Grinding, Metates and Sex

Did I mention that  backbreaking labor was not the only burden borne by women who ground in Mexico? Now this gem (thanks to Michael Coon and Tacopedia on FB)


Buena para el petate, pero mala para el metate”

¡Quien le entendió, le entendió!

Y cabe aclarar que no en todos los casos aplica

Sexist metate images

Good for the mat but not for the metate

Oh dear.  Bing unhelpfully translates this as:

“Good for the backpack, but bad for the metate”

Who understood him, understood you!

And it should be clarified that not in all cases applies (Translated by Bing)

A petate, mistranslated by Bing as back pack, is a woven floor mat. Doesn’t that make more sense of the illustration.

Edit.  I’ve been informed that my last comment “And oh dear, oh dear, oh please, oh please” is obscure and, if explained, shows a lack of humor.

Well, the “oh dear” is a weary exclamation at yet one more image that trades on the assumption that any woman kneeling at the metate is fair game, down there, submissive, butt up, tits out.  I find it hard to chuckle.  I find it much easier to start weaving theories about the relations between machismo and the metate, probably all wrong, but, as I say, oh dear.




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5 thoughts on “Grinding, Metates and Sex

  1. Street Gourmet LA

    It means that a body like that is better in the bed than in the kitchen, and that hotties can’t cook. Of course there are exceptions, it goes on. It has nothing to do with her being fair game.

  2. Dr. Rosa Maria Pegueros

    Bueno para el petate — a petate is the straw mat she is kneeling on (or the bed she could be lying on);
    pero malo para el metate — the metate is the grinding stone; the stone that she uses to grind with on the stone is called a mano — the same word as for “hand.” (The pair together are called metate y mano.)
    So I would say that the interpretation by STREET GOURMET LA is a good one.

    1. Rachel Laudan Post author

      Dear Dr. Pegueros, Thanks for the comment. I don’t think we disagree about the correctness of LA Street Gourmet’s translation (it was Bing’s I was objecting to).

      What troubles me about this cartoon is that it is part of a long tradition of treating women who grind as fair game for sex.


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