Article published in:Transnational discourses of peripheral sexualities in the Hispanic world
Edited by Michael J. Horswell and Nuria Godón
[Journal of Language and Sexuality 5:2] 2016
► pp. 250–275
Kiss with a fist
The chola’s humor and humiliation in Bolivian lucha libre
Lucha libre, a form of exhibition wrestling, has recently gained popularity in Bolivia, thanks to mixed-gender matches featuring traditionally-dressed women known as the cholitas luchadoras. Within their matches, the act of kissing is often used as a form of humiliating an opponent. This article explores the convergence of eroticism and humiliation in these kisses as an entry point for a broader understanding of the deployment of power in the Bolivian context. Taking both the symbolic language of bodies in the ring and audience discourses about that action, I explore how associations between humiliation and demasculinization may reinforce the potency of masculinity as a position of power. Further, seeing the chola as representative of the Bolivian nation helps us to understand the ways that humiliation works as a recognizable trope for Bolivian audiences, lending import to these seemingly superficial performances.
Keywords: sexuality, humiliation, eroticism, lucha libre, indigeneity, chola, Bolivia, gender
Published online: 29 September 2016
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