Women's social roles in the memories of Ruth Escobar and Leonor Xavier


The gender debate features in the lives and works of Ruth Escobar and Leonor Xavier, Portuguese women who renewed their views on the social roles of women after immigrating to Brazil in the 20th century. Ruth Escobar (1935-2017) at age 16, settled with her mother in São Paulo, and was an actress, theater producer, politician, and feminist. Leonor Xavier (1943-2021) immigrated with her husband and children in 1975-1987 to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where she became a writer and journalist for media outlets in Brazil and Portugal. A content analysis of their autobiographies Maria Ruth and Casas contadas allows us to approach them as examples of "mediating intellectuals" for new perspectives on women’s social roles. In dealing with the intellectual trajectory and adherence to feminism of relevant Luso-Brazilian intellectuals, the importance of emigration for both of them is evident in the rupture with a masculine and conservative legacy, and their participation in the reflection on gender.