Femme Frontera

By Adriana Monsalve

Femme Frontera is an immersive photographic project that documents the lives of female identifying individuals in the South Texas region of the United States and Mexico border. I made this project in a complicated and tangled location, as the female identity is often a crossroads. We can take on the form of a myriad of representations at different points in our lives or all at the same time, and we can continue to identify as “Female.”

Contemporary debate is at a place where we are taking agency for ourselves and questioning non-binary gender identities, as well as roles, and lifestyles. These questions are welcome in safe spaces and suffocated in the open. The border region of South Texas creates space for dialogue simply because of the intersection of identities crashing together in this tumultuous space. The border holds extremes in tight quarters, forming a duplicity of identity and a tension with surroundings. There are levels to the calamities faced when living, growing, and changing on the United States / Mexico border.

The intersection of race, ethnicity, class, status, and gender are forced together here. Individuals are disappearing from their own countries to find safety in another. But through that journey there is a sort of a parallel with a meeting place in the middle. The in-between allows us to take up more space and claim more of us at the same time. This is female. This is what it looks like, this is what it feels like, this is who we are.

These images are part of a long-term project that begins to demystify the nuances of the female gender identity. It explores a circular scope of female identity.