Alex Blaze

Chilean ad calls abusers "maricon"

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 23, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics

Here's an ad being run by the Ministry of Women's Services in Chile and promoted by the miners. It says "Faggot is one who beats a woman." has a petition, which was started by a Chilean LGBT group.


Why do they think this will be effective?

Besides the obvious issue with the gay slur, I just don't see how this ad could be effective. In my understanding of spousal abuse, just insulting the abuser isn't going to make him stop, nor will promoting a violent, restrictive version of masculinity (except this time it doesn't include beating your partner!).

These issues are more complicated than the ad would suggest, since it seems to just be trying to make not beating one's partner sexy.

It's pretty much my objection to those PETA ads that use scantily-clad women to sell veganism: when someone is calling on people to be more mature than they are and ignore other messages they're bombarded by daily telling them to do whatever terrible activity the ads oppose, then appealing to the lowest common denominator won't work. Has a frat boy ever gone vegan just because the babe in a bikini was in a PETA ad? If one actually did, did he last longer than a week?

The same principle applies here. If someone lacks the anger management and self-control to keep them from beating their partner, then telling them not to be a faggot won't do much to help anyone. If they are troubled by deeper psychological issues to the point that they're physically hurting someone they love, will shouting, "Only fags beat women!" solve the underlying cause?

I'm not a psychologist, so maybe the people reading this site who work with abusers will say, "Yeah, this is a great ad! If only I thought of calling these dudes faggots, I could have spent a lot more time playing Warcraft! Right on!" But I kind of doubt it.

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Warcraft will fix everything. Just give them a free Cataclysm xpac and all will be fine.

More seriously, though, the trapped miners that became a media hit are endorsing this awful campaign. Here's whet you got for "coalition" with other leftist contingents-- the feminist organizations who designed the campaign clearly had no issue peddling out homophobia and gender policing.

The national HRC equivalent actually partnered with this campaign and insisted that the word was more "sissy" and less "faggot", as in not really referring to gay people. Yeah, right; ask any Hispanic man what a maricon is and sdoes, and we'll see if this is not harmful at all to gay people.

As we have learned, though, these so-called LGBT organizations are more about maintaining access and "coalition" than they are about protecting the community's best interests.

Oh my. I looked that up and here's part of the article I found:

Por eso, consideró que la campaña "refuerza esa tendencia cultural de la sociedad chilena de asociar el término 'maricón' a alguien poco transparente y que no es leal".

El presidente del Movilh destacó que la iniciativa lanzada por el Gobierno "es la primera campaña que ayuda a combatir la homofobia de una manera directa" en el país, porque "establece que 'maricón' o tiene que ver con la orientación sexual, sino con actitudes frente a la vida".

For people who don't read Spanish:

Therefore, [Rolando Jiménez, president of El Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual], argues that the campaign "reinforces Chilean society's cultural tendency to associate the word "maricon" with someone who isn't honest or loyal.

The president of Movilh stressed that the initiative launched by the government "is the first campaign to help fight homophobia in a direct manner" in the country, because "it affirms that 'maricon' has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but only life attitudes."

I've never been to Chile, but maricon means faggot in Argentina, Mexico, and the Caribbean. So....

All I can say is that they're already pretty defensive considering how sure they seem that the word means what they say it means in Chile.

A friend on Facebook warned me away from the story saying that "maricon" wasn't "faggot" in Chile. Just for the record though, she's not Chilean.

Maybe they're right. We are talking about Latin America whose dialect can vary by region and country. Maybe 'maricon' has a different meaning, even so far as slang, than how it's used in other Spanish speaking countries (or more than one meaning). Besides, are we sure it's equivalent to the word 'fag' just because it can be used as a gay slur. I also thought it meant something more like 'sissy.'

Languages can be tricky and knowing those differences are important. I mean think about the difference between the word 'fag' here in the U.S. and 'fag' in Britain for cigarettes. There's a dialect example where a word means one thing here and something completely different in another English speaking country.

Just something to consider. I don't know whose right, but I'd like to know more about the Chilean dialect and perspective before passing judgment on them.

I'd just say you're really stretching if you believe there's any part in Latin American that doesn't associate sissy with gay to begin with. Not to mention the problem in a campaign that substitutes disdain for wife-beaters with disdain for feminine men.

I found a Chilean news source discussing this:

A juicio de Marcelo Aguilar de Acción Gay de Valparaíso, esta es una campaña discrimatoria, mal orientada, pues mezcla un hecho delictivo como es la agresión a una mujer con la condición de la homosexualidad.

A quick translation:

According to Marcelo Aguilar of Gay Action of Valparaiso (a Chilean gay org), this is a discriminatory and misguided campaign that conflates a crime like spousal abuse with homosexuality.

There we go. Chile isn't different.

Thanks for the clarification Alex. I think it's good that you found a Chilean source like that.

I'd just like to clarify something from my own comment. Even if maricon were more closely related to sissy rather than fag, I don't believe it makes much difference considering the direction of the overall campaign which obviously seems misguided. I just feel we should be careful about how we interpret the perspectives of persons, organizations, etc., from other countries and cultures.

The reason is because we're talking about different upbringings, values and biases from our own that we may not understand. Plus, we have our own upbringings, values, and biases that we'd use to interpret their perspectives's easy for misunderstandings to occur even when things seem simple to interpret or understand.

That was all I meant.