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 Soldaderas: Traditions, Identities, and Race During the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 

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    Call them Superstars or call them super heroes, yes, woman soldier in which Mexicans call them Soldaderas. Previous history of opposite gender defending the homeland has gone down in history as successful and educational for other world countries which fight battle with women.

    Beside the heavy thing they carried on their back they had really nothing of value, just the rich traditions, culture and moral support in which during the revolution was a vital ingredient in a revolution victory which couldn’t have happened without the support of woman and the Soldaderas. Where Soldaderas women important in a war fought by men with male egos? Where there catastrophic reason to fight? What where some traditional roles? Could transgender women participated in a male’s war? Was race an issue or where women seen as one individual? These are topics I will be talking about through my paper.

    From 1910 to 1920 Mexicans were in the middle of a power struggle, a revolution in which 31 years of a brutal dictator Porfirio Díaz were fighting a civil war against rebel leaders and citizens of Mexico such as Francisco I. Madero, Pancho Villa, indigenous people and poor Mexican peasants from all walks of life, eventually Porfirio Díaz resigned and numerous leaders took over till 1920 when Lázaro Cárdenas was President of Mexico which ended the revolution with an offical cosultation for Mexico.

    The importance of Soldaderas during the revolution was in many ways very strategically tactic. Without the support of the average soldadera one must argue, could wars be relevant to victorious soldiers returning without women? Besides the comfort the cooking and the companionship soldaderas volunteered their bodies not only sexually, but physically taking arms to help fight for the cause. Authors like Andres Resendez Fuentes States “Maderistas and Orozquistas may have lacked soldaderas but they did count on female soldiers. Indeed for the first two years of the revolution the images of the female soldier captured the public’s imagination

    There wasn’t a shortage of male fighter but through history the pictures and the stories and even folk songs about soldaderas seems to become very popular position at that time period. Many of the women where not really fighter but following a cause in which they hope they could benefit from. Others took this opportunity to show their male counterpart women are equally as stronger than men. Fuentes states” Soldaderas flocked to the army above all because there was a need for them. Many soldaderas joined or had no choice because they were married to a soldier,they were poor and in some case looking for love

    Depending in which area Soldaderas came from during the revolution many Soldaderas took part just not domestic help but in crucial opportunities for women. The journal article Soldaderas:New Questions, New Sources by Elizabeth Salas provides evidence that woman views and voices were important in values to many Soldaderas. Elizabeth Salas states “For example, tent 1 of the Revolutionary Women’s Law emphasizes war rights, with the statement that women “have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle in a way determined by their desire and ability,’’ yet tenet 7 emphasizes gender rights, with the statement that women have the right to choose their partner and are not to be forced into marriage.

    In the mexican culture women where the boss of the household while the husband worked and brought home the important provision for the family. Arguably things didn’t change when the thousands of Soldaderas went to fight and provide the important essentials for the many soldier that were off at war. Women where walking housewifes holding a pan on one side for cooking and a rifle on the other to ready to fight side by side with there fellow mexicanos. Andres Resendez Fuentes states “ Immediately dona Juanita, the mother of the revolutionary leader, took charge of the logistic of the operations. She organized a squad for the purpose of obtaining food and ammunition and “exercised authority in all administrative affairs.”

    Women on the battlefield and there Identities as women and only warmer seen by two different groups of people. Some saw these groups of thousand of ladies a burden in battle and around the male soldiers claiming that they were just a distraction. In the different regions of Mexico where Soldaderas took part of in the revolution campaign, rebel leader arguably dislike the presence of women in a mans war. Author Elena Poniatowska states “ The women’s murder wasn’t enough to calm Villa rage. Some of his local partisans, fearing that the Carrancista soldaderas might denounce them, asked him to kill the women, Villa ordered the execution of the ninety female prisoners. However, you can arguably say not all other rebel leaders of the revolution did like the presents of Soldaderas.

    Other rebel leader praised the efforts and contribution in which many soldaderas performed there duty as a women and a patoirit. Author Elena Poniatowska states “When General Zapata found out that the Carrancistas were in Chilpancingo, he told the women that he would take them himself. He took off his general uniform, put on cotton trousers and escorted them unarmed. He gave orders to his soildiers: “Stay Behind. Nobody goes with me. I want to show the Carrancistas that I fight for the revolution, not to take possession of their women,”

    On the hand General Zapata and other rebel leader realized the it’s crucial to sustain a good relationship with women during times of battle. People argue that women are just not his wives, but supports, that fight, cook, listen, feel, and love their fellow men in arms. Andres Resendez Fuentes states “Pedro Martinez recalls the harshness of army life without soldaderas. After a grueling battle in the district of Milpa Alta Zapatista men had to beg for tortillas and coffee in neighboring houses. From his account it becomes clear that the ineffectiveness of Zapatista forces outside Morelos arose largely from the lack of camp followers.

    History shows that when a country is in the middle of a war the affects families, environment and economy crumbles the protection for citizens disappear and the rise of crime rises. How does the relate to women? Soldaderas are not only soldiers there women there easy prey for men when women have no protection from community authority.. Fuentes states “ Fifteen-years old Angela fearing further retaliations decided to put on men’s clothes and follow her father to the sierra. Sometime concealing one’s identity saves lives which concealing is the best medicine for survival.

    Harsh consequence leads to desperate measure who felt threatened, however others joined for mental and physical reasons. In a society where men are the male authoritarian and while women stayed home cooked, clean and were religious. The thought of a transgender person never crossed their mind. One such argument is the transition to sweet and sower life. Author Sofia Ruiz-Alfaro states “ It was out of the question to even conceive, within the heteronormative and homophobic world of postrevolutionary Mexico, the female masculinity-one that threatened not only the submissive role expected from women in general, but also the emergence of the Mexican macho-could also translate into something more forbidden, unimaginable, and unspeakable at the time: female homosexuality.

    Did women really come out during the Mexican revolution with the intentions of being a man and taking the Soldaderas title thinking people wouldn’t expect that they were actually a woman that walked like a man, talk like a man and dressed like a man and even have sexual relationship with women? What made this phenomena a reality in a very heavily Catholic society in which homosexuality was forbid and a sinful. Stephanie Slaughter “states The Mexican Revolution allowed a unique destabilization of gender categories with the active participation of women no longer restricted to the role of the wife and mother in the private “feminine” sphere of the home.

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     Soldaderas: Traditions, Identities, and Race During the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 . (2022, Jun 23). Retrieved from

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