Crossings: Swarthmore Undergraduate Feminist Research Journal


The mystification and subsequent reduction of La Malinche in Mexican national discourse presents a problem in which patriarchy and colonialism bind the native Mexican women into two archetypes: either traditional or treacherous. Historical accounts have fallen short of describing the woman behind the myth of La Malinche, further compartmentalizing her into a traitor to her people. Scholars such as Octavio Paz and Gloria Anzaldúa have illustrated her subjugation and erasure, highlighting this binary. This paper, however, considers a postcolonialist perspective to analyze La Malinche's story as one of erasure; particularly the ways that language was used by the Spanish Crown to weaponize, bridge, and convert the woman behind La Malinche. As such, postcolonialist scholar Sankaran Krishna offers the theoretical framework needed to revisit and revitalize the story of La Malinche. Through the postcolonialist lens, one can draw connections between the dangers of traditional Mexican discourse and gendered violence present in Mexico today. La Malinche thus serves as a springboard for further discussions on the weaponization of language towards the contemporary Mexican woman.