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The Zapotec Women of Southern Oaxaca

By David Johanssen

The city of Tehuantepec, the heart of the Zapotec culture, has a reputation for being a “matriarchal society.” The artist Diego Rivera portrayed the women as goddesses in his magnificent murals in Mexico City, and his wife Frida Kahlo popularized the Tehuana look among high classes of Mexican society. Since the time of the Spanish conquistadors, the Tehuana women have dominated the markets in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and fascinated early travelers with their fiery nature and seductive dresses. The Tehuana women share a strong work ethic and fierce independent streak rooted in Zapotec culture. These qualities have resulted not only in powerful women, but also in the region’s progressive politics, manifested in their unusual tolerance of alternative gender roles.

Live Concert
“Chansons pour notre ville “
Fri, Jan 16, 7pm
120 pesos
Documentary and Discussion
Blossoms of Fire
Tue, Jan 20, 3pm
40 pesos
Live Music
Open Mic
Tue, Jan 20, 7:30pm
30 pesos (includes drink)

All events at:
Shelter Theater
Vicente Guerrero 4
154 7524

Join us for a discussion on the Zapotec women of Tehuantepec on Tuesday, January 20, at 3pm as Shelter presents the documentary Blossoms of Fire. This film shows the Zapotecs in all their brightly colored, opinionated glory as they run their own businesses, embroider their signature fiery blossoms on clothing, and comment with angry humor on articles in the foreign press that inaccurately depict them as a promiscuous matriarchy. 40 pesos.

Friday, January 16, at 7pm, “Chansons pour notre ville.” Don’t miss this live concert of passionate French ballads performed by Pascal Monziea and Jaime Minino. French is the language of love; join us for some of the most famous French love songs. 120 pesos.

Join us every Tuesday at 7:30pm for the Open Mic. It’s always a great show with a different line up of amateurs and professionals week by week. Come get your ten minutes of fame, you can do anything you want as long as you are absolutely riveting. 30 pesos (includes drink).

Shelter Theater is part of the Shelter VG4 Cultural Center, located at Vicente Guerrero 4, a 10-minute walk from the Jardín. We have the biggest screen in Centro. Telephone 154 7524 or visit to see upcoming films, and events. Taxi concierge service available to/from “Teatro Shelter.”


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