How does Azuela approach concepts of masculinity and femininity in The Underdogs?
Azuela’s The Underdogs places most of its focus on having the male characters exhibit hyper-masculine traits throughout the book. Over the course of The Underdogs, we see examples of men having to make sacrifices without really struggling with them. For example, men are forced to leave their families in order to participate in the war. While this is certainly tough for the men, the book portrays them as being too focused on the revolution to lament about leaving their families. These were the men who were expected to fight in the revolution with extremely limited resources. This portrayal of the men frames them as extremely hyper-masculine due to the violent and aggressive tendencies they display in their enthusiasm for the revolution. In contrast, Azuela portrays women simply as feminine background and supporting characters. Azuela does not provide historical accuracy as far as the role of women in the revolution is concerned. Throughout the book, women were expected to cook and provide care to the men that were fighting in the revolution. Aside from War Paint, almost all of the women in this book were portrayed as weak. We can see this weakness in Camila’s personality. She was a very quiet girl who died before she was able to be fully developed as a character. Her only contribution was to bolster the character development of male characters such as Demetrio. Additionally, they were the subject of sexual violence by the Federals while the men were portrayed to be out fighting the war. This portrayal of female helplessness and insignificance is detrimental to the way we remember the large role they played in the Mexican Revolution.