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The Role of Lucha Libre in the Construction of Mexican Male Identity

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1/05/2011
JournalNetworking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network
Journal number1
Volume4
Number of pages19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Lucha Libre has played an important role in Mexican culture since the late 1950s. The sport became famous mainly due to its masked wrestlers, who incorporated their own family traditions, beliefs and fears into the design of their masks, transforming an ordinary person into a fearless character.

After the introduction of the Monsters Cinema in the 1930s, Mexican audiences welcomed and adopted characters like Dracula, Nosferatu, Frankenstein and The Werewolf. The success of Monster Cinema in Mexican culture was based on the integration of national legends and beliefs, placing them in local and identifiable concepts in the Mexican popular imagination. Later, Lucha Libre Cinema mixed with Monster Cinema resulting in the birth of new heroes and myths.

These emergent paladins of the Mexican metropolis set the cultural and moral standards of that time and how Mexicans wanted to be perceived. Through an anthropological and historical analysis of Mexican Cinema and Lucha Libre, this
paper investigates the main social interaction of male wrestlers who perform as heroes inside the celluloid world and outside of it. We explore how masculinity and the male figure evolves in Lucha Libre Cinema, and the processes that wrestlers have to undergo in order to be able to portray themselves as superheroes of an evolving and fast growing Mexico.