Moler: a way of doing or a way of being?







Creative Commons Licence

Contributed date

June 26, 2019 - 2:45pm

Critical Commentary

Making tortillas (moler, in Spanish) with firewood is fundamental for women’s lives. It is not just something they do; it constitutes who they are. Knowing how to make a tortilla with firewood is what makes you a woman. Normally, women learn how to do it at ages between 10 or 15. When I asked what happens if you don’t know how to make tortillas, the women replied: “You have to learn”; “Making tortillas is the law”; “You learn; there is no other way”; “You need to know how to make tortillas. If a woman wants to get married and she doesn’t know how to do it, then her punishment comes: they [her husband and in-laws] are not going to treat her like a queen.” Martina, a 58-year-old woman, told me that when she got married by arrangement at the age of 14, her father-in-law used to hit her in the hands with a stick whenever she messed up the tortillas. He told her: “You have to learn because you are a woman, not a man.” 


This audio was recorded on March 11, 2018 during an  ethnographic experience. 



Cite as

Emilia Ruvalcaba de la Garza, "Moler: a way of doing or a way of being?", contributed by Emilia Ruvalcaba de la Garza, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 26 August 2019, accessed 5 October 2022.