Carolyn Criado Perez: Feminist Role Model

Feminist Role Model (Caroline Criado Perez)


The last one hundred years have witnessed some of the most important social transformations on the subject of gender equality. For centuries, women have had to play second fiddle to men, society was primarily patriarchal and paid no interest in the rights of women. The male domination was informed by gender roles assigned to each sex, women were and continue to suffer the consequence of this domination

Gender roles refer to imposed social roles that dictate a range of behavior and attitudes considered to be acceptable by society. As such, the patriarchal society created these expectations and used the sex of an individual as the primary basis of dictating societal expectations. In a patriarchal society, males dominate women by holding the primary power including engaging actively in political leadership, dictating morals and morality, males hold social privilege and retain ownership of property.  As a result of this domination, women are viewed as second-class citizens whose rights and needs are considered after all the needs of men have been satisfied.

As a consequence of this male domination, the rights of women have been abused in almost every sphere of life, the effects of this domination that has lasted for centuries continues to inhibit the development of women. The situation is so bad that a century after the agitation of women began women are yet to enjoy equal rights to men.


Feminist Role Model (Carolyn Perez)

The female perspective is a critical element in the continued development of the human race. However, these critical perspectives have been constantly neglected throughout cultures due to the prevalence of patriarchy; and the Dominican culture is no exception to this rule.

Born and brought up in a Dominican family, Carolyn Perez experienced the wrath of a patriarchal family and patriarchal society first hand. The Dominican culture is synonymous with the machismo culture. Machismo refers to the sense of being manly and self-reliant, it is associated with the pride of masculinity. The machismo culture dictates the gender roles of the man and woman in the Dominican culture. The role of a man is to provide for and protect his family while women are tasked with being caretakers of the home. The machismo culture dictates that a man must be a Machista which translates to being as male as possible. On the other hand, in the machismo culture women are compared to flowers; beautiful but weak hence they need protection from a man. It is for this reason that women are tasked with handling household chores because women’s hearts are weaker and are too emotional to be involved in any substantive action.

The patriarchal machismo Dominican culture is so elaborate that it dictates and limits every sphere of the life of women. Women are oppressed economically, politically, socially and psychologically. This continues to happen even though we are living in the 21st century. The only escape for Dominican woman like my role model is through excelling in education securing a good job that provides a steady source of income.

Having been brought up in a patriarchal setting, Carolyn Perez experienced machismo first hand from a very tender age. Being a girl in a Dominican family is no easy task, gender roles are dictated from a very young age. These roles include imposed societal expectations that are taught first hand by mothers. In this setting mothers are bound to set an example of what is expected of a woman. As such, Carolyn was introduced to societal limitations placed on females by the mother. This begins by being given simple tasks in the kitchen and within the home setting. Carolyn was taught that the place of a woman was in the home and that she was responsible for ensuring the cleanliness of the house, while her brothers were allowed to spend their free time playing in the lawn.

This situation is quite gutting and can be hard to understand for a young girl. It is not until later in life that girls appreciate the fact that their mums did not intend to cultivate the patriarchal culture but were innocently trying to teach their daughters the value of responsibility. However, this is not an excuse for the continued practice of machismo.

Carolyn’s mother took notice of the psychological torture that young Carolyn was going through and sort to alleviate her pain by explaining the situation to her. Tears are rolling down her face, Carolyn’s mother narrated her life ordeal in the hands of Machismo and had Carolyn promise that she would work hard in her studies because it was her only guaranteed escape from the male-dominated culture. This experience was life-changing for Carolyn.

Armed with the understanding bestowed on her by her mother, Carolyn set out to conquer the world while helping her mother with chores around the house. Faced with failure, Carolyne understood that failure was not an option, and in the end, she managed to graduate with a law degree. The decision to attend law school was informed by many situations. However, one of the most significant situations is when Carolyne witnessed a neighbor physically abuse his wife and got away with it, credit to the Machismo culture. Her graduation from Law school is the proudest moment of her life; pictures from her graduation party are a testament to this, the joy and pride stand out in the faces of her parents.

Since her graduation, Carolyn’s law practice revolves around fighting for the rights of women. She is the voice of the voiceless women trapped in abusive relationships and marriages; she is the advocate of women subjected to gender bias at the workplace, she stands tall and mighty protecting women from unwanted sexual advances.

Carolyn’s commitment to championing for the rights of women is admirable, being a product of a broken cultural system, Carolyn understands the plight of women first hand; having witnessed women struggles caused by societal norms, traditional gender roles expectations, a patriarchal oriented society and a culture based belief system.

Being a product of the broken system, the success of Carolyn is evidence that women can get over societal imposed limitations by maintaining the virtues of grace, dignity, and courage. Girls trapped in patriarchal families and societies should hold these virtues dear to their hearts and if need be protect them with their lives. Girls cannot afford to falter even in the face of failure, because faltering translates to the male domination culture reigning supreme. Instead, girls should focus on using every stumbling block as a stepping stone. Most importantly, the girl child needs to remember that the situations they find themselves in are not permanent and that they have the chance to alleviate their pain by working hard in school or in their desired field of expertise to attain independence.


Women need to understand that men are comfortable with the current status quo because they are not the ones being oppressed. As such, it is the responsibility of all women to be there for each other, being there for each other is not equals to offering a shoulder to cry on but offering shoulders to stand on. The meaning of this extends to women striving to empower each other.

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