Friday, September 5, 2008

Group post: Chilean women

Chilean moms do everything or feel like they should do everything in the house…they auto-value themselves by how well they are meeting their family’s needs and have exceedingly high expectations of themselves as mothers and wives. Either that or they don’t know another roll besides waiting on their families hand and foot. And if they don’t live up to this standard they seem to feel guilty about it. The older generation, in general, didn’t study as much as the younger generation and so are restricted to a life as a housewife and mother.

My generation, probably due to globalization and contemporary times, has way more in common with me than the older generation. They study; they aren’t as concerned about the home (granted my best friends here aren’t mothers.) Some young women don’t even know how to cook and it seems the male generation is learning to cook and clean. Yay! For the most part, they seem to want to “help” the women rather than take responsibility for the cleaning themselves. But even so, it’s nice they contribute.

Women here keep their homes so clean. My Lord. My Chilean man has had to get used to a grungy house. It often looks like a bomb exploded here. I do try to pick up after myself, but it’s hard. I’m not used to it. I’m not Chilean.

Maybe its not that they are so clean and orderly…No, it is. They are neat…and gringos are just more disorganized and messy in general.

I remember as a high school exchange student here, back in the day, I went to Los Andes for a weekend and stayed with a family there. I remember entering the sister’s bedroom with her and a friend, and there were a couple of shirts on the bed and a couple of sweaters. She was a little embarrassed at how messy the room was. Everything else was in perfect order. The bed was made; everything was picked up. She went on for about 5 minutes explaining to me why the place was sooo messy: that they’d arrived and had to change clothes quickly to go somewhere, etc... No choice but to smile and nod. At that age, my room always had a half a foot of clothes on the floor that I would tread through to get to my un-made bed.

Appearances are more important in chile: physical appearances, clean rooms, nice clothing, ojala brandname clothing, nice-looking resumes, etc. The Chilean women dress nicely, and like other gringas have mentioned they dress much sexier than your average gringa.

Although I note that a lot of the older Chilean women are quite overweight and that’s when the sexy dressing stops, but they seem to wear tighter fitting clothes here than in the States.

The Chilean women of my generation are sexually very liberal…I think more so than gringas, although gringas seem to have a reputation as being very sexually active. (They should really teach sex ed here!!) But that’s because of the ones that get drunk and make it with anyone that crosses their path. But actually there are a fair amount of puritans among gringas. Whereas the Catholics can be absolved for their sins once a week, the puritans have to carry their sins with them for the rest of their lives. Cuak. Perhaps this is why.

Chilean women seem more jealous than gringas. I think they like to keep close tabs on their men’s whereabouts. I feel like infidelity is more common here too though. After five months here as an expat, I was traumatized by the amount of infidelity I noticed among the people I was getting to know. At this time, I decided I would not date a Chilean. Eventually I met V, who is part of the 50% of the Chilean non-cheaters.

V. says that my Chilean female friends are not your average Chileans however, so my perspective is a bit off, probably in comparison with the other gringas. I also asked one friend if she agreed with this, and yes, she did. She doesn't always identify with her girl friends from high school. The Chilean women I most hang out with are relaxed, fun, like to have a good time, aren’t jealous. They are easy to get along with. They dress really cute and are more concerned about their appearances than your average Minnesotan. Hahaha. And they have developed people filters.

In the elevator the other day, a friendly neighbor began talking about how the women wear the pants here in Chile. (His wife had sent him back up to the apartment to get an umbrella.) He asked us if this was true. I said yes, hehehe. And the other lady in the elevator said that relationships should be 50-50. So there you have it. And what those 50 percent consist of is the question.

For more perspectives on Chilean women, check out the links on Kyle's blog.


Mamacita Chilena said...

Heather, I'm just curious, but what do you think has made your Chilena friends the way they are? Why do you think they seem different than the Chilenas that many of us have experience there a common life experience factor that they all have that makes them the way they are?

Shannon said...

Chilean women do dress more sexy, when I first got here I asked my boyfriend why the girls dancing on TV dress like whores. I was shocked! I was even more shocked when I went to his 17 (16 at the time) year old sister's dance recital. I went thinking oh they will look cute because there were some really young girls in the group like 10 and 11. And out they come in bras, well they weren't bras but damn close enough and what they call shorts, but look like my favorite underwear from Shopko. I couldn't believe that someone would let there 10 year old wear that! I think if my parents would see something like that on TV they would feel extremely uncomfortable. As cute as they all look, I still prefer my old jeans and tennis shoes. And what part of MN are you from? I'm from Holdingford, it's by St. Cloud.

Sara said...

OMG! More Minnesotans?!?!?!I'm went to school in St. Cloud, but I live in Plymouth.
Ok, interesting comment about the old women being overweight. One time, I was in a large group of Chileans and they starting America bashing (a little),a nd my Spanish wasn't good enough at the time to say anything. one of them mentioned how fat we were. I was like "Excuse me? I'm the skinniest one here and I'm American." Jeez.
But, honestly, I think the more, eh, rounder women here have to squeeze themselves in tight clothes because when was the last time you saw a plus-size store. I think, like, never.

lydia said...

(sara- no joke i lived my whole life in plymouth. small world! )

i totally agree with almost everything here (except the resume thing. organized resumes?? i should show you the examples i was given hahah microsoft word all caps bold double spaced lists and/or charts?!?! ok so they probably didnt get the job either)

i would agree that when i do seem to connect with someone, i tend to see them as "not typical", which is odd and i wonder if there really exists this atypical gringa befriending crowd or if anybody that manages to break the barrier suddenly is labeled that by us just because we're trying to give it reason.

Abby said...

Infidelity is high in Chile. One of my professors at La Catolica told me that 49% of men and 51% of women are unfaithful at least once during a committed relationship. I'm not sure how accurate that statistic is, but pretty shocking, right?

Unfortunately, I'm not from Minnesota but I do really like your blog and it gets pretty cold in Vermont too...

Maeskizzle said...

Kyle, what most calls my attention about the chilenas I'm good friends with is that they are architects. Random, but true. They also have been friends with a lot of other foreigners and sometimes reminisce about the other gringos and French people they've known. I met a couple of the French dudes, and they were cool; one was histerical, fun to hang out with.

I just remembered that when I was studying in Santiago de Compostela, one of our professors had worked abroad in the States for a semester or two. She said she had a hard time making friends with people in the States because no one ever had time to grab a cup of coffee with her or hang out. She found gringos to be way over-committed. I think there's a lot of truth to this.

Anyway, I think the most assured way to make friends (probably true in any country of the world) is to take part in an activity with the locals. Here I have my capoeira group, so I'm in contact with Chileans twice a week. It's so much easier for more superficial relationships to evolve into friendships in these kinds of situations.

When my folks and I had an exchange student in my folks house in 2003, my advice to him as to how to make friends was to get involved in school activities, be it sports or whatever. Being a very gregarious guy, he made lots of friends. When I was with him in public, he ran into way more people he knew than I did. In my hometown. Granted all my high school friends had left town. And he was in high school, and thus in contact with like 1000 people every day. Plus he played on the soccer team and the tennis team, like any self-respecting Chilean would have.

In Valpo, when I played capoeira, we had such a great time with our group. We had asados and did a weekend trip to Papudo - so fun. We'd go to the Irish pub for beer after class, to rehydrate. jejeje. The group was small, but had a lot of onda. It was also a very international group, so half of the people left, but there are several Chileans that train regularly and keep the group going.

When I arrived to Stgo, I found another group here. A lot of people were curious about me from the beginning and asked all the typical questions: where are you from, what are you doing here, etc. Interestingly, after two years training with them, several kids who I'd barely talked to the first couple years (it's a big group), took an interest in me and started asking me what I was doing here, etc. At this point I really felt like everyone had accepted me as part of the group and I found it kind of flattering. Even so, I always felt I was part of the group. For me it was enough that I participated to feel like it was my group too.

Even among the Chileans, I feel like the first couple weeks that someone starts training, no one really "pesca" the newbee. I'm like this too, but not intentionally. It's not out of being mean, it's just that I don't know who they are, if they are here for one day, a week, or if they are going to continue training. I'll sometimes say hi, but won't make much of an effort to be friendly until they've been training for a month or two. I'd rather chat with the people I already know, because there really isn't much time to chat during training. The most quality time we spend chatting is with the girls in the changing room.

This turned out to be quite the long comment.

Anyway, to sum up, the best way to make local friends abroad is participating in a local group. This way you are in contact with lots of people (hopefully on a weekly basis) and eventually you are bound to meet somebody you get along with.

Anyone up for playing capoeira, I can send you info. jejeje.

Maeskizzle said...

Shannon: yeah the girls on TV really do dress sexy. And what about the promotoras? Always handing out flyers to the public with tight clothes. I'm sure they have to be "señoritas de buena presencia." They don't bother me. I just mostly ignore them. But they really me llamaron la atención my first months in Chile.

Wow, Minnesota unite! Lots of Minnesotans here. I remember when I visited my host family in Recreo during January of 2003, I ran into tons of Minnesotans in Recreo. It was full of us. But who doesn't want to get away from the Minnesota winter, besides the ice-fisherman?

I'm from Grand Rapids. We like to call it G-Rock to reflect its cosmopolitan nature. One dude I met who is from Massachusetts, willingly moved there in his twenties (most people leave the place in their twenties). He said it reminded him of Lake Placid. What a nice piropo! Perhaps it could be called "el Pucón del norte", replacing the volcanoes with, er, gravel pits.

Maeskizzle said...

For those of you Minnesotans who haven't voted, I found a really good internet site where you fill out the info, print the form, send it to the address provided (this will depend on the Minnesota address you give them), and then they send you your ballot by e-mail. Then you fill it out, and send it in. You can even have them send you ballots for 2008, 09, and 10, if you plan to stay abroad. Y voila. Here's the site:

Shannon said...

I haven't had a full Minnesota winter for a few years, but from what I have heard they are not so snowy until like marchish! I actually prefer a MN winter with snow over this cold rainy stgo one. I find fall much more interesting in MN too.
I am checking out that site right now to get my vote in! Thanks!