Revolution and women did not mix well, at least in the eyes of most leaders of the insurrection that swept Mexico in 1910-17. Moreover, common wisdom suggested that armies were no place for the “gentler sex” and hence the two kinds of women that did accompany men to the battleground–female soldiers and soldaderas–were generally regarded as marginal to the fighting and extraordinary, or strange, in character.
Female soldiers received much notice in the press and arts during the revolution and in its aftermath. They were portrayed as fearless women dressed in men's garb flaunting cartridge belts across the chest and a Mauser rifle on one shoulder. But they were invariably shown in the guise of curiosities, aberrations brought about by the revolution. Soldaderas received their share of attention too. They were depicted as loyal, self-sacrificing companions to the soldiers or, in less sympathetic renderings, as enslaved camp followers: “the loyalty of the soldier's wife is more akin to that of a dog to its master than to that of an intelligent woman to her mate.” But even laudatory journalistic accounts, corridos, and novels did not concede soldaderas a prominent role in the revolutionary process, much less in the success of the military campaigns.