Chilean Women

Today we decided we would all do a group blog on Chilean women. My post is below. Leave a comment when your post is ready so I can link to you and let the fun begin!


I feel strangely ambivalent towards Chilean women. I’m not angry that the majority of them don’t seem to want to be friends. This might be because they assume that as a Gringa I won’t be here long enough to get to know — I myself did that to a group of Gringas the other day. They walked up to pet my dog and started asking questions about my life here. I answered and was polite and friendly, but as soon as I heard they were exchange students I didn’t offer them my phone number or feel any real need to put an effort into a relationship that wouldn’t last beyond six months. So, assuming that’s part of the cause behind the lack of Chilena-Gringa friendships that I often hear about, I can relate to that.

But, I think it may go deeper than that. I don’t subscribe to the theory that Chilenas are jealous of Gringas. We’re not all blond and cute. There are plenty of ugly Gringas that come to Santiago too with whom Chilenas could make friends if they wanted, yet I don’t see that happening. I actually think it may just be the intimidation factor.

We’re foreign, we’re exotic to Chile even if we’re as typical in the U.S. as pumpkin pie and chicken soup. We tend to be loud and when on study abroad, way overexcited about things in this country.

Chilean women most likely look at us and think, “These girl seriously need to calm down. About everything.”

And of course, the fact of the matter is that this country has beauty standards that don’t match what the average Chilean person looks like — the ad spreads tell them they should be tall and blond. By nature of our gene pool some Gringas do look like that, thus fueling the Chilean man’s lust for foreign meat.

A friend said she thinks Chilena women are no less bitchy than women in the U.S. That may be so in some parts of the country, but not in all. For example on a bitchiness scale of 1-10, 10 being Shannen Doherty and 1 being Minnie Mouse, I would give Midwestern Gringas and Chilenas an 8, while Southern women would rate a 5 because of their impossible niceness. So it depends on the kind of interactions that you’re used to, as to how standoffish you’ll find them to be.

I think it may also depend on social class. In general lower socio-economic people seem to be kinder, nicer, more willing to open up their homes, etc. High socio-economic people in Chile, often referred to as “cuicos,” are snottier. They look down their noses and talking condescendingly to everyone in their paths. The women have a special way of doing this — they had the dimuitive form on the end of every other word. And as the cuicos popularize this form of speaking, it’s spreading and catching on like wildfire amongst all social classes. “Quieres tomar un cafecito en la tardecita? No? Ok, chaoito!”

I think that Gringas may sometimes mistake this condescion as being specifically targeted towards them because they’re Gringas, not realizing that a high class woman does this to everyone she meets simply because she’s cuica. When you live in a foreign country, it’s sometimes easy to blur the line of struggles that you specifically as a foreigner need to deal with because you’re a foreigner, and things that happen to all people that live in the country just because that’s the way the country is.

I don’t have a lot of Chilena friends. As I’ve said in previous posts on the subject, I don’t think it’s because they all hate Gringas. I think that the entire Chilean culture is an extremely closed one. It’s a culture made up of total distrust, and there are stats to back me up on that. Chileans, or Chilenas specifically don’t want to be friends with Gringas or anybody new, regardless of where that person comes from. Yes, I’ve had a few bad experiences with Chilenas — once a girl told me that now that I was marrying a Chilean man, all Chilena women were now obliged to hate me because I “stole one of the few attractive, educated Chilean men out there.” But, I’ve had some good experiences too — my one and only Chilena friend really helped me out with some family stuff and has been nothing short of awesome in the ways she’s been there for me.

So really, my generalization isn’t that all Chilean women are bitches, simply that they’re very hard to get to know.


  1. lydia says:

    … mines up.

  2. Florencia says:

    my post is ready!

  3. Sara says:

    Mine is ready too.

  4. Florencia says:

    What a very interesting post, Kyle.
    It is true, we are a very closed up society. Imagine having the Cordillera to one side, the Ocean to the other and the deserted ice to the south. That only leaves the north, which isn’t very populated either because of the desert. Not a very sociable country!
    As to social classes, you are also right about more popular classes being more open and warmer.
    Upper social classes pride themselves on being what they think is “English”: phlegmatic, I think is the word. Unfortunately, although I am not a millionaire or anything, I have to say I’m not the most outgoing or most talkative person. Otherwise I might not have a blog and spend my time actually talking or visiting with more people.
    There is also the timing factor, about which I spoke in my own column. It doesn’t help, unless you work with someone from abroad and have the chance to get to know them in spite of their short stay.
    Intimidation rather than jealousy sounds good to me. Ni todas las gringas son rubias y altas ni todas las chilenas bajas y de pelo oscuro. But we do take things more calmly (I’d have to see if that also happens when a Chilena goes abroad, hhmmm) and don’t like heads turning on our account, which might explain some more of the distance. Personally I couldn’t care less if someone stares at who I’m speaking to whether she’s blonde or a loud talker. As long as the conversation is interesting.
    There are many things in common in all the posts. Glad to know we can strike a cord together about this, sad to realise I’m part of the group in analysis.

  5. lydia says:

    one weekend about 2 years ago i had the opportunity to be the only gringa among 8 chilenas my age at a cabin getaway… it was the turning point on my “make chilena friends” goal. turning meaning…U turn. i realized that no matter how hard you try and how good a certain event may go, theres a huge jump to forming a real bond.
    since then i also have felt rather ambivalent about the matter. i would love chilena friends, but there are a number of factors that really get in the way.
    like you, i think the assumed length of stay has a lot to do with it. and,
    I think class does too, as i’ve had opportunity for interaction with both (a rich chilena may be put out of her element in the presence of someone seen as “more rich” etc, but similarly a lower class chilena may be more open but at times the class and experience difference may be a real downer or hurdle. a gringa may act humble but it does not change the fact that she still probably has more resources available to her, at least if things were to come to an emergency)
    still… as you said, i dont think it has much to do with jealousy. there are probably jealous moments or feelings but i dont think its the root.

    your comment on pumpkin pie and chicken soup cracked me up. an average girl US standards is assumed to be a perfect 10 here.
    i happen to be one of those tall blonde gals, but it would NEVER be believed here that i was desperate for a prom date or that an ex dumped me for “not being pretty.”
    i think their critique of foreigners is MUCH more relaxed, but it would be good that word gets out “we dont feel as hot-stuff as you think we are.”

  6. Emily says:

    Mine’s up. And I would like to add that several of the posts I’ve read so far make mention of the fact that their authors didn’t vote for this topic. So, people who DID vote for it, where are you?!

  7. Shannon says:

    Mines ready!!! I can’t wait to read everyones now!!

  8. Jessica says:

    mine´s up. some interesting perspectives so far! :)

  9. Shannon says:

    They are hard to be close with, that’s for sure. The only “real” when I say real they accept me, we don’t do anything outside of partying, anyways, they are my husband’s friend’s girlfriends. They come over, we hang out get wasted, but at the end when they are talking to each other planning different outings such as shopping and what not, I don’t make the list. Nice huh? Oh well, I have come to accept the fact that I will probably never have real chilenas for friends.

  10. Maeskizzle says:

    My post is ready.

    Yeah, as far as making friends with Chilenas, what has worked for me is LOTS of contact with them. I feel like they like to have history with a person. It also helps to find “your crowd” in a place. Actually, this is key. My crowd here in Chile, seems to be the architects and graphic designers. When I moved to Valpo several years back, I specifically chose to live in a big newly renovated house with lots of students so as to meet people and make friends. It worked. And luckily for me, the house was full of architecture students (they are my people here) because there was lots of space for maquetas (models). I met so many people, because all of their friends would hang out at the house too. We made lunch together and fumamos puchos juntas, me invitaron a carretear, tomamos sol en la playa (San Mateo), I made little trees for their maquetas. jejeje…it was a good time.

    I’ve also met a lot of Chilenas playing capoeira. And we hang out every now and again.

    Strangely, where I expected to make friends – at the U, it didn’t work out. I liked my classmates and all. We had a bit of onda, but we never hung out outside of class and plus they were working and studying and pretty busy.

  11. Mamacita Chilena says:

    Florencia, to make this fair, what if we did, “How Chileans perceive gringos,” for the next group blog? That way you can write the truth and we can write about how we THINK we are perceived.

  12. Mamacita Chilena says:

    Heather, I think it helps that you have developed a look that fits in here. I feel like upon first glance a Chilean MIGHT think you’re a gringa, but they also might think you’re Chilean. And you speak better Spanish than any other gringa I’ve ever heard in Chile.

  13. Sheabel says:

    i just posted mine!

  14. kumichan83 says:

    southern girls are friendly? well at least not if you are a minority.

    pretty messed up what that chilean girl told you. it reminds me of things i have read about how black women feel when they see black men with white women but that is just another can of worms i will leave unopened.

    i decided not to post on this since i have little to say besides my MIL and SIL are very cool and Chilean stewardesses are very nice.

  15. Abby says:

    Hey Kyle, I couldn’t help myself and did a post on Chilean women too. You can include it if you want, although technically I’m not an ex-pat yet.

  16. Amanda says:

    Mine’s up. I need a glass of wine after this one!

  17. Renée says:

    Interesting and strikingly similar perspectives. (Mine’s up now too.)

    I still can’t believe that there are so many of us bloggers living so closely together. Providencia represent! :p

  18. Clare says:

    Mine is up! Sorry its late.

  19. Sara says:

    I sort of figured that was what you’d be called and I’m jealous. How’d you get that gig?

  20. EvilJoy says:

    I still maintain that all women are bitches.

  21. Maeskizzle says:

    I voted for this topic! Lots of people said they didn’t vote for the topic, but contributed anyway, thanks! I liked the topic, even though I didn’t feel like I had anything particularly insightful to say about Chilean women. And it seemed appropriate since we’d just blogged about their counterparts. It was interesting reading everyone’s posts because I’d had a lot of the same impressions. I totally agree with you Kyle that Chilean women (especially in Santiago) are hard to get to know. Like you say, because of the “desconfianza” issue. Not all are like this, but with many I feel like there are barriers to getting to know them and being chummy with them.

    I had lots of similar impressions about women upon arriving here in 2004, but had no one to comment them to, so I forgot about them. I should’ve had a blog.

    Anyway, I’m enjoying the group posts and am excited for the next one. I found all of the topics that we voted on interesting. Although, I must say, I probably won’t be posting much til after el dieciocho, because I’ll be quite busy until then.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Hi, just want to say that in this and other posts, you are just saying how chilean people treat you, and you are always expressing in this blog all the time your opinions frequently negative about the chilean culture.

    I am just curious about how you treat the chileans, I mean the first thing that comes out of your mouth is about negative things of the country and people?

    If that so, I wouldn´t be surprised the way chilean people react toward you.

    Well, just curious.

    By the way, sorry for my not good english, I’m mexican.


  23. Cachorrita says:

    I have lots of Chilean women friends. I think they are much like the men though, the only ones who are going to be friendly to expats are those who are a bit more cultured and have traveled. Or those who are married/dating expat men.

  24. Meredith says:


    i finally wrote something :)

  25. Leigh says:

    Mine’s (finally) up, too!

  26. Lisa B. says:

    OK, it’s been years (and years and years) since my first visit to Chile as an exchange student, but I remember that lots of the girls in my school were constantly inviting me over or asking me to go hang out with them (which I did and we had nothing but laughs). When I was unhappy in my first host family, two chilena sisters of my acquaintance invited me to come live with their family instead (which I did, and it was bliss). In fact, I only recall one chilena who was ever not nice to me, and she was just the kind of self-centered person you will find in any country. And before you say I must have been so ugly they weren’t afraid I’d steal their men, I must note that they nicknamed me “Lady Di” because they said I resembled the then-soon-to-be Princess of Wales;-)

    On my subsequent visit years later, I again had a wonderful time hanging out with various chilenas and was welcomed by them and invited out with them. I’ve always thought that chileans in general of both genders are very warm, welcoming and generous people–at least they were to me. Maybe things have changed a lot since I was last there.

  27. amanda says:

    midwestern girls an 8? really?

  28. chilean chica says:

    How awful what that chileana said to you! Sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience with some chilean women.Trust me. we not all like that some of us are actually nice people.
    Don’t judge all of chile based on some rude people.

  29. jessieamelio says:

    i visited your site n was good enough then othere site that i visited last month

    study abroad

  30. jessieamelio says:

    i visited your site n was good enough then othere site that i visited last month

    study abroad

  31. A real Chilean says:

    This was the most idiotic thing I have ever read in my life. Chilenas are not outgoing or nice? Because they are jealous? What the f-ck? Are you serious? There are rude people everywhere in this world, no matter what country you go to, you will bump into an asshole. Please don’t stereotype Chileans especially their women with your moronic blog.


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