Gender in Mayan Communities

Even within a community where men and women both continue to wear traditional styles of clothing, these styles are different and reflect the sexual division of labor. There are only a few villages where men continue to wear traditional clothing, and oftentimes they continue to do so to demonstrate their pride in being Mayan. By far, villages where men and women both continue to wear traditional styles of clothing, such as Todos Santos Cuchumatan, San Juan Atitan, and Santiago Atitlan, are exceptions to the rule. Men of these villages are instantly recognizeable because of their distinctive clothing styles.

 

This man's shirt is from the Mam-speaking community of San Juan Atitan. Colorful embroidery and brocade on homemade fabric make this shirt particularly distinctive. Also, the body of the shirt is made of one piece of fabric, with a V-neck, and is open under the arms rather than down the front like Western-style shirts. Men of this village typically wear loose white pants and straw hats with these shirts.


This shirt, pants, and tzute are typical clothing for a man from San Miguel Chicaj. All three pieces are decorated with brocade.