Common dating rituals in south america
Not just annoying or uncomfortable – it was downright threatening.
During these incidences, I often wondered whether I was simply being too reactionary – too soft – and that other women might not find it a problem.
How on earth could a grandpa ever think it was socially acceptable to leer at a young woman like that?
As I spent more time in the continent, I quickly came to learn that this wasn’t an isolated incident. The machismo element of Latino culture seems to practically demand that men make these types of comment, and I received them so often that I almost stopped noticing.
We were both dressed for the July humidity; denim shorts, a thin, loose, sleeveless top, hair tied back, sunglasses over our eyes, umbrella on an arm. I wanted to see what treatment she received from the occasional groups of boys and men that punctuated each corner. As we approached a group, I saw their eyes switch to her body.
I saw them look her up and down, lips stretching into smiles.
Hell, they might even enjoy the attention that I found so problematic!
Walking through the narrow streets of Cuba’s capital of Havana one day, I found myself behind a Cuban woman and slowed my pace.
Maybe I became expectant that this behaviour would come my way, so noticed every time. I’m sure I picked up on it more often than my fellow travellers.But a female traveller will also face prejudice around the world, in the form of sexism and discrimination, misogyny and objectification.She will have to deal with the resulting fears that may arise. Should she actively alter her behaviour, or her style of dress?In India, I was respectful to the point of deference, because I knew how important the act of covering a woman’s shoulders, cleavage and knees was to the local culture. I can easily say I’m probably more self-conscious than most women.I often feel people’s eyes on me – or rather, I continually notice where the people around me are looking – and I knew that I was often being stared at.