In the Pre-Columbian and pre-patriarchal text above, the “Tía” clearly plays a radicalizing role in the context of narco-anarchy on the frontier. There is an intensification of the polarizing dynamic between striated regimentation in the person of the narrator who attempts to name, itemize, and commodify garments and the Tía herself who, as an empowered change agent, uses her radical femininity to challenge the patriarchy and the dominant hegemony of machismo within the outlaw context of narcotrafficking.
See Chandler on Barthes and the garment system:
1. She selects signs from three paradigms (i.e. sets of possible signs – upper body garments, lower body garments, and footwear). Each paradigm contains a possible set of pieces from which she can choose only one. From the upper-body-garment paradigm (including blouses, tee-shirts, tunics, sweaters), she selects one. These items share a similar structure, function, and/or other attribute with others in the set: they are related to one another on the basis of similarity. She further selects items related by similarity from the lower-body-garment and footwear paradigms. A socially defined, shared classification system or code shapes her selections.
2. She combines the selected signs through rules (i.e., tee-shirts go with sandals, not high heels), sending a message through the ensemble – the syntagm. Selection requires her to perceive similarity and opposition among signs within the set (the paradigm), classifying them as items having the same function or structure, only one of which she needs. She can substitute, or select, a blouse for the tee-shirt – conveying a different message.