Skepticism

Today is Friday

I’m sitting at home, getting over a bad cold. I discovered this week that one of my friends is “really into homeopathic type medicines.” I told her they were crap. She looked quizzically and started to protest, and I told her I’d listen to her arguments and write about them on this website.

Unfortunately, then I started coughing uncontrollably. So this post will have no good skeptical shoot-down content. Just what I’m thinking about today.

Costa Rica. I was also in Costa Rica. Our lovely Evelyn got me a spot on the trip, despite my not being a geologist. I have no pictures, I don’t even own a camera, except on my cell phone, which I didn’t take with me so I wouldn’t lose it. It was exceptionally beautiful though.

There were a few, shall we say “feminist” incidents. The first I noticed, was when I was in Montezuma, looking at jewelery at the street stalls. All the stall-tenders talked only to my male companion, and did not even acknowledge my presence. In this case, that was good for me and bad for them. I really like to buy things when people try to talk me into it. If they had talked to me, I would have bought something, even though I didn’t want to. I talked to some people in the group about it, and they say that’s just the macho culture.

However, there was this American young lady who went up to a group of Costa Ricans of mixed gender and just started talking to them, and they seemed to all get along, though communication was difficult. Maybe my experience was that the vendors were ignoring me, or maybe they were picking up that I was hiding behind my friend a bit, which I was. I really didn’t want to buy anything, just look.

There was also an incident when we went out clubbing. I was dancing near one fairly attractive guy, and he maneuvered me into a group of his friends who were not attractive, one of whom grabbed me. I extricated my self from his grasp, twice, and discussed this somewhat with the group I was with. The American men said that the Costa Rican men were not used to American women, who behave differently than Costa Rican women. That made me wonder, how does a Costa Rican woman behave?

I call these feminist incidents because I look at them with baby-feminist eyes. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of feminist I am. There are definitly gender-based imbalances in these incidents, especially the second. However, what to do about them, and whether they bother me, those are more difficult to figure out.

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4 Comments

  1. The social norms vary greatly between countries, I don’t know Costa Rica, but since I am from Brazil and I do have a bit of knowledge on the American society (not because I have been there, but mainly through American culture exports) I can say that we here are very different.

    First I must say that Brazil is a very machist country, including the women. This is even worst because it is viewed as problem, by most people.

    When we are out dancing here, people, single people usually are there to “hunt” so if you start dancing around other people they will probably interpret that as a come-on. Most men here would not grab you forcibly, but there are a few troglodytes that would.

    Who bad this would be will depend mostly on where you are dancing, many places are marketed as “hunting grounds” and those places attract more troglodytes. Other places are targeted to alternative people, I would guess would be better, simply because being alternative requires at least some personality.

    So I would guess that my answer to your question, “how does a Brazilian woman behave”, is woman here would choose the place and then would behave accordingly, by dancing around people that they are interested. All of this is hard to foreigners to figure out, since they don’t know either the places to go nor the costumes.

    Just as a PS, I heard that many girls that want to go out and just dance, who don’t want to be approached by “hunting” males, simply go to gay clubs.

  2. Victor:

    Your description of the atmosphere in dance clubs isn’t all that different from what I’ve experienced here in the US. Only, instead of “hunting grounds” we have “meat markets.” Same concept. The people that go there are mostly looking to hook up. And yes, the gay clubs are generally a better place to go if you just want to dance. Better music, too (in the opinion of this straight male). One thing John McCain and I agree on: ABBA rocks!

  3. JSug:

    As I said, I don’t know the US too much, only by movies, series, media and the occasional American tourist. I know that this kind of information is biased, I know that we are indeed different, we for instance are more open to touch and be touched by others, this “personal space” thing that Americans (and other I believe) have is viewed as pure non-sense here.

    I said what I said, because Vera was amazed by being “grabbed”, and this behavior made me remember the same kind of bold advances you may get here if you would go to a “meat market” or “hunting ground” here in Rio, specially if this place is in the fashion and the brainless masses go there.

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