Using ethnographic and interview data with a sample of Mexican immigrant mothers and their adolescent daughters in the Midwest, this study examines the values, fears, and expectations mothers had with respect to the sexual lives of their U.S.-born and/or raised daughters. Compared to their own experiences growing up in Mexico, immigrant mothers perceived the United States as a place of greater risk for their daughters. In that context, cuídate (take care of yourself) and seguir adelante (get ahead in life) emerged as two important socialization values. Mothers used cuídate as a global ethic attached to all aspects of their daughters' lives, from menstrual hygiene to safe sex. This was a way for mothers to send a message without being too explicit. Their U.S.-raised daughters had a different perception of these messages. Daughters felt that their mothers' messages were elusive. Furthermore, interviews with daughters suggest a level of frustration and anger at the vagueness of their mothers' messages about sex and sexuality. This research contributes to documenting the gendered world of immigrant mothers and daughters with respect to sexual identity and sexuality, as they negotiate both generational and cultural differences.

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