I just read a blog entry on Feminism and the propensity to show breasts in support (or lack there of). It made me think about the state of feminism here in Mexico.
First, I do consider myself a feminist. I won’t be baring my breasts to prove it. I try a more underhanded approach. I elect to educate young girls on their options in life. I have done this before and after my move to Mexico but found most young women in the United States, as long as their mother did not have sister-wives, were well on their way to a strong female identity.
Ahh but in Mexico. ¡Dios mío! A long road ahead for many women here. Women are groomed from such a young age that their main goal in life is to find a good husband. The definition of good is a bit rocky as well. In many cases it means – doesn’t hit you, in almost all cases it means – the best financial situation you can muster given your social status.
Then of course there is the ever-present dichotomy of a misogynistic attitudes shaken not stirred with a very religious society. So the women are supposed to just look slutty not be slutty.
One day at the high school I taught at (a very expensive private school) the kids were allowed to wear their own clothes. They normally wore uniforms but this day was an exercise they had been preparing for where the students were putting on a mock United Nations meeting. They were told to wear professional/business attire. The young men showed up in their designer suits, very dapper in deed. The girls came wearing dresses that were so short. and heels that were so high my toes cramped in empathy. My body was taken over by the soul of my little departed grandmother and I had to fight the urge to not go around pulling the bottom edges of these girls dresses down to avoid Paris Hilton paparazzi moments.
I asked a fellow teacher whom I have become good friends with about this. She is from Mexico and told me this is a very common occurrence. This is how the girls dress on their nights out. I asked if the mother’s were all medicated for impending cardiac issues. She laughed and said no, that actually seeing the girls dressed like that made herself and many older women nostalgic for their past.
My husband works in a very expensive gym as a trainer. His primary clients are either young men trying to get a six-pack ab, or older women trying to keep up with the younger batch of hatchlings coming out on the market.
My hubby is 52 and in incredible shape. He gives the older set hope. Ultimately many of the women do not want to invest the real-time it takes and they opt out for surgery.
The simple truth is that once a woman “catches” that man who can support her in the means she desires, she knows he is really given the freedom to go out and do what he wishes. The women know it happens and usually look the other way as long as the marriage and money are in tact.
Do not look down your nose at these women though. It is a society where men make the rules. Especially in regards to wages. The average Mexican woman will not make enough money to support herself well. Certainly not enough to drive a nice car, live in a nice house, and buy nice clothes. Working to survive in Mexico is hard. I have never worked so much in my life for so little income. I have a graduate degree and many skill sets but if my husband wasn’t contributing I would probably not be able to afford this internet connection. My husband is very skilled and educated in his field but he walked in to this gym and they offered him $1,000 USD a month to just be there. He decided to actually work but it was not a requirement.
He looked the part. He is a 6’2” bodybuilder. He looks a great deal like Mr. Clean (in fact my students call him Maestro Limpio – the Spanish equivalent). Ahh but did I fall in love with him because of how he looks? No, indeed it was a reason I debated actually going out with him. I feared he may be a tad narcissistic. He is delightfully down to earth. For the record I am not a svelte figure model. Nope quite the contrary. If the phrase is “More of her to love” than I am set for loving well into the future.
So I go on trying to spread the word to the young women here. I hope to make a difference. Maybe even just one person. Fingers crossed.