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Breaking Silences and Revealing Ghosts: Spectral Moments of Gendered Violence in Mexico (pp. 22-40; DOI: 10.23692/iMex.16.2)

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Prof. Dr. Amanda Petersen

Amanda L. Petersen, PhD, is Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Spanish Section at the University of San Diego in California, affiliated faculty of the Latin American Studies and Women and Gender Studies Programs, and a member of the UC-Mexicanista Professional International Research group. A specialist in Latin American women authors, her research interests center on the difficulty of representing gender and violence in contemporary Mexican narratives. Her lines of investigation include spectrality, gender, visual culture, and border studies. Petersen is the co-editor of Espectros: Ghostly Hauntings in Contemporary Transhispanic Narratives (Bucknell UP) with Alberto Ribas-Casasayas and of the forthcoming María Luisa Puga: El espacio de la reconstrucción (UAM) with Patricia Tovar and Alejandro Puga. Her research has appeared in edited volumes and peer-reviewed journals such as Chasqui, Literatura Mexicana, and Letras femeninas.


This paper examines recent discourse around gender violence in social media protests in Mexico and a short story collection that anthologizes representations of gender violence in short stories by Mexican women authors as part of a greater genre of anti-feminicide cultural production. I focus my analysis on the hashtag campaigns #MiPrimerAcoso and #SiMeMatan and the microcuento collection ¡Basta! 100 mujeres en contra la violencia de género (Edición mexicana 2014) as ghostly discourses that create a space for breaking the silence of sexual and gendered violence. In these hashtags and micro short stories, I find spectral moments that allow for one to read the stories of gender violence that have been silenced through the discounting of women’s voices and of the recounting of violence against perpetrated against them. The ghostly discourse reveals many representations of gendered violence that resist patriarchal and stereotypical depictions and the haunting presence of those who have gone missing or been murdered for those who remain. These texts uncover the institutional and societal refusal to recognize victims as well as the impunity surrounding gender violence and feminicide. My analysis reveals how the effects of violence are depicted on female bodies in texts that are especially provocative from the perspective of ghostly discourse of gendered violence.


Este artículo examina el discurso reciente sobre la violencia de género en movimientos hashtag en México y una antología de microcuentos sobre la violencia de género por autoras mexicanas como parte de la producción cultural antifeminicidista. Enfoco el análisis en el discurso espectral que es creado por el silenciamiento de las experiencias de violencia de género que se manifiestan en las campañas hashtag #MiPrimerAcoso y #SiMeMatan y de la colección de microcuentos ¡Basta! 100 mujeres en contra la violencia de género (Edición mexicana 2014). Tal discurso revela lo que ha sido callado históricamente y crea un espacio para romper el silencio alrededor de la violencia sexual y de género. En estas campañas hashtag y microcuentos se encuentran momentos espectrales que permiten que salgan a la luz historias de violencia de género que han sido descontadas y disminuidas. El discurso espectral revela muchas representaciones de violencia de género que resisten recrear versiones patriarcales o estereotípicas y la presencia espectral de aquellas que han desaparecido o muerto para los que se quedan. Estos textos destapan el fracaso institucional y sistemático en reconocer tanto a las víctimas como la impunidad de la violencia de género y el feminicidio. Mi análisis revela cómo los impactos de violencia se presentan en cuerpos femeninos en textos que resultan ser particularmente provocadores desde la perspectiva del discurso espectral de la violencia de género.