(Re)Living Femicide through Social Control: The Regulation of Life and Bodies through Fear and (In)Formal Social Control

Cynthia Bejarano (New Mexico State University)

Abstract

The aim of this article is to analyze how violence and femicides have created a regime of gendered social control including the regulation of women’s bodies in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Hyper-vigilant forms of social control permeate popular culture, which is heavily influenced by the patriarchal hegemonic state. The State’s discursive and local practices work to impact and shape quotidian life and movement for girls and women across Chihuahua. Formal and informal legal and social systems also regulate and control female bodies, thereby generating a categorical scale of social control for women and girls that include: femicide as ‘denigrated body;’ activist mother as ‘denouncing body’; anti-feminicide activist as ‘disruptive body’; and finally, State as site of the production of ‘docile’ bodies. This article explores how the rhetoric of fear of femicide adds to an already normalized landscape of sexualized and gendered violence. This work also utilizes Richard Lawrence Miller’s framework of the ‘Chain of Destruction,’ which describes mass violence through five phases: identification, isolation, ostracism, confiscation, and annihilation. Miller’s framework offers an analytical framework for understanding the regulation and control of bodies.

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