Volume 1, Issue 1, 2021
Elva Orozco Mendoza
On Hearing the Daughters’ Call
Feminicide, Freedom, and Maternal Collective Action in Northern Mexico
This article offers an interpretation of anti-feminicide maternal activism as political in northern Mexico by analyzing it alongside Hannah Arendt’s concepts of freedom, natality, and the child in The Human Condition. While feminist theorists often debate whether maternalism strengthens or undermines women’s political participation, the author offers an unconventional interpretation of Arendt’s categories to illustrate that the meaning and practice of maternalism radically changes through the public performance of motherhood. While Arendt does not seem the best candidate to navigate this debate, her concepts of freedom and the child provide a productive perspective to rethink the relationship between maternalism and citizenship. In making this claim, this article challenges feminist political theories that depict motherhood as the chief source of women’s subordination. In the case of northern Mexico, anti-feminicide maternal activism illustrates how the political is also a personal endeavor, thereby complementing the famous feminist motto.