The Weaponising of Women's Bodies in the Wars of Reform and French Intervention in Mexico, 1857–67

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Acts of violence in war not only have individual effects on bodies, but they also have a social, collective impact on the social body. While recent works have recovered the participation of women in the War for Independence and the 1910 Revolution in Mexico, the role their bodies played in wartime has not been examined. Focusing on the decade of war between 1857 and 1867, which influenced the consolidation of national sovereignty and identity, this article explores how, while women's bodies can be targets themselves, they also can be transformed into weapons aimed at other targets. Consequently, their bodies were ‘weaponised’ and aimed at: women as individuals punished for transgressions, real or imagined, of traditional gender roles; at men, to damage or destroy their masculine honour, their failure to protect their women and the integrity of their families; and last, the survival of their vision of the nation (either Liberal or Conservative), or even the honour and survival of the nation itself in the case of a foreign intervention. However, which bodies were targeted, and how, depended on the intersection of gender, class, race, ethnicity, political identity and nationality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-564
Number of pages18
JournalGender and History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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