
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