>I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I opened the New York Times Online and discovered that this was the first article to come up when I clicked on the “World” section. I guess I should clarify that I get excited whenever they cover Chile in the US Press. Heck, a couple of days ago they were talking about the salmon virus and I read every word.
Anyway, I read the article and I ended up confused. How is it that making out with a bunch of people in a crowded club means that Chilean youth are rebelling? I understand that Chile has the reputation of being very conservative, and it is true that the government is still strongly (and in my opinion, wrongly) influenced by the Catholic Church. The article explains how abortion is still illegal and divorce was recently legalized in 2004. Add to that the inability to obtain the day after pill, increased difficulty in getting oral contraceptives, poor sex education in schools and expensive condoms, and this equals a recipe for disaster.
And kids are having more sex. I agree with that. But what I don’t agree with is that sexual experimentation is a form of rebellion against the “conservative system.”
I think it is more a result of another phenomenon that the article addresses: the internet. I remember back in the day when the Chile Network on Facebook had 5000 people, mostly North American students studying abroad. My host sister used to make fun of me for going on facebook all the time. After I left in July 2007 I was absolutely amazed at the rate which the Chile network grew. Facebook stopped allowing us to see Network pages months ago, but the last time I was able to check it was over 500,000 people. A few months ago my host sister also friended me on facebook…haha.
So what’s different is that kids are on facebook, fotolog, and msn and are able to share their pics, organize these fiestas, etc literally with the click or two of a mouse. Although I haven’t done field research, I highly doubt that these kids are thinking about rebelling against the social conservatism of the Chilean Catholic Church when they are trying to make out with as many people as possible at a party. They are just horny and want to have fun.
If we want to talk about Rebellion why don’t we talk about the Revolución de los Pingüinos? I admit a bias having written my thesis on this very topic, but honestly, these students are clearly rebelling against policies left over from the dictatorship. It would be interesting to see if the same kids that are protesting in the streets during the day are going to these clubs at night to poncear with as many other kids as possible. (On a related note, social networking sites and MSN without a doubt helped [and is still helping] the Pingüinos organize their protests just as it is helping kids organize make-out parties at clubs)
Anyway, I realize this post is not very well researched or cited, but these are my opinions and ideas about the topic. I do believe that it is important to call attention to teenage sexuality, especially in Latin America where sex education is usually lacking, but categorizing it as a “rebellion” is kind of a stretch, in my opinion.