As Commodified Life

At the heart of these seemingly disparate story lines is the crafting of the Mexican woman as a figure whose value can be extracted from her, whether it be in the form of her virtue, her organs, or her efficiency on the production floor. And once ‘they’ – her murderers or her supervisors – ‘get what they want from’ her, she is discarded.

Melissa Wright, “The Dialectics of Still Life: Murder, Women, and Maquiladoras,” in Women and Migration in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands: A Reader, Denise A. Segura and Patricia Zavella, Eds., (London: Duke University Press, 2007) 199.

The concept of the disposable culminates as the female maquiladora worker, in her entirety, inevitably becomes disposable, in terms of her unstable employment, the control over the female maquiladora worker’s sexuality (workplace birth control, pregnancy tests), and ultimately, her life through the Disappeared. The life of a female maquiladora worker parallels that of the products she makes to sustain our global economy. As she works under monitored conditions to produce goods that, once purchased and used, will eventually be discarded by the consumers, her value as an employee and her life, more broadly, become just as easily disposable these consumer products. Never seen as an individual subject, but rather as a necessary cog in the capitalist machine, her life becomes a mere tool to this process of disposability.