La Adelita

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Depiction of «adelitas», or Soldaderas, of the Mexican revolution.
See also: Soldaderas

"La Adelita" is one of the most famous corridos (folk songs) of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) that has been adapted in various forms. This particular version of the ballad (which is also shown in the form of a portrait) was inspired by a Durangan woman (whose identity has not been yet established beyond doubt) who joined the Maderista movement (the revolutionary party led by Francisco I. Madero) at an early stage of the Revolution, and supposedly fell in love with Madero, her revolutionary leader. Consequently, this popular icon became the source that documented the role of women in the Mexican Revolution, and gradually became synonymous with the term soldadera or female soldier who became a vital force in the revolutionary war efforts due to their participation in the battles against Mexican government forces.[1]

Today, it is argued that Adelita came to be an archetype of a woman warrior in Mexico and a symbol of action and inspiration. Additionally, her name is used to refer to any woman who struggles and fights for her rights. However, the song, the portrait, and the role of its subject have been given different, often conflicting, interpretations. Some of these argue that “La Adelita" expressed the sensitivity and vulnerability of [army] men, emphasizing the stoicism of the rebellious male soldier as he confront[ed] the prospect of death."[2] Similarly, other interpretations of this icon (this time analyzed by the feminist scholar María Herrara-Sobek) argue that “Adelita’s bravery and revolutionary spirit are lost to the fatalism and insecurities of male soldiers who […] focused on passion, love and desire as they face[d] combat.”[3] Overall, “La Adelita” is a composition that stages gender relations within their interrelated subjectivities. Nevertheless, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the problematic identity of the female soldier Adelita, work from various feminist scholars such as Jane Elshtain, Cynthia Enloe and Madeleine Albright must be used as guidelines, which will provide a better insight into the dynamic participation of women during the Mexican Revolution.

A Feminist Perspective into "La Adelita"[edit]

Jane Elshtain’s “Women and War,” “probes war by juxtaposing conventional and unconventional perspectives on what is done, said, and claimed in and around war.”[4] While men are illustrated as the conductors and heroes of the war, “women are deemed too beautiful, soft and motherly to be anything other than receivers of warrior tales.”[5] Elshtain then proceeds to refute this masculine, heroic conception of military men, “by showing us the women in war and the men who prefer not to be there. […] Some of the women she cites are fierce, others are modest, and many are at the unexpected intersections of warrior-beauty sites.”[6] La Adelita proves to be one of those rare mixes of power, bravery and irresistible beauty.

At the same time, however, the portrayal of Adelita is extremely provocative and hyper-sexualized in order to allude to military compounds and, like Enloe argues on her article “Bananas, Beaches and Bases,” “expose how relations between governments depend not only on capital and weaponry, but also on the control of women as symbols, consumers, workers and emotional comforters.”[7] In the topic of women and war, Enloe also argues that women were only added to the military scene in order to preserve men’s morale, even though “military training equates women with a destructive softness.“[8]

Similarly, Madeleine Albright’s TED talk “On Being a Woman and Diplomat,”[9] emphasizes on the importance that is given to women’s physical appearance instead of their political involvement, or in Adelita’s case, her involvement in the Mexican Revolution. Throughout the TED talk, Albright expresses discontent with the manner in which both her opponents and the general public have been approaching her looks and ignoring her political attempts to promote gender equality, making it almost impossible to be taken seriously as a diplomat. Likewise, Adelita’s image shows a young, beautiful, exotic woman dressed in provocative clothes, drawing more attention to her appearance and thus, underlying the subordination of women, machismo (manliness) and sexism, instead of corroborating the importance of women’s participation during the Mexican Revolution.

Overall, although “La Adelita” was created to remind people of women’s involvement in the Mexican Revolution, most historians have ignored the active role of Mexican women during that time and instead, Adelita has become a hyper-sexualized, patriotic icon that in distinct ways, manages to remind both Mexican men and women about the Mexican Revolution.

Lyrics[edit]

The music of this particular version of "La Adelita" was stolen (without greater changes as a main theme of whole picture) by Isaak Osipovich Dunayevsky, who wrote the songs for one of the best known soviet comedies (circus 1936 film) (Russian: tsirk). The Soviet composer and plagiarist never mentioned the origins of his song.

En lo alto de la abrupta serranía
acampado se encontraba un regimiento
y una moza que valiente los seguía
locamente enamorada del sargento.

On the heights of a steep mountain range
a regiment was encamped,
and a young woman bravely follows them,
madly in love with the sergeant.

Popular entre la tropa era Adelita
la mujer que el sargento idolatraba
que ademas de ser valiente era bonita
que hasta el mismo coronel la respetaba.

Popular among the troop was Adelita,
the woman that the sergeant idolized,
and besides being brave she was pretty,
so that even the colonel respected her.

Y se oía, que decía, aquel que tanto la quería:

Y si Adelita se fuera con otro
la seguiría por tierra y por mar
si por mar en un buque de guerra
si por tierra en un tren militar.

And it was heard that the one who loved her so much said:

If Adelita were to leave with another man,
I'd follow her by land and sea—
if by sea, in a warship;
if by land, in a military train.

Y si Adelita quisiera ser mi esposa
y si Adelita ya fuera mi mujer
le compraría un vestido de seda
para llevarla a bailar al cuartel.

If Adelita would like to be my wife,
if Adelita would be my woman,
I'd buy her a silk dress
to take her to the barrack's dance.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arrizón, Alicia (1998). "Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution" 42. MIT Press. pp. 90–112. 
  2. ^ Arrizón, Alicia (1998). "Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution" 42. MIT Press. p. 91. 
  3. ^ Arrizón, Alicia (1998). "Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution" 42. MIT Press. p. 91. 
  4. ^ Sylvester, Christine (2002). "Introducing Elshtain, Enloe, and Tickner: Looking at Key Feminist Efforts Before Journeying On". Feminist International Relations: 18–50. 
  5. ^ Sylvester, Christine (2002). "Introducing Elshtain, Enloe, and Tickner: Looking at Key Feminist Efforts Before Journeying On". Feminist International Relations: 18. 
  6. ^ Sylvester, Christine (2002). "Introducing Elshtain, Enloe, and Tickner: Looking at Key Feminist Efforts Before Journeying On". Feminist International Relations: 19. 
  7. ^ Sylvester, Christine (2002). "Introducing Elshtain, Enloe, and Tickner: Looking at Key Feminist Efforts Before Journeying On". Feminist International Relations: 29. 
  8. ^ Sylvester, Christine (2002). "Introducing Elshtain, Enloe, and Tickner: Looking at Key Feminist Efforts Before Journeying On". Feminist International Relations: 35. 
  9. ^ Albright, Madeline. "On Being a Woman and Diplomat". 

Alicia Arrizón, “Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution,” MIT Press, 1998, Vol. 42, 90-112.

Christine Sylvester, “Introducing Elshtain, Enloe, and Tickner: Looking at Key Feminist Efforts Before Journeying On,” Feminist International Relations (2002): 18-50.

Madeleine Albright, TED Talk “On Being a Woman and Diplomat,” http://www.ted.com/talks/madeleine_albright_on_being_a_woman_and_a_diplomat.html

External links[edit]