Soldaderas & Spaces of Resistance

In performing varied and necessary work for the armies, soldaderas occupied what Steve Pile calls a “space of resistance” in which they rejected the dualism of wholly gendered spaces. A space of resistance is a location that is multiple places at once, is ever-changing, and that challenges and even permeates the borders created and maintained by “the powerful” to separate their “spaces of purification and exclusion” from those they oppress.[1] This mirrors Foucault’s concept of heterotopias, real countersites to utopias that are “capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces,” are characterized by the deviants who inhabit them, and possess a “system of opening and closing that both isolates them and makes them penetrable.”[2] I include Pile’s definition, however, because it explicitly connects the spaces occupied by soldaderas to the resistance of oppressive structures. Soldaderas challenged the positivist notions of “acceptable” work and spaces that women could perform and occupy and thus created a space of resistance or heterotopia within the armies of the Mexican Revolution.

[1] Steve Pile and Michael Kieth, Geographies of Resistance, (London: Routledge, 1997), 16.

[2] Michel Foucault, trans. Jay Miskowiec, “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias,” (presentation, March 1967), 5, 6, 7.