For reasons that, as a nonnative Spanish speaker, I have never been able to fathom, taco has two separate and utterly unrelated meanings here. In one usage, a taco is a traffic jam (¡un tremendo taco!). I’ve seen many of those in Santiago (though I generally get around public transportation here, I did have to drive yesterday and found myself briefly bumper-to-bumper at rush hour).
|In Chile, women wear tacos.|
In another instance, in Santiago, I saw a woman on high heels while using crutches - perhaps the ultimate example of “unclear on the concept” - to get around the city’s infamously uneven sidewalks, which can be treacherous enough for those with sensible shoes and total orthopedic health. In fact, at one time, even Carabineros policewomen dressed in skirts and (relatively low) heels that would have made it difficult to run down a malefactor - not to mention their disadvantages in a hand-to-hand scuffle. According to Carabineros lieutenant Guisela Soto Valenzuela, “We have used trousers since the year 2000, thank God, because for women in operative units it was difficult to run with skirt and heels.” Now part of the security detail at the presidential Palacio de la Moneda, the 25-year-old Soto Valenzuela adds that, “In any event, the default option in the palace detail is trousers and boots.”
There are signs, though, that the everyday default option of heels continues to change. According the daily Última Hora, the Asociación Chilena de Seguridad (Chilean Insurance Association) and Sernam (the national women’s service) have begun a campaign to get Chilean women out of their heels and into sneakers, at least to get to work. Their statistics tell them that heels cause 800 multiple contusions, 830 hand and wrist contusions, 1,400 knee contusions, 3,600 ankle sprains, and 7,000 accidents en route to or from work, at a cost of 32,600 lost work days.
|On the Metro, tacos are not recommended footwear.|
|Even if well-intentioned, a campaign against sexist violence used cluelessly homophobic language.|