WEB EXTRA: Faulty perceptions of American women

by Lindsey Masters

After walking downtown and riding many bus routes last week, I have had an opportunity to really study the people living in Marida. One distinct aspect of the Yucatan culture is evident when you observe the women.

Everywhere you look, they radiate such confidence. It is demonstrated in the way they carry themselves on the streets and hold their heads high. It’s as if they are only living for themselves; no one else’s opinion is important.

This is refreshing, after being accustomed to America’s beauty standards, which are spoon-fed to us by the media.

No one here wants to be 5’10 and 105 pounds; it’s not considered attractive. In the Yucatan, curves are celebrated and appreciated, as our form of stick-thin beauty is “out.”

This confidence is even more admirable though, when you realize how difficult it is to be a woman here. Everywhere you go, passing motorists honk their horns and yell comments or whistle.

This custom is most commonly practiced when local men spot a group of American women. I guess they figure we just enjoy being noticed. We can give thanks to performers like Britney Spears and actresses like Selma Hayek for this standard.

When the people here see American music videos and American movies, they automatically assume that all women must behave like ravaging beasts on the hunt for love (See “I’m a Slave for You” by little Miss Britney).

The women of the Yucatan still are forced to endure the comments, but it’s different from what people like me have experienced.

They have, on the other hand, perfected a method to deal with this harassment. They simply continue walking down the street, as they throw an icy glare towards the unlucky predator. It really seems to put the voracious men in their place.

As you might have guessed, I am certainly working on my technique!