By Jan L. Flora, Professor Edelberto Torres-Rivas (eds.)

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The sexual repression of women by aristocratic moral and legal norms placed them in a vulnerable position. The assumed higher moral nature of women as they got older and less attractive sexually, the perceived willingness of women to suffer (after all, their husbands frequently engage in sexual exploits with other women, over which they have no power), and the sole responsibility of women for childrearing and for the household, all contribute to women gaining power within the realm of the household.

Patriarchy and Gender Patriarchy was closely associated with the landed estate. Variations in kinship and family structure were primarily functions of social class. The landholding aristocratic family was characterized by its large size, stability over time, structural complexity, high degree of solidarity and multiplicity of functions. In colonial times, patria potestas, which derived from the legal norms of Las Siete Partidas promulgated in Spain under Alfonso X, was practised in the New World and shaped the culture of the landed aristocracy.

Another mechanism was the cidula de gracias al sacar, literally a "document of thanksgiving for being pulled up". According to King, cited in Willems, its purpose was "to compensate individual merits among the subjects of color, to drain the possible leader force from the colored masses by creating ... partisans grateful to the Crown who added to the white minority and undermined the pretensions of the criollo aristocracy". This mechanism, which defused much dissent, was used widely in the eighteenth century.

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