Safe Passage

Two out of three men under the age of 25 in Latin America don’t believe that when women say no to sex they actually mean it. 86% would do nothing if a male friend hit their girlfriend. Over 80% think men but not women should be able to have sex with whomever they want. Three out of four oppose any form of abortion rights. 40% believe that it’s ok to have sex with an unconscious woman. 72% believe that women get raped because they dress provocatively.

These are all young men. Among older generations it’s much worse.

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16 thoughts on “Safe Passage”

    1. GOOD question. I was initially going to be a Latin Americanist. But I realized I couldn’t deal with the sexism. There is a limit on how many works of literature that reek with the hatred of women I can process. I had to change my specialization. Spain is not perfect but light years ahead on this subject.

      But yes, sexism is the main organizing structure in any interactions with Latin Americans. I’ve had to make my piece with that, hard as it was.

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      1. As bad as the statistics are Latin American women have never struck me as being especially weak or trod upon and mostly without the cynicism that affects some Russian speaking women or the bitterness of some Middle Eastern women. I don’t know how they do it (I’m sure there are lots of oppressed women in Latin America but that’s not the vibe the women give off individually or collectively).

        Small case in point, I just saw some episodes of the Spanish version of Come Dine with me (ven cenar conmigo) semi-celebrity version. There were two Spanish men a Spanish woman and two Latinas (Peru, Venezuela). The Spanish woman, try as she might, clearly could not compete with the Latinas who just dominated all the proceedings they were in by force of personality.

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        1. I didn’t cite the corresponding statistics on Latin American women. They mostly agree with all of this, albeit by somewhat smaller percentages.

          That friend who can’t accept that I work? Where do you think she’s from? :-)))

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          1. My very first Latin American friend was this very brilliant and strong Mexican woman. She once got quite aggressive arguing that women are by nature inferior to men because they are penetrated during sex. I thought she was being weird until I read Octavio Paz and found out that this was an idea that defined much of Mexico’s history, politics, and daily reality.

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        2. Well, one chooses one’s friends and closer colleagues from the minority. But it is still a major problem. I had my first argument about this, with a random adult male street harasser (albeit in Spain) when I was 8. Practice helps. But it is a major problem every day and at the same time I am so used to it that I forget what it is like not to have it. There is a reason for the popularity of non Lat Am men among Lat Am women.

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        3. Women are strong. But even those women are putting up with more than one thinks…as you find out once you get to know them.

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    2. Well, one chooses one’s friends and closer colleagues from the minority. But it is still a major problem. I had my first argument about this, with a random adult male street harasser (albeit in Spain) when I was 8. Practice helps. But it is a major problem every day and at the same time I am so used to it that I forget what it is like not to have it. There is a reason for the popularity of non Lat Am men among Lat Am women.

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  1. 86% would do nothing if a male friend hit their girlfriend.

    I find this shocking because I can’t believe a machista would let another man hit his girlfriend. It’s not they think hitting is wrong, it’s that they feel ownership over their girlfriend. It’s like letting another man fuck your girlfriend

    Maybe it’s an Anglo thing but I’ve seen similar attitudes toward children. “I can discipline my children any way I want but you… you don’t say boo to my kid!”

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    1. I think the question is referring to your friend hitting HIS girlfriend, not your friend hitting YOUR girlfriend. That’s how I interpreted it anyway.

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      1. Ah. I’m so used to people substituting in “their” as an alternate possessive for “his/her” I read it differently.
        I’m not sure most men in America would do anything if their male friend was a domestic abuser.

        I don’t know what survey that came from or if it broke down what action 12% of Latin American men under the age of 25 would take other than “do nothing if my friend hits his girlfriend.”

        Domestic violence centers in the United States were founded by women.

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  2. I’m wondering if anyone (e.g., US academics) might or would try to “psychologize” or “contextualize” these statistics in order to excuse these attitudes. I’m thinking of something along the lines of “Well, maybe, BUT you have to understand that Latin American men are…blah, blah, blah… [insert some words and phrases like subaltern, racialized subjectivities, intersectionality, Western power/knowledge regimes, US neo-colonialism and imperialism, globalization, the neoliberal status quo, etc.]…” I can imagine non-Hispanic whites in academia thinking that it’s always questionable, and perhaps “racist,” for them to criticize Latin American men, an already oppressed group.

    In a recent conference paper I presented on a topic tangentially related to machismo, after I referred to the prevalence of this problem in Latin American societies, I made sure to add a follow-up sentence to qualify my claim, acknowledging that this was a broad generalization that would clearly benefit from a deeper and more nuanced analysis, but this was beyond the scope of my paper. Perhaps this was a little bit of cowardice on my part, but the important thing is that I didn’t want discussion to revolve around something that was a very minor point in my paper.

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    1. When this comes up with non-Hispanic academics in the US, the answer is always that it’s as bad or worse in the US, so the data is neither interesting nor valuable.

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    2. Good grief, they are not an oppressed group or even a group. Sure, indigenous peasant men are oppressed but Carlis Slim? Salinas de Gortari who shot his maid for sport? These pieties are used as lazy substitutes for knowledge and are not even politically correct, but a white trip.

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