martes, 2 de septiembre de 2008

Fuck off, will ya

The catcalling (piropo) vice in Chile has got to stop -- the obscene remarks as well as the 'flattering' ones. They are actually a form of sexual harrassment. From now on, let's call it street harassment

I have a problem with catcalling, and note that I am a guy, and I am South American. It is supposed to be a part of my culture, but I disagree. I actually hate it.

Seriously, what kind of idiotic culture is this where anyone can make remarks about a woman's appearance? It is not part of our anyone's culture. It's rather a bad habit inherited from our sexually repressed past, and although it may be less serious in my generation (I'm 31 years-old), it's still here. Amazingly, these twats in Chile have even organised Catcalling Contests (and in Spain too... yes, you guessed it: that's where we come from). Guys, you've got to be retarded.

But you girls as well. How can you possibly enjoy having someone --totally out of the blue-- yelling at you or blowing kisses or wolf whistling at you? I know you're gonna say 'sometimes they are cute and lift my self-esteem'. Well, if you tolerate people invading your space and you think unwanted attention is OK, then I have bad news for you: you will also have to put up with the lewd remarks and obscenities. The tolerance towards nice compliments creates a safety net where it is allowed to be impertinent, and that leaves an open door to obscenities. So, because you don't want to be verbally abused, then start thinking of all forms of interruption of your space and movement as a form of harrasment, and in this, case, you will see the catcalling as sexual harrassment, no matter how flattering or rude, they belong to the same form of abuse.

I have experienced this annoyance myself quite a few times. The most awful one was a bloody Chilean cop catcalling my ex girlfriend. Of couse I retaliated: shut the fuck up you fucking cop. They returned, rolled down the window and went 'what's your problem, mate? Chill out'. My ex, embarrased, just whispered 'come on, let's go, it's OK'. I had made a scene and I went on and on. But think about it: the cops do it, women accept it. Suddenly, it's me the one blwoing things out of proporion. I just don't get it.

As you can see, it is that bad. It's really, really bad, and it's not only irritating, it can be scary. Many women hate it for personal reasons. It's about time we start retaliating.

Now, with my current girlfriend, who happens to be French, it's been bad too. Crossing over once on Av. Brasil (city centre) one driver goes: "leave him, sweetheart, and marry me instead". First thing that strikes me is why can't that moron keep his eyes on the road to drive safely. Second, what the hell was that? Seriously, why can't he mind his own flippin' business? Who the hell is he? He's someone I have never seen in my life telling my girfriend that HE likes her! Of course one would think that people talk to others when they need help, or asking for directions, or at least to share something interesting, but no, that selfish idiot just wanted to make a point because HE thinks he's cool, or maybe funny, or maybe even trying to tell me 'oh man you're lucky'. But I am not up for this shit anymore. He's a stranger, can't he mind his own business and leave me alone?

And it happens at all ages. Once my dad at a supermarket told someone to go to hell after staring at my sisters breasts... my sister was 13. She saw this scene and she cried. The guy mummbled 'I'm sorry' and left. This is sickening. And I have to insist that the only way to erradicate the street harrassment is simply if we all frown upon this behaviour, and the 'compliments' (!), not matter how 'sweet' or 'harmless', are all considered equally disgusting, together with the lewd remarks or sleazy stares, because they are unwanted attention and an intrusion. They should not be tolerated.

Our fellow blogger Kyle has written a post about this serious problem, and she's angry, and I totally understand her and I believe that most men actually would like to support her. In Chile, where women have been subjected to men, it's aparently OK to treat them with either unusual respect (opening doors) or unusual disrespect ('mijiiita riica'). Kyle's asking us whether it may be a good idea to tell guys off and retaliate. In fact, it is a brilliant idea. Someone has got to do something about this, and harassers need to learn a lesson.

I have met so many foreign girls and I'm yet to meet one who finds this at least remotely funny, uplifting, pleasant or complimentary, obviosuly, because it is so fucking NOT. It's either embarrassingly cheesy, so much that makes me cringe in mortification, or utterly rude and unacceptable. Foreign girls have had enough. If we are opening up to the world, it's time to start treating women with respect, just like a civilised country or at least like a respectful place. Let's build up a society based on respect and equality, where there's no room for this form of abuse.

I have seen ocassionally some French guys catcalling, but it is rare, and at least French men are good looking and speak a beautiful language. Guys, let's face it: we're ugly and we don't speak, we babble. Let's all just stop accepting this crap. The typical grey-suit office worker you find in the city centre telling a girl she's an 'angel fallen from heaven' and that the 'beautiful eyes like the starts' and rubbish like that, that man is simply a sad and pathetic individual, surely married to an ugly witch and that's why has to let off his frustration somehow, but it is his own problem. Other people don't have to hear or tolerate such idiocy on the street or on the public transport. Let alone the sleazy horrible ones who can visually rape a woman... I have seen them. They are absolutely disgusting. I said it before: if you start accepting the nice compliments, you will end up verbally molested. So, girls, don't accept the catcalling, never.

As we can see, there's no much left for the construction workers then (being the Chileans builders among the slowest and more inefficient of the world). Yes, they complain they are paid very little, but I would pay them less every time until they learn that a woman is to be respected and that her privacy is sacred and her looks is not a question to be complimented. She's a stranger. You don't know her. Just shut up and keep working.

A woman is fully entitled to wear a miniskirt and/or a low-cut cleavage if she wants to, and feel free and happy about herself, or attractive for whoever she wants to. The moronic behaviour of the Chileans has resulted in women dressed like nuns to prevent being harrassed. Or else, stupidly, men blame women for the catcalling. I presume women dress for themselves and they are free to wear the attire they take fancy without feeling scared of men's reactions. And that mean yes, if you are a guy and see this beautiful girl in a tiny skirt or falling out of her top, just shut the fuck up and at least don't stare at her like a lion abut to wolf down a piece of meat. Show some decency.

Some months ago it was all over the news the case of Tracy Taylor, an American resident who simply got fed up of the catcalling and went to denounce some builders to the Chilean police. As I said above, even the cops are catcalling women. So there's no much hope.

If we pride ourselves in being a country where we love our friends, and 'even more so if they are foreigners', I invite everyone to think about the street harassment problem and start supporting our gringa friends. Yes, it does happen in the US and in Nort Europe too, but less. At least is frowned upon. We have not seen catcalling contests in other countries because it would cause a stir. In Chile, they say 'take a chill pill, it's not so bad', while women out there are sometimes even petrified, and they dress like nuns.

This is a battle we can't win. At least it'll be good if the Chilean women stand up and say 'the catcalling is disgusting'. I'm sure there will be many, more than we ever imagined.

16 comentarios:

Mamacita Chilena dijo...

Carlos, the funniest thing is the man's column next to the Tracy Taylor. It says, "My woman is gringa and she left the U.S. because of the lack of piropos y miradas y seduccion.

HA! What kind of gringa is he married to?!?

Estoy totalmente de acuerdo contigo excepto por un punto. Lo que dices de los Frances. Me da igual si son guapos o feos...un hombre tirando un piropo o sea objectificando una mujer...eso le hace feo.

Thanks for your support. It's definitely interesting to hear from a man's perspective on this subject -- especially a guy who actually thinks piropos are disgusting too. Do you have Chilean friends who feel the same as you, or do you think your perspective comes from the fact that you are dating a foreigner?

Mexico "Way" dijo...

BRAVO!

Thanks for standing up for us. Much appreciated. I can't tell you how many times my "bad day" turned into a "NIGHTMARE" because assholes like that just think it's funny to disrespect me for walking to and from my job.

Also, thanks for swearing. I love it when people blog and swear. lol.

His Excellency dijo...

Weird, an attractive latina I know complains of the opposite problem: Europeans would be scared shitless of making any sort of advance, no matter how friendly and nonthreatening.

There is a juste milieu somewhere, between harassment and intimidation on the one hand, and politically correct intolerance on the other.

Of course, this does not apply to cops, who should err on the side of respect or be summarily fired. But the underlying problem here is that the Chilean right-wing encourages cops and soldiers to believe that they can trample on civilians' rights, not a cultural issue.

Florencia dijo...

Not to mention that you can text-message a number and receive in your mobile, not only piropos, but "machista" jokes as well. Nice.
I find it really surprising that some women will actually find their self-esteem improved after receiving a leud comment on the street, out loud, from an uneducated, unknown, rude man. It is a totally different thing to have someone you know, or someone whose attention you do want to get, tell you that you look nice or that they gasped at the sight of you. Note, no vulgar remarks. After all, we are sexual beings and the way we dress is intended to cause an impression upon others, right?
As long as there are tabues in regards to sex and as long as there are women who tolerate these kinds of conduct from men, nothing will change much, because those of us who stand up to these assholes go from being called "ricas" to "frígidas". Again, nice.
Revisiting this topic never gets old (http://flohabla.blogspot.com/2008/02/el-piropo.html). For me, at least, it is the only sane way to vent off the fury that invades me when called names in the street.
Regards.

Chile Liberal dijo...

@Kyle: actually, what I meant was that if catcalling is awful from a moderately handsome man, then the downright ugly should be aware of it. Looks like I didn't manage to get my message across there (that happens when I write angry).

The columnist you mentioned is simply a polemicist, well known for his incomprehensible enunciation and for being a mediocre writer. Apparently he lived in NY. As far as I can tell, he must be lying, or somehow trying to balance the report.

The vast majority of my friends wouldn't harass women on the street. Although one of my best mates is a compulsive piropero.

Actually, you got me thinking... I believe that this social evil is so widespread that it became invisible. People don't even notice it.

Perhaps one of you would like to set up a Facebook Campaign, something like Stop The Piropo? I fully support you, and I'd do it myself but it may be better if a woman started it out.

My perspective changed after I lived abroad and I could see these beautiful girls walking around, looking nice and sexy, with nobody disturbing their space. I have hated it the catcalling ever since I was little so after the years my aversion only grew.

But we're all victims of this. Our sisters, girlfriends, even mums. I truly hate it and I'm sick of it.

@Mexico "Way": I thought that someone would complain over the foul language here. I'm glad to see that you liked it.

I meant to show how enraged it makes me feel.

I am convinced this comes from a minority of men, so the silent majority, and the women, need to start retaliating.

I'm sad to hear it's been that bad for you, but I can really see that it can turn a bad day into an actual nightmare.

@His Excellence: my point is as follows. A remark, or a gesture, if unwanted and in a public space from a stranger, is a form of harassment. It doesn't matter if it's nice or vulgar. It is usually hard to draw a line between rude and nice because the border between nice and not nice is blurred and different for each person. So accepting nice remarks leaves the door open to all sort of remarks.

So I prefer not to tolerate such behaviour.

Behind the right-wing is the filthy claw of the Roman Church, and through their exaltation of the virginity of Mary, by strategically placing their silly statues overseeing the whole city, they send the wrong signal: a miniskirt is bad, our Holly Mother Virgin Mary is good.

I don't know about you but why is this less prominent in Protestant countries, and so ingrained in Italy, Spain, South Ametica and the like?

@Florencia: this is not only from the uneducated men. And we should ask ourselves why the are no feminists in Chile.

His Excellency dijo...

"A remark, or a gesture, if unwanted and in a public space from a stranger, is a form of harassment. It doesn't matter if it's nice or vulgar."
My Excellency strongly disagrees. In the United States, public life has been degraded by the imposition of politically correct "speech codes," with definitions of "harassment" or even "rape" cooked up by the lunatic fringe of the feminist movement.

There are persons actively looking for reasons to be offended. They don't deserve to be taken seriously.


"Under patriarchy, every woman's son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman." -Andrea Dworkin

SergioA dijo...

Ahora te tocó a ti. Ahora debería reírme yo.
Te reíste de mí porque me molesta ver homosexuales besándose, te reíste de Florencia porque ella no quiere encontrarse con una bataclana semi desnuda cuando transita con sus niños, e imagino que te reirás también de los que tienen que ver prostitut@s cuando entran y salen de sus departamentos.

¿Como vas a demostrar el daño causado por un piropo?
¿Quieres que la ley prohiba dirigir la palabra a un desconocido en la calle?

Chile Liberal dijo...

@His Excellency: let me go through my position again

a. Unwanted attention is a disruption
b. Obsene catcalling is a disruption

Therefore, if we want to prevent b, we have to erradicate a.

Of course we have seen polite and 'nice' compliments. They may be harmless, but at the end of the day they give carte blanche to the aggresive catcalling by creating a public life where unwanted attention is accepted.

I think a woman can pefectly carry on having a happy fulfilled life without having unwanted compliments.

@SergioA:

"¿Como vas a demostrar el daño causado por un piropo?"

Muy fácil: ver los comentarios de Kyle, México Way, entre muchísimas otras, incluidas Tracy Taylor.

¿Quieres que la ley prohiba dirigir la palabra a un desconocido en la calle?

No. No he dicho ni sugerido semejante cosa. Simplemente dije que contestar a los piropos, con groserías si es necesario, es legítimo.

His Excellency dijo...

A requirement for self-defense is "reasonableness:" the aggression must be real, and the response, proportionate. By giving one of the parties full arbitrary authority to decide what is an aggression ("unwanted"), and encouraging them to react disproportionately (be a bitch even if confronted with nice and polite compliments), you are (a) losing the high moral ground; (b) restricting freedom through social coercion; (c) empowering the nastier individuals of the female sex, while (d) punishing innocent women (like my lonely friend in Barcelona, who wouldn't have minded some polite compliments).

ignacio burges dijo...

Yo vivi en New York, New Jersey y alrededores desde 1992 hasta 2005, y los piropos son tan comunes como aca, de hecho las mujeres con respecto a los hombres son mas lanzadas que aca.

Anónimo dijo...

I agree with you, but Chilean women seem to enjoy this, and I don't think they dress like nuns, on the contrary, I find Chilean women show a lot, and they enjoy when men stare at them, they also like to compete between them. Chileans in general don't have respect for other people.

Chile Liberal dijo...

Hiya, Anónimo(a). I don't think all Chilean women enjoy it, and I even doubt a majority does.

And on the dress sense, other than the tackiness, I don't think women dress as provocatively on a Saturday night as in anglo-saxon countries. I think is OK in the English-speaking world for women to dress a buit 'slutty'. In Chile, that gets a huge amount of unwanted attention. But hey, maybe I'm wrong!

Anónimo dijo...

Yeah, you are wrong!

Anónimo dijo...

Creo que las chilenas han crecido en esta cultura local de sexualidad agresiva y poco respetuosa. Muchas mujeres han aprendido que ESA es la forma de generar atracción en el sexo opuesto, y se acostumbran a tolerar los piropos más asquerosos.
El hombre pobre no tiene dinero ni atractivo para abordar una mujer bella y educada, y terminan casados con mujeres tan lamentables como ellos. La mayoría de las extranjeras son de rasgos exóticos, y eso atrae la atención. Lamentablemente cada hombre manifiesta su atención según su nivel de educación: uno podrá invitarla a un helado o un café, y otro le gritará las obscenidades más asquerosas.

Back from a trip to Australia, a cousin of mine told us how the police arrested one of his accompanying Chilean friends for "looking at a woman in an inappropriate way". They were shocked after being told that the woman actually asked him for help, after feeling herself being “harassed and stared by strangers”. Of course, my cousin replied “pero si ni siquiera la miramos”, but I’m almost sure they weren’t looking at her the way Australians would.

Por suerte para las gringas, en Chile hay muchísimos caballeros educados, que jamás las pondrían incómodas con esas actitudes. A mi me atraen las mujeres anglosajonas, pero he aprendido a no mirarlas a los ojos directamente en la calle, orque en sus países eso es muy inapropiado. Si fuera atractiva, la invitaría al menos a un Starbucks, pero no estarían mirando como imbécil, con la baba goteando por la pera

Saludos, Excelente blog!

Luigi dijo...

Interesante...

He publicado varios mensajes sobre el feminazismo en este blog, y ni siquiera había visto esta entrada.

Luigi dijo...

FEMINAZISMO SEXUAL EN CHILE

En compañía de la ministra del Servicio Nacional de la Mujer (Sernam), Carolina Schmidt, un grupo de parlamentarios presentó un proyecto de ley que busca sancionar a quienes se pasen de listos en la vía pública mediante los populares "agarrones".

La iniciativa busca asociar este acto a la figura de acoso sexual en la vía pública.

El proyecto, que propone sanciones de presidio menor, fue presentado por los diputados Leopoldo Pérez, Alejandro Santana, Pedro Browne (RN), Matías Walker (DC) y Alejandra Sepúlveda (PRI).

Pérez indicó que "queremos tipificar el delito de acoso sexual en lugares públicos, entiéndase conciertos, o lugares donde concurra demasiada gente", añadiendo que "es una forma de ayudar a la campaña que el Ministerio del Sernam está llevando a cabo respecto de las denuncias de este tipo de delitos", según rescató Radio Cooperativa.

La ministra Schmidt, en tanto, recalcó que "las mujeres nos merecemos respeto" y "no podemos tolerar este tipo de situaciones y debemos ser capaces de alzar la voz".

Por ello, la secretaria de Estado llamó a "denunciar a aquellos cobardes que aprovechándose de las multitudes esconden situaciones de abusos y excitación sexual utiizando a las mujeres".