Enforced Heteronormative Socio-Cultural Structures in Garage Olimpo and "Cambio de armas"

Document Type

Conference Paper in Published Proceedings


Languages, Literatures, and International Studies

Publication Date

Summer 2013


In Argentina, before and during the Proceso (1976-1983), fear and terror were used as weapons to control the populace and wage war against supposed subversives. The 1999 film Garage Olimpo, by Marco Bechis, and Luisa Valenzuela’s short story, “Cambio de armas” (written in 1977, published in 1982), attempt to make sense of this epoch through visual and textual means. I argue that male antagonists force female protagonists to enact strict gender roles that uphold a heteronormative socio-cultural structure. In both texts, heterosexual cultural norms are defined and enforced by males within the authoritarian hierarchy. In particular, power is maintained and gender roles are enforced by captors who feign “normalcy;” by spies who monitor the women’s actions; and by a system that perpetuates the illusion of control by those in power.