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Date of Graduation
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of History
William Van Norman
The gendering of Cuba began during the power imbalance during the colonial era. Gender is an important way in which the relationship of Cuba to Spain, to the United States, and of 1959 Cuban revolution has been expressed. However, the practice of the United States gendering Cuba became commonplace after the end of the Spanish-American War. During this period Cuba was often portrayed in US popular culture as a gendered Orientalized other in ways that reflect what scholar Edward Said defined as Orientalism elsewhere. This will be defined later in the introduction. Gender intersected with racial ideologies in many of these caricatures. Cuba was often portrayed as weak, feminine, and black, while the United States was often portrayed as a strong white male figure protecting the weak island of Cuba. Later these stereotyped images of Cuba would become so prevalent that Cubans themselves would begin to portray their home and culture in this manner.
This period of increased U.S. influence in Cuba led to an era of Cuba being taken advantage of and was accompanied by US-driven caricatures of the island vis-à-vis their self-image. Soon this view of the island made its way back to the Cubans themselves, and during the early 1940s, during the presidency of Fulgencio Batista which lasted from 1940-1944, these warped images of the island began to make its way into Cuban imagery promoting tourism to Americans.
Wingfield, Matthew, "Cuba’s use of political imagery in creating societal gender norms: 1940-1980" (2020). Masters Theses, 2020-current. 29.