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‘Mami, you’re so hot!’ Negotiating hierarchies of masculinity through piropos in contemporary Havana

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Article of journalLundgren, Silje. (Linköping University, Suecia). ‘Mami, you’re so hot!’ Negotiating hierarchies of masculinity through piropos in contemporary Havana.  / 'Mami, eres tan caliente!' Negociación de jerarquías de masculinidad a través de piropos en La Habana contemporánea In  Álvarez López, Laura; Lundgren, Silje; Machado-Borges, Thaïs (Eds.) Contemporary Struggles in Latin America Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies, 2013 no. 9 p. 5-20. Keywords:
Culture | Women's and Gender Studies
La Habana, Cuba, interacción callejera, piropos, piropos groseros, piropos bonitos, homosociabilidad, masculinidad, crítica feminista cubana, nivel cultural


The article analyses the practice of piropos – catcalling, compliments, comments – in Havana street interaction. While piropos are often approached as a form of heterosexual erotic interplay, this article argues for an understanding of this practice as a way to negotiate hierarchies of masculinity. The argument is developed through a comprehensive analysis of the emic distinction of piropos into two categories, piropos bonitos and groseros, that is, beautiful compliments on the one hand, and on the other, rude or offensive comments. Taken together, these different kinds of comments shed light on the role of piropos as part of male homosocial communication to perform masculinity in relation to other men. Furthermore, the article follows up on the distinction of piropos into two categories to explore the classed and racialized connotations of grosería or rudeness in street interaction.

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