A Skirt Full of Butterflies

$20.00 each


In Zapotec and Spanish with English subtitles, five Zapotec women tell what it is like to live in a place where women run the economy, and where there is respect for “women’s work.”

Matriarchy. That is what explorers and other outsiders have simplistically labeled the Zapotecs of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Oaxaca, Mexico. The Isthmus is a place where women run the economy, where cultural identity is of utmost importance, where being fat is regarded as an ideal of beauty and where female ancestors displayed ingenuity and spunk in times of war and political resistance. Anthropologists call it a partnership society where one is first a human being, an individual and only second and incidentally a man or a woman. (It is a love poem to the Isthmus women.) We hear from five women whose stories are interlaced with scenes of work and the resplendent festivities, music, poetry and paintings of the region. They show how valuable economic independence, community, friendship, cultural pride and respect for “women's work” are in giving a woman self-esteem and a sense of purpose in life. They are also a testament to what that sense of dignity contributes to the well-being of society.


Director: Ellen Osborne and Maureen Gosling

Format: DVD, color, 15 minutes.

Availability: Available for personal in-home use.

Published: 1995

Tribes/Ethnic Groups: Zapotec