Thursday, December 11, 2008

Being A Woman in Latin America

I always get questions from people about being a woman in Latin America. They usually ask me if it’s safe, which is pretty silly. Of course it's safe. It’s as safe as being a woman in NYC or LA or whatever large city in the world you may find yourself in. I mean, don’t be a dumbass… watch yourself and your purse and your drink. Don’t be the fool you typically become after three vodka and Red Bulls, know what I’m sayin’? And if you do, make sure you’ve got your girls with you to get you into the radio taxi and get your sorry drunk ass home. Alone.

The treatment of women here, however, can sometimes leave you asking WTF. Sure, there’s cat calling down the street and yes, there is most definitely staring. In Chile, they will sometimes get right in your face and mutter dirty things under the breaths. But there is also carrying your bags, holding doors, and lovely graciousness. Nice. Hermosa.

Then you’ve got the dance floor. When you go out dancing (in Buenos Aires at least, this did not happen to me in other places) the men become more like vampires out for your blood. Dancing in a club on a Wednesday night in Buenos Aires can feel more like duking it out with Dracula than letting loose for a night of fun.

Last night we were grabbed, kissed, cuddled, felt up, made to feel ourselves up, and just generally harassed as we boogied down for a couple of hours. At first, it was really funny… I laughed along with everyone else, bopping my head and wiggling my hips while half the bar ogled us. But eventually it just got annoying.

I looked around at one point, trying to see if other groups of women found themselves defending their blood from the circling bats. It didn’t seem like it. Was there a reason we were the prey of the night? I’m not sure.

Being a woman in Latin America is no easier than being a woman in any other place in the world. Harassment comes in all forms here it just requires biceps.

In the end, we danced our asses off and had a grand time. And the cab ride home with a group of drunk giggly girls recounting the insanity made for a good time.


Yonas H. said...

Haha! Yeah, I was just having this conversation with a friend the other day. She's Colombian and she said that back in her country the men are akin to rabid wildebeests.
I'm gonna subscribe to your blog!

Al said...

I've always been half offended and half loved the oggling and hooting. Clearly the half that loves it is the Mexican girl in me. The half that's offended is the white girl in me. :)

markymarc72 said...

That doesn't sound anything like the dancing at my company holiday party last night! Lord knows I tried...

Tina said...

Maybe this is why the women sit separately from the men at milongas down here, ha ha - and the men can only invite a dance by using eye contact. ;-) it's a possibility!

Unknown said...

Woah. Makes Washington's gawkers sound kinda quaint.