Rosas Mexicanas: An analysis of the circulation of flowers and vendors in Mexico City
by Beatriz Herrera
I plan to focus my final project on women flower vendors in Mexico City, learning about the how the vendors survive selling flowers, and comparing that to ephemeral and aesthetic nature of the products they sell. Vendors are often shunned from city centers, edged out, have their wares tossed or are even arrested by local authorities, because of their economic status, gender, and the informal nature of their work. No matter how close they are in proximity to urban centers, they are de-centralized and “peripherized,” even if their peddled products are coveted, they themselves are either overlooked or harassed. By contrast, flowers are esteem, valued and play an important role in Mexican society. They color Mexico City’s dusty, concrete landscape and play a vital role in cultural events with both religious and secular significance.
Vendors, as informal workers on the street, have insider knowledge about how spaces are utilized and how people participate in these spaces from their unique, ground level, perspective. Often they are able to predict important shifts in local politics and policies because they are the first to feel their impacts. I imagine that the vendors in Mexico City will have a sense of how people move about the city, changes in their environment, neighborhood gossip, success or failure of local businesses and municipal policy, because they work on streets every day. I want to know this part of Mexico City.
I hope to connect with vendors in key places, including Xochimilco, Mercado Jamaica, Condesa and perhaps Coyoacan and San Angel. I am interested in learning about how flowers vendors sell differently in different spaces, and which types of people purchase what flowers where and why. I will visit Xochimilco and its gardens. I know that the boats in Xochimilco were decorated with flowers in years past, while now they are painted in bright colors. I hope to interview people who sell flowers at the Mercado Jamaica and compare their experiences with those who sell in the streets of Condesa. I hope to interview and also shadow women who visit indoor restaurants and nightclubs, and those that sell flowers by sitting on the ground, waiting to be approached. I might also have some conversation with male flower vendors to understand how the experience of women vendors may be different from theirs. All of this is an attempt to get an overall sense of what its like to sell flowers in Mexico City.
Mercado de Jamaica
Pink Governmentality: Space, Gender, and Politics of Pink in Mexico City
By Ariana Faye Allensworth
This project will use Sistema de Transporte Colectivo (STC) and CDMX pink governmentality as an entry point into examining the spatial and affective dimensions of gender privilege in Mexico City.
For many women commuters, the STC is experienced as a site of street harassment, a form of sexual harassment characterized by unwanted comments and gestures in public spaces. A permanent fixture of the STC are women’s only cars which operate during rush hour. In addition, the city government launched pink women’s only buses and taxis in 2000 to create safe spaces for women to travel without harassment above ground. Pink has also been spatialized in other aspects of Mexico City life. The city government has taken on a campaign to rebrand Mexico City, CDMX. Most commonly colored rosa Mexicano, walk through present day Mexico and you can see it reproduced on nearly all official communications, taxis, and municipal sites.
Using these two political projects as guide, I will explore the the locally specific ways in which the color pink is spatialized, experienced, and politicized in Mexico City with specific attention to its role in shaping public discourses on sexuality and gender liberalism. To understand the dynamic ways in which these political projects are perceived, experienced, and contested, I will conduct field interviews with commuters, taxi drivers, government officials, and arts activists who are leading efforts to resist street harassment and the restriction of women’s access to public spaces in their communities (interviewees include Hijas de Violencia, INMUJERES, Calle Sin Acoso, Habitajes, among others).
Drawing upon the intellectual traditions of radical and feminist geographers, this project seeks to cognitively map the city from a gendered standpoint. These experiences can complicate and add nuance to popular sites that might often be prescribed as places of unhindered mobility in mainstream guides, maps, and narratives about Mexico City.