How Is Chile’s Government Cracking Down On Domestic Abuse? By Calling Violent Husbands ‘Faggots’

A federal Chilean public awareness campaign to fight domestic violence has a wonderful way of convincing macho men not to beat their wives: call them faggots. How creative!

You’re a “maricón” — slang for “faggot/pussy/weakling” — if you’re such a coward that you have to hit your woman, argues a new PSA airing on the network Chilevisión — which was until just a few weeks ago owned by, get this, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera; Time Warner’s Turner Broadcast finalized a purchase of the network Oct. 6. (Update: We’re told the PSA is airing on most major Chilean networks.) It might might explain why the PSA was created by the federal National Service of the Woman (Sernam), an organization dedicated to furthering the rights of women. And, evidently, shaming men into not wanting to be mistaken for a homo.

The real twist: The man appearing in the spot is the openly gay television presenter Jordi Castell. He tells viewers (in Spanish), “The real faggot is not a homosexual, but a man who beats his wife.”

Relays Chilean reader Jose, who tipped us off to the spot: “Local homosexual organizations say that the campaign is a good one because it hijacks the ‘maricón’ insult and it gives a new meaning. But I think that it legitimates it, and even worse it makes it comparable to something horrible as beating a woman. You are not a man, you’re a maricón.”

If the ultimate of Chilean pejoratives is being called a faggot, and that gets you to stop hitting your girl, then this is an excellent exercise in persuasive messaging! Because who cares about furthering stereotypes about faggots!

But let’s not forget gays are also at risk for domestic violence. What should we threaten to call LGBT abusers: breeders?

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  • Michael

    He might be on to something. Maybe “faggot” is better suited as slang for women beaters than it is for gay men.

  • Joseph

    Or Harley Davidson riders.

  • Guillermo

    but actually “maricon”, the chilean slang, is closer to COWARD than to faggot. so the author of this article has got lost in translation, cause it cannot be taken litterarly. im chilean, thats why I know. the campaign actually kinda makes sense.

  • Sebastian

    Guillermo. It’s closer to coward because coward is like “not a man at all” so it’s like calling them homosexuals.

  • Sebastian

    So when the call a homosexual in the street “maraco” are they calling him “coward”?


    Ignorant chileans!

  • Daney

    Man, you are way of the mark here.

    Most of the meaning is lost in translation and unsurprisingly, you missed the whole point. I suggest you carry out a minimal research before stating things as you did.

    My explanation to the reader: The word “maricon” DOES NOT mean gay in Spanish. It means coward. Not someone who may cry during an earthquake, but the kind who would kick a small dog in the street out of pleasure. However, over the years the word has been used pejoratively to refer to male gay people.

  • Martin

    Guillermo, your point is taken on the article. So there’s no “lost in translation” here.

  • Martin

    Daney. Look it in the RAE.

  • Martin

    SO if it does not mean homosexual, why is there a homosexual in the campaing making it clear, and why are homosexuals organizations making statements that they are happy whith THIS NEW MEANING?

    because when they see a homosexual in the street people calls them “maricones”.

  • Pablo

    Huevones ignorantes.
    Según el diccionario de la Real Academia Española.


    1. m. vulg. marica (? hombre afeminado). U. t. c. adj.

    2. m. vulg. sodomita (? hombre que comete sodomía).

    3. m. U. c. insulto grosero con su significado preciso o sin él.

  • francsico

    “maricon” is used as a synonym for gay in Chile. in fact commonly first
    was called “maricon”, then “homosexual” and gay lately. use gives meaning.

    Regarding the campaign, includes other individuals and roles as soccer referees who are commonly known as “maricon” having another sense of the word.

    Psychologically speaking is a very good and creative campaign, targeting
    towards the reinforcement of basic concepts, even those trainers in stages of childhood.

    the point is not gay corresponds to discriminate whether queer or not, but
    stop the violence, so if I find worrying is that is specific to
    women, since evil is violence itself.

    another relevant point is the church, who came to the defense of language and saying it is not effective, I find it ironic, the institution historically most violent and murderous, rapist and unequal preaching to the penis to view.
    Maricón es usado como sinónimo de gay en CHile. de hecho comunmente primero se llamó maricón, luego homosexual y últimamente gay. el uso da el sentido.

    Respecto de la campaña, incluye también a otras personas y roles como árbitros de fútbol quienes son comúnmente llamados como maricones. teniendo otra acepción de la palabra.

    Psicológicamente hablando es una campaña bastante buena y creativa, apuntando hacia el refuerzo de conceptos básicos, incluso a aquellos formadores en las etapas de infancia.

    el punto no es discriminar si gay corresponde a maricón o no, sino que se detenga la violencia, lo que si me parece preocupante, es que sea especifico a la mujer, puesto que el mal es la violencia en si misma.

    otro punto relevante es la iglesia, quien salió en defensa del lenguaje y diciendo que no es efectiva, me parece irónico, la institución históricamente más violenta y asesina, violadora y desigual predicando con el pene a la vista.

  • Leonardo Quezada Barcenas

    I’m very sorry you all but “Maricon” it does stand for faggot, in the streer when a homophobic calls a gay men “maricon!” he is not calling him a coward you stupids

  • Jackson

    “But let’s not forget gays are also at risk for domestic violence. What should we threaten to call LGBT abusers: breeders?”

    What do “transgendered” abusers have to do with that sentence or with this story? We can tell that Queerty is written by white people for white people because it insists on using a word created by smug, affluent white people to destroy the identities of gay and trans people and to create and control a fake hybrid.
    You are insulting the intelligence of every reader of this blog, you are insulting people of color, and you are insulting gay and trans kids who don’t need to deal with the baggage created by your attack on their identities.

  • Kev C

    Where do these people live who don’t know what maricón means? Never been called that before?

  • TimBo

    As a gay man who was a victim of abuse many years ago by my former BF I find it offensive to use the term faggot I think they should find a better term to utilize the cowards.

  • diego

    Sorry to all but first you have to know that the definitions given by RAE does not include the actual meaning the word have in certain countries. Every country has a dialect and codes. Into this code we can find lots of meanings for the same word depending on the people who use it, its educational level, the visual records standing for, and the local new trends.
    Inside all this we find that the meaning of this particular word depends just on the situation and the meaning the speaker wants to transmit.

  • Pablo

    So diego, when the call you maricón in the street you get “coward”?

  • Dan

    Most gay chileans are self hating, so they probably don’t get the homophobia in this horrible campaing.

  • Pablo

    Diego. I’m really intrested in your answer.

    I’m guessing you’re not gay. AND you’re Chilean.

  • Sebastian

    It’s obvious that gay chileans are going to invent a lot of excuses in their minds, as we can see in the comments above. The campaing is horrible and it’s everywhere.

    It’s a defense mechanism no to see what’s evident..

  • diego

    I’m gay and from Chile. But I just want to make clear that the meaning of the word could be anyone we want to give. For instance, if you are walking on the street and you hear someones yelling at you ‘maricon’ you may received the homo meaninh, but if you see a man hiting a dog you’ll probably call him maricon but with the coward meaning. Just that, the campain sucks, Jordi sucks too. Regards :)

  • Francisco

    It is like when in the States, in the last few years, people have started using the word gay as a synonym of something that is mean bad, stupid or whatever. Sure, you can use it and interpret it as you wish, but we all know that its pejorative use has hatred behind its use. Now, as the semantical shift has occurred in the recent years get the wrongness of it right away.
    Now, regarding maricón, its semantical shift probably took place a lot of years ago and the new generations got to learn the word with all the other meanings before or at the same time they learned that it was a pejorative word to designate a male homosexual. So its understandable that some just won’t how offensive the word in this particular context or any context at all.

    en fin…

  • hephaestion

    I think it’s a great ad. I see it as a huge step forward for a gay Chilean TV personality to be condemning straight men who abuse their wives. I see no down-side here.

    I just saw Bradley Cooper’s film “The Hangover,” which is wildly popular. In it a man dismisses some losers with “So long, gay boys!” Now THAT is destructive to us. NOT this Chilean ad.

  • Hilarious

    Since when does faggot mean gay? Faggot has always meant sissy. It wasn’t until later people started using it to mean gay and even then it still picks at femininity.

    Regardless it’s still an idiotic slur no one should be using, least of all a gay man, but on the same token I don’t know how faggot suddenly means “gay” rather than sissy.

  • AdonisOfFire

    I’m so glad I got the fuck out of Chile when I was 13, been in the USA for 10 years now and though it’s not perfect I at least can live my life openly without fear of discrimination (and if someone discriminates against me, I can always sue them or beat the living shit out of them).
    Chile might be the wealthiest and most politically stable latin american country, but it is still a backwards place largely ruled by ubber conservative catholics.

  • afrolito

    maricón is a gay slur no matter how some want to spin it.

  • Eugene

    How about a word for word translation of the part of what he’s saying that’s “homophobic.”

    “Ever since I was little, I’ve been called a faggot many times in my life. But what, in truth, is a “faggot?” A faggot is he who mistreats a woman…”

    It’s one thing if he were a straight man using this word. He’s obviously reappropriating it, changing its meaning, and condemning men who abuse women. He’s saying that being a sissy has nothing to do with being gay, and that in fact, it is straight men hitting their wives/girlfriends who are the sissies, not gays.

  • peteNsfo

    Maybe the ad should be:

    Men who beat women are pussies.

    Would that fly? ‘Pussies’ could be thought as offensive as maricon, and people would certainly see the meaning is intended as ‘coward’ & not vagina.

    Is that any different? I do think there’s some truth to the cultural context of the word. Up until about 2 yrs ago, I remember hearing ‘maricon’ on spanish pop radio stations. Today we wouldn’t, but did the latinos change, or did US cultural norms affect broadcasters? I suspect it’s the latter.

    They should re-do the video immediately- it never makes sense to improve one person’s situation at the expense of an innocent other.

    btw… what happn’d to our ‘thumbs-up/thumbs-down’? That was my fave thing about this site??? petensfo at yahoo . com

  • ron

    @peteNsfo: I 1000% agree with every word you said! Men who beat women are the real pussies.

  • Kyle


    You have to be very careful with translation. I’m almost 100% sure that this would not translate well. It sounds good in English, but I don’t think it works in Spanish.

  • Claudio Martìnez Obrero

    Want @peteNsfo say’s is the most accurate opinion in here. Actually, maybe the best translation to the word is “pussy”, at least here, in Chile.
    The hard thing on translations is that you have different languages that organize different conceps from different ideas differently (lol). I mean: most of the language is not easy-translatable like saying that the spanish word for “car” is “auto”. There is not only the denotation of the word but also the connotation of the word, making the translation work unable to be 100% accurate. In fact, I’d say I’ve never read a translation -nor english to spanish nor backwards- that, without footnotes, successfully transmits all writen -said- meanings.

    That said, “maricón” is actually closer to “pussy” than to “coward”, and it is actually closer to “coward” than to “faggot”, and it is actually closer to “faggot” than to “gay”.

    What I am saying, is that this issue is far more coimplex than you seem to think, and requires the overview of several implications absent here.

    Anyways, the add is basic, as most of Piñera’s administration ads, campaigns and politic are.

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