Sunday, January 29, 2012

Machismo Culture...

Machismo culture in places like Latin America and parts of Europe (Italy) are well documented. But what about in the U.S.? Many times in NYC, females, young attractive females in particular, have confided to me, of being harassed on the street by overzealous men. We all know the stereotype of construction workers whistling to a beautiful girl.

In New York City, the savviest of girls, used to this kind of unwanted attention usually dealt with the issue by putting on a mask of stoney silence, a far off look and basically ignoring the perpetrator until they tired and went away. This is not to say this only happens to "young" and "attractive" females, these just happen to be the ones who shared their stories with me. And it's also not to say this was the reaction by all the females. I know some who gave as good as they could get, pretending to really adore the attention and getting very aggressive with the perpetrator and thus scaring the guy sh''less in front of his peers. It seems it's a power thing more than anything. Just a bully doing what bullies have always done since you went to grade school with them, picking on people smaller or physically weaker than them. They just grew up, physically at least.

More than once, when I lived in NYC, I went to some harassed female's defense, in an effort to get it to stop. It wasn't always the garden variety "you are so beautiful" or "look at that move" kind of stuff either. One guy with combat boots and a pit bull on a chain leash called an Asian girl an epitaph and told her he was happy about Hiroshima. I told him to shut the hell up. He ignored me, as did she and everybody went their separate ways.

Another time, two young hood rats gave me chase into my building and stood out on the street threatening me if I came out of the building. After convincing the doorman to finally call the cops, the NYPC came and arrested them. The girl in question disappeared. Not once did anyone ever bother to thank me, so I'm not sure it was ever worth it, but I can't stand by and watch people get bullied, even if it's not good for my own health.

Now Latin America may have a reputation for machismo culture, and yes, there is some truth to it, but I have to be honest and say that over a period of several years traveling there, I've never witnessed it personally. If anything, men seem to have a little old school, gentlemanly trait drilled into them, probably by their mothers who have an especially strong relationship with their sons it seems. I really admire the way Latin Americans IN GENERAL respect their elders, kids and females.

But I'm also not naive enough to know it isn't a problem there either. Only a female could relate how much so. This friend of mine, another attractive and coincidentally highly intelligent female from Colombia forwarded me this video.

It's in Spanish and I'm not sure if an English language version exist, but I think it's safe to say, the point comes across loud and clear, regardless of language.

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