Paul Patrick Borhaug

Photographer
      
Feminist Wrestling in Bolivia
Location: Oslo, Norway
Nationality: Norwegian
Biography: Paul Patrick Borhaug  is a photographer and writer from Norway, who primarily works on environmental, political and cultural issues. His images has been published by National Geographic, The New York Times, United Nations , Huffington Post,... MORE
Public Story
Feminist Wrestling in Bolivia
Copyright Paul Patrick Borhaug 2023
Date of Work Mar 2017 - Mar 2017
Updated Mar 2019

Every Sunday in El Alto, a suburb of La Paz, indigenous Aymara women dressed in bowler hats, braided hair, jewellery and traditional clothing come to wrestle male opponents. They are the Cholita wrestlers.

Bolivia is the country in Latin-America with the highest level of gender-based violence. Studies have shown that up to 70% of the female population have experienced gender-based violence of some sort. In a country where machismo culture is so rampant, the Cholita wrestlers have become national icons for Bolivia´s women.

The Cholitas are fighting back and have inspired women across  Bolivia to follow their lead - not only in the ring, but through political protests where they demand an end to the gender-based violence. 

While Cholitas have long been discriminated and looked down upon in Bolivian society, their role in society has taken a dramatic turn for the better recently. Their traditional clothing have become fashion, their small businesses and cooperatives have become an integral part of Bolivian economy, and many Cholitas now combine their traditional life with higher education and careers - something which was unheard of only 10 years ago.

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Feminist Wrestling in Bolivia  by Paul Patrick Borhaug
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