Bolivian Wrestling

Photo: Ivan Kashinsky - see more at NatGeo gallery

Forget WWE and Mexico's lucha libre ... the real wrestling action is in Bolivia. Here's a neat article by Alma Guillermoprieto for the National Geographic Magazine about the cholitas luchadoras or fighting Bolivian beauties:

Like many of the women of Aymara descent in the audience, Yolanda and Claudina are dressed to the nines in the traditional fashion of the Andean highlands: shiny skirts over layers of petticoats, embroidered shawls pinned with filigreed jewelry, bowler hats. Their costumes glisten in the spotlights while they make a regal progress around the bleachers, greeting their public with the genteel smiles of princesses, twirling and waving gracefully until the music stops.

That's the sign for the two women to swing themselves deftly onto the wrestling ring that has been the focus of this afternoon's activity. Swiftly they remove their hats, unpin their shawls, and ... whap, whap, whap! Claudina belts Yolanda one, Yolanda slaps Claudina, Claudina tries to escape, but Yolanda grabs Claudina by her pigtails and spins her around, and WHAM! Claudina whirls through the air, petticoats and braids flying, and lands flat on her back on the mat, gasping like a fish. The audience goes nuts.

Link - Thanks Marilyn!

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Honestly, this strikes me as some sort of unusual, traditionalized fetishism. But I'm an American. We think everything is a strange fetishism.
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