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Malinchism (Spanish: malinchismo) or malinchist (Spanish: malinchista) is a form of attraction that the foreigner has in the popular imagination, causing individuals to lose the spirit of nationality by moving to the other side, a particular case of cultural cringe.[1] It is derived from the name of Hernán Cortés's Nahua advisor La Malinche, referring to a deep-rooted Mexican inferiority complex or self-hatred for the preference for all things foreign to the point of self-destruction.[2] La Malinche is used as a symbol for being supposed to have assisted the Spaniards in destroying Native Americans' way of life, values, norms and culture and exploit the Native American peoples.

"Malinchism" is a pejorative label, 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 national culture. It also applies to politics, as in El Salvador, in which the leftist political parties call their opponents "malinchist right-wing". The myth of Malinche and the force of this feeling of disgust crossed the Mexican border, and malinchism came to be applied as a technical term, political, for giving preference to foreign cultures.[3]

It has been 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 sold mostly on the middle class market, and their advertising agencies generally avoid working class and rural areas. They concentrate their efforts on Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara, which purchase 70 percent of the American imports.[4]

Malinchism is also associated with a societal depiction of women as the source of betrayal and nefarious behavior.[5] In the images of 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 she 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 all of her people and her children to suffer.[6] She is represented in art as a figure showing women's inborn deception and guilt — one who used her sexuality and in so doing betrayed her own unwitting children.[7] 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 the mixed-race child who rejects her.[8] In literature, Malinche has been compared to Eve, the temptress who through deception, leads men astray.[9]


  1. ^ LEMOS, M. T. T. B. (Org.), DANTAS, Alexis Toribio (Org.), América: Visões e Versões - Identidades em confronto, ed. 7 Letras, 1st edn., Rio, 2010, p. 86
  2. ^ Butler 2004, p. 83.
  3. ^ LEMOS, M. T. T. B. (Org.), DANTAS, Alexis Toribio (Org.), América: Visões e Versões - Identidades em confronto, ed. 7 Letras, 1st edn., Rio, 2010, p. 86
  4. ^ 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+
  5. ^ Schneider, Julia Maria (2010). "Recreating the Image of Women in Mexico: A Genealogy of Resistance in Mexican Narrative Set During the Revolution" (PDF). Graduate Faculty - Thesis. Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College: 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-17. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  6. ^ Day, Stuart A. (2004). Staging Politics in Mexico: The Road to Neoliberalism. Lewisburg [Pa.]: Bucknell University Press. pp. 125–131. ISBN 0-8387-5587-9. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  7. ^ Lindauer, Margaret A. (1999). Devouring Frida: The Art History and Popular Celebrity of Frida Kahlo. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan Univ. Press. p. 34. ISBN 0-8195-6347-1. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  8. ^ Seed, edited by Patricia (2008). José Limón and La Malinche: The Dancer and the Dance (1st ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 24–29. ISBN 978-0-292-71735-0. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  9. ^ Cypess, Sandra Messinger (1991). La Malinche in Mexican literature from history to myth (1st ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-75131-1. Retrieved 16 February 2015.