115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Mexican Lucha Libre's Masks: Transnational Symbols of Identity

Giannina Reyes Giardiello, University of Portland

This presentation will recount the importance of Lucha Libre´s masked wrestlers to analyze and explain its nowadays constant presence in the media of the United States and other countries; and how--at the same time--they have transformed into symbols of identity for young male immigrants, and social activists. 

Proposal: 

In 2010 " El Tabador," a little-masked luchador, became the mascot of Koodo, one of the largest Canadian cell phone companies. Since then, the character became so popular that the corporation decided to launch a weekly series with his adventures. Seeing this phenomenon, one could ask "What is a Mexican wrestler doing selling cell phones in Canada?” This is not an isolated episode, the Mexican Lucha Libre´s mask has left the ring, and it is not more a local symbol, but a global one. It is now so visible and relevant than in occasions replaces the stereotype of the “sombrero” as the cultural representation of Mexico and Mexicans. This image has also transformed into a transnational identity marker for some groups. In my presentation, I will recount the importance of Lucha Libre´s masked wrestlers to analyze and explain its nowadays constant presence in the media of the United States and other countries; and how--at the same time--they have transformed into symbols of identity for young male immigrants, and social activists.