Bolivia’s cholitas luchadoras first began practicing their craft in the early 2000’s when a group of women in El Alto created a group of luchadoras inspired by Mexico’s lucha libre style of wrestling. This group was partly for recreation and entertainment, but also as a way for women who had suffered domestic abuse to take out their frustration and stress. And they haven’t looked back from there, headlining events and even taking on their male counterparts in the ring.
Following many years of ethnic oppression since the Spanish colonised the region, the Cholitas are breaking into new realms. Rather than confining themselves to vending fruit on the roadside, they are working as lawyers, doctors, and even professional wrestlers. Cholitas have long had a history of activism, leading several successful political movements over the decades. When they have an issue with the state, be it healthcare, schooling, or security, they mobilise and demonstrate.
Their fight in the ring becomes a dramatisation of that day to day struggle, as they successfully strive ahead in what is an otherwise male dominated sport. Much like their climbing compatriots in my project, they do all this while still adorned in their traditional Aymara dress.