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P.O.V. Ella Es El Matador (She Is The Matador)

Airs Sunday, September 6 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

So sacred was the bullfighter’s masculinity to Spanish identity that a 1908 l...

Credit: ©Talcual Films

Above: So sacred was the bullfighter’s masculinity to Spanish identity that a 1908 law barred women from the sport. This program reveals the surprising history of the women who made such a law necessary and offers fascinating profiles of two female matadors currently in the arena: acclaimed Mari Paz Vega (pictured) and neophyte Eva Florencia.

For Spaniards -- and for the world -- nothing has expressed their country's traditionally rigid gender roles more powerfully than the image of the male matador. So sacred was the bullfighter's masculinity to Spanish identity that a 1908 law barred women from the sport. This film reveals the surprising history of the women who made such a law necessary and profiles two female matadors currently in the arena: the acclaimed Mari Paz Vega and neophyte Eva Florencia. These women are gender pioneers by necessity. But what emerges as their truest motivation is their sheer passion - - for bullfighting and the pursuit of a dream. Watch the full program online.

Explore the fashion of bullfighting in this gallery of matador costumes.

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