Mexican women’s emotions to resist gender stereotypes in rural tourism work

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Understandings of emotions and their role in ordering social life has been a fruitful feminist contribution to cultural and social studies. Under this theoretical perspective, affective or emotional responses illustrate women’s strategies to cope with or resist productive and spatial limitations produced by traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Since the 2000s, tourism and gender researchers have turned their attention to emotions, although their intersection of gender stereotypes in rural tourism has been limited. We rely on Ahmed’s framework on emotions and other theoretical contributions on socio-cultural spaces, embodied emotions, affective practices and gendered work to investigate gender roles, stereotypes and tourism productive and spatial relations in Mexican rural contexts. This context shed light on roles and gender stereotypes and their connections with the affective spatial practices experienced by women. A total of 49 Mexican women were interviewed from 2015 to 2018. Qualitative content analysis is employed to examine interview data, using inductive and deductive approaches. In addition, non-participant observation, document review, and field notes enrich and complement the interview data. Emotions are shown to mediate women’s lived experiences of gendered rural tourism work and the potential of emotional responses to contest social norms in opening new paths to surpass women’s relatively weaker positions in rural societies and to negotiate inequalities. Women continue to experience contradictory messages and tensions generated in both the family and the community, even with the growth in gender mainstreaming strategies; we propose a framework to contest traditional gender roles and to improve women’s affective spatial practices in rural contexts.

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