Public and Intimate Performances of Gendered Violence: HerStory of Feminicide in Ciudad Juárez


There is a city on the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border where over 3,000 girls and women have gone missing since 1993, and 913 women have been reported murdered since 2010. This city is Ciudad Juárez, the “sister city” of El Paso, Texas which, in the starkest contrast, has ranked as the fifth safest city in the U.S for a number of years. Between 2008 and 2010, Ciudad Juárez became an international headline. Reports about the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels fighting over trade corridor turf, rampant criminality, murder, and public displays of violence and torture made Ciudad Juárez the talk among all spheres of society. The public performance of excessive, unrestrained male violence and domination seduced the international media. This social performance reaffirmed, if not glorified, already existent notions of the Latin machista male in the Western imaginary and equally condoned the already existent gendered forms of violence against girls and women so prevalent in Ciudad Juárez. It is notable that, in the year 2010, the number of feminicides peaked significantly. Even so and ever since, the recurring and continued violence and forced disappearance of girls and women has continued and remains quiet and invisible. The feminized body was again forced to exist as another object of exchange, production, reproduction, and consumption caught in the middle of a war between two cartels over the frontier of the world’s most lucrative traffic of drugs and bodies, echoing a long history of colonization.

Laila Espinoza
Publication date: 
March 30, 2021
Publication type: 
Blog Entry