Las Cholitas- female wrestling in La Paz
Being in La Paz, there was just no way of not visiting the wrestling Cholitas. I will never forget this experience. In comparison to the American wrestling events, I followed being a little child, this was definitely more brutal.
Reading an article in the GEO magazine about South America I got to know the female Bolivian wrestling version.
I also made my personal experience with the Cholitas. Here are some impressions of the first fight:
Photo 1: The judge (male) announces the upcoming fight of the cholitas
Photo 2: Awaiting the opponent
Photo 3: Little child under the wrestling ring of las cholitas
Photo 4: Kick to the groins
Photo 5: Hit in the face
Photo 6: Las cholitas flying
Photo 7: The judge ends the fight of the Cholitas
The wrestling of the Cholitas is a very popular entertainment in Bolivia. As you can see here and on my webpage, it is especially very popular among children. Those even try to imitate the fights and sometimes get a bit too ambitious outside the ring..
The whole event can be described as following from my personal experience. Being a fan of the soccer club TSV 1860 München definitely made me choosing this event over a Glosgow vs Bayern München game, which took place on the same evening. Everybody in the hostel I stayed went crazy about soccer. Being a true fan of the TSV, there was no possibility of feeling any commitment or sympathy for the FC Bayern München. Just ask any supporter of the club and you will get a professional explanation. Anyways not being so fancy about soccer in general, I of course chose this event over the soccer game.
RTL, a popular TV broadcaster in Germany asked me to give an interview of the event. RTL tends to cut the information you give them the way it pleases them and in the end you might be appearing saying something really stupid on television. I just asked them, that according to their revenues, which were 2012 six billion Euros, they could at least pay my ticket. They refused, so did I to give an interview. Later on they came back and insisted on making an interview and began actually going on my nerves.
So I had to give them a very short and sophisticated answer that they will never be broadcasted:
“Please draw an analogy to Geertz’s analysis of the cock fights on Bali”
For further information please have a look at:
Geertz, one of the founding fathers of ethnology analyses the role of the cock fights on Bali and draw analogies to the Balinese society. Maybe Bolivian wrestling is not as old as the Balinese cock fights and institutionalized, but the mere look upon it as an event without any deeper meaning is maybe not be enough. The mere fact that Bolivia is the poorest country in South America does not make it easier for women to achieve anything in society. It reflects their strong will and hard fighting will to survive the all day. Apart from working as a so called Cholita on the market and selling fruits, maybe there is only a call center for the more educated (although Bolivia is probably not famous for call centers), or whatever other form of tough labor for the less educated as realistic option. Those women are real heroes. The pain and struggling they go through with wrestling is for a western mind probably not really understandable and is far more than just performing a few simple tricks. In how far can there be any deeper conclusions drawn?
Photo 8: Saying goodbye
Finally all came to an end and I kind of felt sad saying “Adios”. I guess I will never see you again but I will keep you in my heart.