"We were curious about going to the summit. Why women couldn't go too?"
December 17, 2019 8:17 PM   Subscribe

"Cholitas Escaladoras" summit Aconcagua and make history for Indigenous women. "Ana Lia Gonzales Magueno and Elena Quispe Tincuta became the first Aymara women to summit Aconcagua (6962m) in late January with the help of a guide. The two climbers are part of a group of Indigenous women nicknamed the "Cholitas Escaladoras" from El Alto, Bolivia." The women wore traditional indigenous clothing for their summit and their trek was filmed by a Spanish film crew for a documentary.

The word Cholita means many different things in the different regional dialects of Spanish-speaking countries, but here it refers to Indigenous women in Bolivia from the Aymara (also spelled Aimara) and Quechua people.
posted by primalux (5 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I also meant to include this link in the more inside, but it's fine here as a comment too
posted by primalux at 8:20 PM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

It looks like the doc is making the film festival rounds. I hope to be able to see it soon!
posted by loriginedumonde at 8:45 PM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

For context:

Cholos/Aymaras are the majority culture in Bolivia, but highly discriminated against.

There was a recent military coup against Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, letting loose a bloody backlash by white middle and upper class bolivians against the indian majority, including multiple murders by the army, the ripping off of their flag, the Wiphala, from uniforms and burning it, the de-facto president performing ridiculous exorcisms of the evil indian gods in the presidential office, etc.

Back in the '90s, before Morales' presidency, I was in Bolivia and there was a minor scandal because the (white) president's chola wife, who wore the traditional clothes, was made to step out of line at a bank and let the white customers cut ahead of her. The scandal was that they didn't recognize her as first lady, but the deeper meaning was the generalized discrimination against cholos/as as second-class citizens, including the obligatory 'they all look alike to me'.

The fact that the climbers wore traditional dress is very significant: these are not costumes, not something worn once a year or to impress tourists, these are their everyday clothes, worn with pride and a sense of identity. Wearing them to climb Aconcagua is not a stunt, not a dress-up, it's climbing the mountain as themselves.
posted by signal at 7:42 AM on December 18, 2019 [8 favorites]

Thank you for adding that context, signal.
posted by primalux at 10:00 AM on December 18, 2019

A bit more context: This was just posted today on National Geographic's Website: "Celebrating the everyday lives of a Bolivian indigenous group.
Known for their bowler hats and full skirts, the Aymara of Bolivia want people to see beyond folkloric stereotypes."
posted by primalux at 2:39 PM on December 19, 2019

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