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In Mexican culture, Malinchism (Spanish: malinchismo) is a pejorative term for a preference for all things foreign to the point of self destruction in a attempt to fit in with people with a different agenda than you and wish to exploit you and steal your resources. Malinchism expresses the 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/malinchist applies to all those who feel an attraction to foreign cultures and disregard for their own national culture. It also applies to politics, to explain the option for the foreign, 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 everything that meant choosing foreign culture.[1]

The term derives from the name of Hernán Cortés's Nahua mistress La Malinche. La Malinche is widely considered to have assisted the Spaniards in destroying Native Americans way of life, values, norms and culture and exploit the Native American peoples.[2]

Malinchism is also associated with a societal depiction of women as the source of betrayal and nefarious behavior.[3] 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, but almost always, Malinche is guilty. If she was indeed violated, 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] In literature, Malinche has been compared to Eve, the temptress who through deception, leads men astray.[7] Malinchismo represents one end of the spectrum of stereotypes of women in the Mexican gender system, while Marianismo, with the specific cultural preference for the Virgin of Guadalupe, resides at the opposite end of the stereotypical spectrum.[8]


  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. ^ Matthew Butler (17 June 2004). Popular Piety and Political Identity in Mexico's Cristero Rebellion: Michoacán, 1927-29. Oxford University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-19-726298-6. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  3. ^ 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. p. 6. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Seed, edited by Patricia (2008). José Limón and La Malinche: The Dancer and the Dance (1st ed. ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 24–29. ISBN 978-0-292-71735-0. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Cypess, Sandra Messinger (1991). La Malinche in Mexican literature from history to myth (1st ed. ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-75131-1. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Schneider (2010), pp 31-33