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Tatar, Bradley
Division of General Studies
Research Interests
  • Human ecology


Hombres Bravos, Mujeres Bravas: Gender and Violence in the Mexican Corrido

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Hombres Bravos, Mujeres Bravas: Gender and Violence in the Mexican Corrido
Other Titles
코리도 노래에 표현된 젠더와 폭력에 관한 연구
Tatar, Bradley
Issue Date
라틴아메리카연구, v.23, no.4, pp.83 - 117
This article examines the construction of meaning in episodes of violence which have come to dominate Mexican popular music, focusing on the story-telling song called the corrido. Although scholars have considered the multiple meanings of violence in the narrative songs, they have not given adequate attention to the character of the mujer brava, or “tough woman”. I begin by considering gender roles and codes of honor which historically developed in northern Mexico, in the region of the U.S./Mexico border. Next, the expression of machismo and marianismo as cultural patterns in popular corridos is illustrated and explained. Finally, the mujer brava is contrasted with the traditional conception of the submissive woman, as this character is aggressive and defends her honor against threats from men. The argument is developed that the mujer brava is not simply a woman who acts like a man, but who defends her honor with distinctly female forms of destructive power. Finally, I apply these insights to the appearance of the “mujer brava” in several narcocorridos. In these selected narcocorridos, the destructive power of a woman is used as a representation of the serrano or ranchero culture, in which gendered norms of honor and respect are considered to be more important than laws and political institutions. I argue that an understanding of gender norms helps to reveal the meanings of Mexico’s narco-insurgency, especially shedding light on why drug smuggling and drug-related culture are not deemed unethical by the audiences who enjoy narcocorridos.
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