Nicola Ókin Frioli’s series of portraits entitled ‘We are Princesses in a Land of Machos’ (2004) represents the muxes of Juchitán, who occupy the non-binary gender position identifying as neither men nor women. Through analysing these images, this paper explains how still photography represents and contains alternative understandings and expressions of gender. Ókin Frioli’s photographs are a visual marker of how the muxe phenomenon relates to notions of femininity, in a context where local Zapotec cultural legacies allow for different expressions of gender than elsewhere in Mexico. Informed by Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, such a viewpoint allows for framing representations of non-binary gender identities as a challenge to identitarian perspectives, and for examining gender as a mecha- nism of oppression.
By Dominika Gasiorowski, 2018