Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sexico

I was dropping off my husband at the maquila this morning and one of the Transporte Personal buses that we saw on Hermanos Escobar and Tecnologico had spinners on the rims. Of course I practically burst into tears from laughing so hard. It also had the go-to Playboy Bunny stickers on all the windows (which seem to be extremely popular among the public transportation circuit here) and featured the signature strobe lights on the inside. I imagine the second you get onto that bus all you can hear and feel is the bass-down-low and music one would only expect to encounter after 1:00 am at a strip club; that may just be my imagination though. I don’t know how anyone would want to go to work in that environment, at a factory where they earn a dollar an hour nonetheless, but of course the majority of the maquiladores are carless and live in outskirts of Juarez so they don’t really have a choice. Seeing the bus and the bunnies and the rims and the club-esque lighting reminded me how sexed-up everything is here. This is not new to me but I have wanted to talk about it for a while.

Everything in Mexico seems to revolve around sex. I always thought the United States was sex-centered, which it is, but it’s a little bit less in your face. I’m sure plastic surgery is more common amongst Americans for financial reasons but in Mexico if feels like everywhere you go, you get smacked in the face by sexiness. I know everyone is going to respond to this by saying it’s the same in the US, but I humbly beg to differ. Here, all you have to do is open the newspaper and there is a buck-naked chick, spread-eagle, with the only thing hiding her nipples and hoo-hoo being three cheesy graphic designs from the Prodigy days that slightly resembles fireworks. How fitting.

Sex is everywhere. Last night, my husband was watching a game show and somehow it’s implausible for the contestants to just be playing the game. That’s not enough for Mexico? They need to be in string bikinis playing the game. The game show host can’t be an endearing Bob Barker type; He needs to be some raunchy, sex-crazed, moderately overweight man who looks like it’s taking everything out of him to not just go down on Maria right there on the stage in front of everybody. It can get pretty disgusting depending on your choice of programming. My husband chooses wrong every time. I like sex just as much as the next woman. Hell, I’ll sit down and watch porn with you, but for some reason I just don’t like it when I can see the weather girl’s nips. There’s a time and place for this people.

What really throws me isn’t the lady on the screen screaming, “Vuelta, vuelta,” it’s the women on the other side of the screen. I don’t get it. The women I have met in Mexico are some of the most reserved, private, respectable women I have met in my life. I am not speaking of Mexican women as a whole, I am only reflecting on personal experiences. From what I have observed, Mexican women tend to be much more introverted, or at least save themselves and their true personalities for their loved ones. I have met a couple women who are as boisterous as the next American gal, but for the most part they seem very introverted. Is this purely their reaction to me?

The women I have met seem very reserved and hesitant to speak their minds about everyday happenings. When we had a neighborhood watch meeting a few months ago at my old house, I was the only woman who spoke. I couldn’t believe it because if anyone should have an opinion about the electric gate, or beggars, or guards, or whatever, it should be the person who is home all day, caring for their children. All the other senoras stared at me, eyes wide, mouths gaping open, as I spoke my mind about the security issues. The men didn’t seem to react oddly. Are Americans known to be outspoken? Is this expected of me? Were they disgusted that I spoke up or overcome with admiration? I couldn’t tell. The women I encounter on a day to day basis are such a stark contrast from what I see in the media that it leaves me completely perplexed.

Basically, these dudes wake up and there is T & A in the newspaper, and then they watch the weather report and the “meteorologista” has a push-up water bra and leather skirt that perfectly accent her hoe-stick and hoo-hoo. Then they get in the car and listen to the radio where all you hear is mamacita-this and mamacita-that to the point that it begins to sound like a phone-sex conversation. They head to the mercado after work to buy some milk and there are women there, promoting beer or bread or shampoo, wearing practically nothing as they try to get you to take their Pan Bimbo coupon. Then of course, after a hard days work, they relax and watch some weird Mexican version of Family Feud where the women are in their underwear, yet again, doing weird things with their bodies that men dare them to do. At least I think that’s what it’s about. Even being bilingual, I struggle to understand the purpose of some of these shows. A Que No Puedes. That’s the one. Even the sports shows have no resemblance to ESPN back home. Women jump up from behind the sportscaster’s desks in plaid skirts that perfectly display their ass cheeks, because, duh, didn’t you know that’s what you’re supposed to wear to a futbol game?

I don’t even know how the hell I am supposed to end this. I don’t think I will ever know. I just don’t it…

23 comments:

  1. Very keen observations. Andso true.

    I loooove this skit from stand up comedian Gabriel Iglesias. He is talking about a typical commercial on Telemundo and describes a hot woman walking in a bikini to "stripper" or club music... This goes on for 29 seconds , and at the last second she says "Ayyyyyyyyyyyy. Pepsi."". (whats even better is he acts out how she bends at the waist at the end, reaching for her hoo-haw touching herself, and stands upright holding a Pepsi can)

    ReplyDelete
  2. As far as the average Mexican woman goes, this is just my own personal observation and of course you always have to take it with a grain of salt when you try to generalize about huge population of people, but I would say that yes, they do generally come off as pretty reserved and not super outspoken when they are outside the home;however my husband has mentioned that his female relatives, when they all get together, have really raunchy conversations. Of course this all takes place away from the men, because most get-togethers tend to be a bit segregated - men with the men and women with the women. I do think that as a "gringa" people expect it when I do things that are not the cultural norm, which may be why people don't seem to react when you voice your opinion and no other women do...My husband, who I would not describe as macho at all, does on occasion in interactions with servicepeople, salespeople and the like in Mexico, get rather perturbed and flustered when I actively involve myself in conversation instead of standing quietly by while he works things out with the other person. I guess it is my American female tendency to not be able to shut my big mouth :D For me it's impossible to just stand by and NOT say something....so...I don't have answers for any of the questions you posed but it is a super interesting topic and definitely one that involves lots of cultural nuances that we as foreigners may not ever fully understand...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't forget about the Tecate chicas shaking their boom booms on the streets.

    It is my opinion that Americans are much more direct. This got me into trouble at times at the school where I worked. It seems to me that Mexicans love the beating around the bush routine while I just cut to the chase. It is also my opinion that Americans are much more repressed about open sexuality. In Europe the porn magazines are stacked on the racks uncovered for all the world to see. The women wear bikinis whether they should or not. Men strut in speedos, gut and all hanging to the ground.

    Yeah, I'm not sure where to end this either.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention how I actually tried to chase a public transport bus to take a photo. I don't know about Juarez, but most public transports in Reynosa are old school buses usually painted white. This bus that I tried to get a photo of had the obligatory Playboy bunny decal and a strobe light like many do. But this bus had dingle balls adorning every window. It looked like something straight out of a Cheech and Chong movie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Juarez, its the same old school buses but with various colors lol

      Delete
  5. Please don't forget the show on right before A Que no Puedes, the one with Machete, it would be a half way decent show if it was just the singing, they have to ruin it with the 98% naked girls shaking it...
    Oh and as I'm typing my husband is watching the news (Enrique Gratas), which of course has to end with a girl mostly naked touching herself provocatively.
    And one more thing (you already mentioned it) why is the host/lead man always some fat ugly guy? Why is it only good looking girls?? I guess this is a good place to stop at?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I know how you feel about the women on the tv. I cant stand watching the news/ weather there, it is like they are getting ready to go work on the corner. Most of the women I know are pretty reserved and cover themselves up, but it is the younger ones like when we go out to the plaza, who are wearing the shortest dresses they could find and the highest heels and have no self respect what so ever. It is pretty sad/ and funny to watch.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is so funny. I know I am going to get off topic here, but this blog takes me all over the place in my thoughts and experiences. It is really hard to understand other's perception of you in a foreign country. Culturally, we are just different than MX woman, our life experiences are so different. IMO, the women here are seemingly more pure than American woman. Meanwhile, they are sexualized and exploited around every corner. Girls get pregnant out wedlock and they just get married because it is "the right thing to do." The majority of women and men here don't leave their parents house until after they are married. I think the woman are more submissive and private than American woman, at least in my exp. I work with modern, upperclass women. They are all super hot and sexy, watch what they eat, live for designer everything, and have very long hair! Plastic surgery is like 2nd nature and they are always talking about who got what done. They even raffle facial lifts and lipo at my work Gala every year. It is just a way different breed than my cuniandas down in GTO or even my peeps back home in OH. It is like a wannabe Beverly Hills right in TJ. LOL. They are all great, amazing women, just different than what I am used to.

    Just on a funny note, a girl I work with, was telling me a story about a CBP officer who was hitting on here in the SENTRI lane and when he called her up and asked her to come to his place and "watch movies" he asked her if she was going to take a shower first. She then said to me..."like what did he think, I am like all the Gringas and I'm going to come over and F him on the first date?" I said, Hello! you are talking to a Gringa, and she told me, no you are not a Gringa, you are like a Mexican, LOL. So, there are misconceptions out there everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I guess, I have the in laws who are the exception. My mother in law is the typical submissive do everything hubby and kids say type of woman. My SILS on the other hand are straight up hoes!! One of them is very open about it, she reminds of an American more than Mexican. She tells everybody, if you don't like what I do then, don't come around me!!
    I know lots of other Mexican women who act all holier than thou around family and friends but, by theirselves or with me ( I guess they think that since, I am AMerican, I condone the ho attitude? Who knows) they show their real faces, butt, and everything!!! So, I have to beg to differ on the Mexican women being mainly submissive, they act like it but, the majority do more than the average American woman would! Come spend a day or two on my block or basicly anywhere in Monterrey. You will see the hubbies leave to go to work and the lovers go in!! I see this on my block everyday and have seen women kiss one man goodbye, I mean the typical tonsil eating kisses you see on the streets here and then see another guy pull up and her give him the same style kiss and leave wiht him!

    I told MIguel the other day, that where the Hell do they get off on calling Americans whores when they are worse than us! He asked me, "It took you this longer to figure this out? I have known this all my life, I have seen it everyday!"

    BTW: Miguel just found out his sister is sleeping with his older sister's husband!! How is that for open sexuality? You don't do that! That is your sister for God's sake. IMO, men who have or are with family or friend sare off limits, I don't care how much you want it! They are not worth losing someone that important in your life!!

    I don't know where to end this either. Shit Emily, you opened a can of worms!! :)

    I completely forgot about Pura Gente Bien, it is a show targeting preteens and teens but, talks about sex and makes all kinds of sex movements throughout the show. My kids are not allowed to wacth the show but, all of the other kids here are! I can't believe they let kids see this shit!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Emily,
    I do not even live in Mexico and can barely watch any of the tv shows on the Spanish stations w/out seeing a half naked woman. It's sad and comical. My husband gets a little nervous watching any kind of spanish program with me. It always leads to me preaching about the sexualization of women and that usually turns into a women's rights sermon, he's tired of hearing about it (but I can't help myself). So we avoid watching the news, music videos, sports programs, gossip shows. It's pretty much limited to a novela here and there and court shows.
    I wonder if Mexican viewers wonder how weird/unappropriate we find this? LOL

    I remember once a friend of mine told me "I heard gringas were fria (as in not nice)." (misconception-cause I'm pretty damn nice!) I also remember hubby having to tell some guys he use to work with to stop asking him questions about his gringa girlfriend. Apparently they were asking a million questions, including if I was a freak in the bed. According to hubby some Mexicanos (well at least the guys he was working with at the time) thought all gringas were "super puta" or something. Guess they had been watching porn with blondes in the starring role. Which I find so funny when you think about all the sexy woman that are CONSTANTLY on the screen.

    OMG, I would probably try and start some kind of revolution if I lived there.... Ay dios mio! Not good. I better stay put!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mexican man here, the reason that mexican think like that is due to American movies and some american series,I have seen in some movies and series that is kind of obligatory to have a slut girl or a slut guy

      Delete
  10. What I wrote above didn't make much sense. The reason I found it funny was because sex and women are paraded on most of the Spanish programs I've seen and yet the gringa girlfriend was being judge on what basis.... not sure.

    Hope you are having a great weekend.

    Ooooh! you did open a can of worms! hehehee

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm with Tara, living in the USA and biting my tongue when my husband watches Spanish language tv programming. He seems to agree that these women are putas, but he still watches the shows, though if I leave the room or start reading (when I've had enough) he will change the channel. He would rather watch something we agree upon and spend the time together than watch tv alone.

    My main objection to all this is the message it sends to women about themselves, young women in particular. My husband wants to move back home in 10-15 years, and if we do that, my daughter will be 20. I don't want her living in a place where she is going to be bombarded with the message that she needs to be a skank to get anywhere in life, or where she will be perceived as being different if she doesn't believe that. There seems to be a real dividing line for women in Spanish language media. You are either smart/funny/ugly/old/sexless or you are hot/skanky/desireable - real life isn't so polarized, and I wish there were better role models for women. And don't get me started on how skin color plays a role in this perception as well! I guess, again like Tara, that I do agree about this being a can of worms. But it should be opened.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I really appreciate everyone's responses... I suppose I did open a can of worms... Didn't I? It's definitely a complicated subject, that's for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Have you also noticed that these half naked girls in the media are all 'European looking'? The 'White' Mexicans, if you will? God forbid a beautiful girl with completely indigenous blood gets on the TV and uses her sexiness to try and sell something. No, no. It's only the fair girls who do that. ... Disgusting.

    ~*~

    Ceri

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my god, a que no puedes! I tried to translate that for my bf and friends once and just have up. That show is definitely more than the sum of its parts

    I love love love your blog. I heard you on TAL and now I'm addicted and can't stop reading.im an immigration lawyer, so I have heard so many different personal stories of people affected by US immigration policy. But yours is very unique. Thanks for being so open, frank, and brave to share you and your husband's story

    ReplyDelete
  15. As a person who remembers the struggle in the '50s and '60s to win acceptance for women who like to express their sexuality, I said, "Good for her," when I heard the story of how you met your husband on TAL.

    But, being comfortable to enjoy being who you are is far removed from being who marketing people want to portray you as being.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am who I am and I feel like the TAL was pretty representative of the real me, so I'm not quite sure where you're going with this? Are you commenting on this particular blog post or about how I met my husband?

      Delete
  16. I also heard you on TAL and am addicted to your blog. I met my husband in Guatemala, so I can share the perplexity of latino culture with you. But luckily we were able to immigrate legally to the US!

    Anyway, we have some Mexican friends here in the US and one time I was over at my Mexican friend's house while his mother was visiting from Cuernavaca. We were watching some show on Telemundo that had skanky ladies on it and I started asking the mom about this very topic. "How can Mexico be such a conservative culture in some ways, but portray such sexualized women on the screen?"

    She agreed with me that the ladies were skanky. But her excuse at the time was that all these skanky shows were not actually "Mexican". She said all the skanky shows come out of Miami! I'm not sure if that's true, but it was an interesting response...because I'm sure that your weather girls and your local papers aren't coming out of Miami, ha ha ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of the shows do come out of Miami. But most of the things I see and was commenting on don't. However, your friend's mom is right, 100%. Those women do not accurately depict Mexican women. However, now that I think of it... it's no more inaccurate than how Hollywood depicts American women.

      I'm so glad you are enjoying the blog. Take care.

      Delete
    2. Very nice Blog u have here Emily, Props to it. While Commenting on this, yes A Que no Puedes is a show made in Los Angeles as well as Machete. The women that come on the show half naked are European, American, or Just South American. I have not seen many real Mexican women getting naked but most yes will put on a small skirt or just a tight dress.

      Delete