The Feminicide Debate

Thanks to Alice Driver (frontera-listera) for sending this new article. I
would like to include my own commentary here since I’m quoted in the
article. It may have been true that in the case of the 400+ women killed
between 1993 and 2007, that most of their deaths had to do with their
gender…but as with most murder (and other crime) in Mexico, we really
don’t know because few of the cases are investigated. Of those cases, about
3/4 were determined to be some form of domestic violence and so there is
probably some kind of gender motive behind the killing, but contrary to the
quote from Sergio Gonzalez in the article, there is more to any
relationship than gender and even many domestic disputes that end in
violence against women also involve other motivations. In the same years,
more than 3,500 men were killed…  Since 2008, the percentage of the
victims who are women has averaged between 5 and 12 percent from year to
year. The overall average from 1993-present is about 8.7 percent of the
dead being women.**  And in terms of “being killed because they are women,”
that is not an adequate explanation.

I also think there is evidence that the emphasis on the 8-10 percent of the
victims of violence who are women does distort the reality of the violence.
As a librarian I search academic databases all the time. The other day, I
searched for articles on “violence and poverty and juarez” –this search
yielded very few studies. A search on just the terms “violence and Juarez”
yields several hundred articles and almost all of them are about violence
against women.

The majority of the female victims since 2008 have been killed in the same
circumstances as the men–shot down in the street, in cars, in their
homes–and many women appear to have been killed because of some
involvement in other criminal activity, mainly extortion and drug
dealing…not (in the words of Sergio Gonzalez in the article below) “… for
being women, and they are victims of  masculine violence because they are
women…”   Just a few days ago a case that was reported of two women
accused of kidnapping and murdering another woman. The victim was
apparently killed for taking over some of their retail drug-selling
business. Here is that link:

 Arrestan a dos mujeres acusadas de secuestrar y asesinar a otra

Las acusan de plagiar y asesinar a mujer

**Murders of Women in Juarez 1993-March 2012

1993-2007………………427 (3,538) – 12%

2008 ……………………….87   (1,623) – 5.3%

2009……………………….164 (2,754)—5.9%

2010 ………………………304 (3,622) – 8.3%

2011 …………………….. 196  (2,086) – 9.3%

2012 (as of March 31) ……….38  (309) – 12%

*Women………**…1,216 **( 13,932 total **victims)* – 8.7%

Women = 8.7 percent of total murder victims over the past 18 years

The Feminicide Debate



About virginiaisaad

Virginia is a journalist based in Los Angeles who's written for publications including Los Angeles magazine, Upworthy, and Elite Daily. She was born in Argentina and raised in the San Fernando Valley along with her three siblings. Fun fact: She took a Chicanas and Feminism course with Eva Longoria while studying for her master's in mass communication at California State University, Northridge. Follow her on Twitter @virginiaisaad

One thought on “The Feminicide Debate

  1. Thanks to Molly for her comments. The 18% or less figure was taken from Trama de una injusticia by Julia Monárrez Fragoso, although during most years the figures are much lower. I include the specific information you have mentioned in my dissertation (the percentages per year) though not in the article since it was a short piece. Feminicide is a term that includes domestic violence and that investigates the cultural and institutional policies that marginalize women and create the conditions for such violence. I think the use of the term is worth debating, and that it is useful for analyzing the causes of violence against women (and moving beyond the photos and discussion of physical violence). I am not arguing that all women who experience violence are victims of feminicide. It is hard to discuss the term since so little of anything is investigated in Juarez leaving a lot of unknowns.

    In the introduction to Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Américas editors Rosa Linda Fregoso and Cynthia Bejarano discuss the terms femicide and feminicide, and argue for the use of feminicide. They explain, “ In arguing for the use of the term feminicide over femicide, we draw from a feminist analytical perspective that interrupts essentialist notions of female identity that equate gender and biological sex and looks instead to the gendered nature of practices and behaviors, along with the performance of gender norms. As feminist thinkers have long contended, gender is a socially constructed category in which the performance of gender norms (rather than a natural biological essence) is what gives meaning to categories of the ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine.’ Instead of a scenario in which gender and sex necessarily concur, the concept of feminicide allows us to map the power dynamics and relations of gender, sexuality, race, and class underlying violence and, in so doing, shift the analytic focus to how gender norms, inequities, and power relationships increase women’s vulnerabilities to violence” (3-4).

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