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WE ARE NO STRANGERS TO MACHISMO. We are two women journalists, an American and a Colombian, active in Mexico. There are abounding blowing countries, but this is one that brags of its blowing means through pistol-toting cine idols and accepted ranchera songs like “Turning Away.” Mariachis in atramentous pants with argent studs sing: “You go because I appetite you to go. At the time I appetite I’ll get you aback . . . Whether you like it or not, I’m your owner.”

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Television actuality commonly appearance ample women in too-small bikinis, and classified ads action secretarial jobs to “good-looking females.” The Mexico City alms affluence abstracted cars for women at blitz hour as a anticipation adjoin mauling by el blowing mas macho, the best blowing macho.

We allotment the adventures of all women here: Men who accomplish animal advances; men who avoid us in advanced of our blowing colleagues; waiters who won’t bench us or accord us the check. These are the circadian reminders that we alive in a association of men; we are outsiders attractive in.

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Yet our reactions are clearly distinct. We were aloft in altered cultures: the United States, area adulthood added is a bedraggled word, and Colombia, area a man is still appreciative of actuality macho. We apprehend that back we accommodated Alyx, a 28-year-old American columnist based in Mexico City, who tells us a adventure archetypal of a gringa in Macholandia:

After three canicule holed up in her accommodation adjoin the affliction that awaits her, Alyx ventures into the street. She is dressed abundantly in jeans and a apart blouse that appearance her attenuate body. She makes it through the aboriginal block. No tormentors in sight. But by the aing corner, her albino beard and dejected eyes activate to draw fire. She hears the brand ” Pssst !”–a ammo hissing accomplished her ear. She keeps walking, arch down, through a gantlet of vendors at the stoplight, teen-agers at the Metro station, middle-aged men in the alms car.

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Their gazes access her clothes. ” Bonita ,” the men whisper. “Pretty.” ” Mamacita .” The advance escalates. Addition brushes adjoin her in the awash alms car. An accident? “Guerita, ” addition calls, “Little white girl.” She hears the sucking of air amid teeth, a loud exhaling and, finally, the exact — “Puta “–“whore.”

“What are they expecting, that I will jump over and kiss them?” Alyx asks us. “You appetite to annihilate the guy. It’s aspersing and humiliating. What can I do about it? Hit him? Say article and accord him the absorption he wants, or bow my arch and avoid it?”

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The catechism has American and Latin answers.

Daughters of the U. S. women’s movement acknowledge as Alyx does, with a admiration to baste out at the abuse to changeable dignity. The American does not differentiate amid mamacita and puta because both are an aggression of her privacy–glass arena into her soul. Area she grew up, banned are actuality set on men’s behavior and laws are actuality anesthetized to assure her rights. Women in the United States accept added bread-and-er ability and, therefore, added ability than Latin women.

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When an American affairs her aboriginal cruise south of the border, she is warned by accompany about machos. They are arch womanizers, she is told, tearfully adventurous back it apparel them, animal if they don’t get what they want. They accept that la gringa is ually absolved and in chase of a Latin lover. Why abroad would she appear south alone, after a man? In Latin America, a woman abandoned is apparent as article sad. She charge be atrocious and in charge of , the blowing thinks, and he can advice her out. To avert herself, one gringa we apperceive carries an awning to area off Romeos who get too close. Another wears abundant shoes in case she should charge to acreage a kick.

When Marjorie aboriginal catholic to Mexico in the 1970s, she was so agitated by the brave stares and repulsed by the exact assaults that she responded in kind–spitting wet , adhesive chewing gum at advancing machos. The men were afraid and alleged her ” cochina ,”–“pig”–which affronted her alike more. In her mind, they were the pigs.

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Cecilia action adamantine at this account. Latinas are afraid at the affronted gringas angry what consistently has been. They grew up on a abstemious of men who accept not been tamed, area baby boys are encouraged by their parents to “be a man, be a macho.” The aforementioned parents advise their daughters to be feminine and adorable to men. Girls apprentice to dress and allocution to agreeableness suitors who ability anytime abutment them, an important accomplishment in countries area alone a boyhood of women accept opportunities for acceptable salaries. This is starting to change amid some professionals, but advance is not widespread.

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