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Something we often talk about in Chile, locals and foreigners alike, is where we are socially. Where are gay rights, and abortion rights and racial equality? We sometimes use where the United States is as a point of comparison, for example for gay rights, you might say we’re in the 60s, or maybe the 70s. For abortion rights, we’re certainly pre Roe vs. Wade, as abortion is illegal and a prosecutable offense here.

But what about gender equality? Well, it’s related to gay rights and abortion rights, but in a class all its own. Recent newspaper articles say that the salary gap is the same between women and men as it was ten years ago. Is that still happening in the US? Where does that put us?

I was feeling kind of positive about the move to liberate women with this cutesy ad in the Baquedano metro exhorting women to drop their pumps in the uneven streets, and wear sneakers to work. It’s sponsored by ACHS, the worker safety commission (the same people who graciously gave me many months of physical therapy when I was hit by a truck on my bike on my way home from work). It reminded me of the transit strike in the 80s in NY, which is when women first started appearing in public in tennis shoes and skirts. Admittedly, it looks ridiculous, but take it from someone who walked about a mile in heels the other night, it’s not a bad idea.


It says: Walking’s good for you. Walk safely. Every year high heels cause more than 3,600 ankle sprains, 7,000 commuting accidents and 32,600 days off of work. Wear sneakers to and from work. High heel time is over.

And it made me feel nostalgic, and think, wow, in Chile we have to tell women it’s okay to be comfortable. But at least we’re on the right track (though I don’t see anyone actually doing it). Aww. It gave me the warm fuzzy comfortable foot and back feeling. Sweet. 1980s sweet.

But that was short-lived, because the very next day I was up in El Golf doing a photo shoot (more on this later), when we passed this sign.


1980s? or 1880s? Horrible, woman hating, self-image hating, violent, anti-female, hate producing, sick.

It’s an ad for non-surgical fat reduction (on a woman who is already of normal weight). I know I like all my non-surgical procedures to be carried out with a saw. In fact, I just got a haircut. Perhaps I should have suggested that be done with a saw as well. Imagine the ads!

Chile, what decade are you really in?

There are many more examples, but these two visual interruptions of my regular day evoked strong reactions. And you?