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Handbook of Communication in Cross-Cultural Perspective


This paper examines meanings of a Spanish term for communicative action – piropo – and a range of practices in the Spanish-speaking world that are subsumed under the term. The archetypal piropo – a male making unsolicited flirtatious or sexually oriented comments to a passing female of reproductive age whom he does not know – has correlates in Anglo-America in the form of catcalls, but it encompasses a wider range of practices and meanings. The concept and activity of giving piropos are closely linked to cultural beliefs about gender and gender roles, the performance of masculinity, and appropriate behavior toward unacquainted fellow humans in public places.