Destabilizing notions of feminicide victimhood : disposable lives and “ungrievable deaths” of sex workers and women related to narcos in Zacatecas, Mexico
In the past ten years, Zacatecas, Mexico, has witnessed high incidents of gendered and narco violence. Women (of all ages), but especially sex workers and women that hold relationships with narcos have been the silent target of this femicidal violence. Their cases, however, have not received the attention of the femicides of those who are read as morally acceptable victims and have rendered their lives disposable. In my work, I argue that sex workers and women related to narcos destabilize the notions of victimhood and constitute the de-legitimated victims of feminicide. Their lives and bodies, as I found in interviews and ethnographic work with their family members and archival research in local newspapers, are represented by both the society and the state as not normatively human and not deserving of justice. This case study highlights the intertwinement of gendered and narco violence that is often disassociated. Through a feminist approach to studying violence, I show the ways in which the feminicides and deaths of certain women and girls are silenced, covered up, and even justified by their position in society. I contend that their feminicides are seen as authorized, and thus, these women are re-victimized even after death. My work contributes to broadening the spectrum of femicidal victimhood, its effects on impunity, and the efforts to combat feminicides and violence against all women.