What is Machismo?

What Does Machismo Mean

We explain what machismo is, what types of machismo exist and what its effects are. Also, the history and origin of machismo.

Machismo promotes stereotypes for both women and men.

What is machismo?

Machismo is an ideology that considers women an inferior being in one or more respects with respect to men. Machismo is based on a set of beliefs, social practices, behaviors and attitudes that promote the denial of women as subjects.

The areas in which the female gender is marginalized can vary and in some cultures all forms of marginalization occur at the same time . We can find the roots of the term in the word male, which designates male individuals of any species .

This ideology not only attacks the feminine gender, but also against all those attitudes classified as feminine that an individual of any gender develops . Machismo despises any attitude or way of life of a man that is not aligned with the stereotype of masculine : strong, superior, provider.

See also: Gender Equity

Types of machismo

  • Familiar scope. In this area, machismo usually occurs in families with a patriarchal structure in which men have more freedoms , rights and benefits while women have more obligations and restrictions.
  • Intimate or sexual environment. In this area, machismo denies or silences female desire and places women in the place of passive subject or object.
  • Economic scope. In this area, machismo occurs when a man intervenes in the management of his female partner's money or when an employer grants a lower salary to a woman only because of her gender.
  • Historical scope. In this area we can find sexist acts when the actions of women and their participation in politics, revolutions and other historical events are hidden or omitted.
  • Intellectual field. In this area, acts of machismo are seen when someone considers and reproduces the idea that women are less apt to carry out certain analyzes or tasks.
  • Legislative scope. In this area, we can find that in some countries there are no laws that recognize women as citizens of law and that protect them from mistreatment.
  • Cultural and social scope. In this area, machismo shows the female gender as a body that must be exhibited for male enjoyment.
  • Anatomical area. In this area, macho acts and attitudes are evidenced when male physical force is used to dominate women or the possibility of deciding on their reproductive health is restricted to them .
  • Linguistic scope. In this area, language is used to ignore or suppress the capacities of women or people of another gender.

Origin of machismo

We can find the roots of machismo in primitive societies , nomadic communities that were dedicated to hunting. In these societies, both men and women were assigned specific tasks : men went hunting and women had to take care of household chores, herding and caring for their offspring.

Even the religious model of the first civilizations positioned deities according to their gender. There were, on the one hand, the hunter and warrior gods and, on the other, the goddesses of fertility and the home. These roles are common in almost all Western societies .

Thus we understand that the guidelines of conduct that govern men and women have an ancient origin, but that does not mean that they are correct or egalitarian . Machismo is responsible for making extreme and degrading versions of these roles that benefit men and harm women.

These gender stereotypes are transmitted from generation to generation through different societies, cultures and religions , and are the main origin and cause of sexist ideology.

Examples of machismo

  • Salary differences. The workplace is one of the scenarios in which gender inequalities are clearly manifested. These inequalities are rooted in a macho conception of access to management positions and equal pay for men and women. The emergence of women in the workplace was one of the greatest achievements of gender equality in the last century, thus addressing widespread gender stereotypes.
  • Gender violence . Violence is one of the most reprehensible consequences of gender discrimination produced by sexist ideology. This type of violence is based on gender discrimination and the use of physical force.
  • Housework. There is still the belief that the domestic sphere is an exclusively feminine territory. This conception of the role of women is usually transmitted within a family from generation to generation. The creation of these types of stereotypes encourages differences between genders.
  • Access to vote. Women's suffrage was one of the main conquests of the last century. Until then, voting in elections was the exclusive right of men. However, there are still countries in which access to this right is not equitable.

Consequences of machismo

  • It generates unfair and unequal societies. Machismo is a social problem that impacts all members of a community or society. Gender differences cause an imbalance in access to opportunities both in the workplace and in the social, economic and political spheres. Machismo fosters inequalities and creates gaps both ideologically and in social attitudes and behaviors.
  • It encourages violence. Machismo is one of the main causes of social violence. This violence can be physical or psychological. It is the duty of all members of society to break down discriminatory practices that may lead to irreversible damage to individuals and groups.
  • Encourage roles and stereotypes. Machismo defines individuals according to their gender. It uses prejudice and discriminatory attitudes to form stereotypes.
  • It generates a harmful concept of masculinity . Machismo extends the idea that there are feminine and masculine characteristics, highlights a series of characteristics that men must possess (firmness, strength, not expressing feelings or vulnerability) and discriminates in a man any attitude that is branded by machismo as feminine.

    These stereotypes of masculinity can generate an emotional imbalance in men.

Machismo and feminism

The feminist movement repudiates all kinds of gender discrimination.

When defining both concepts, it is important to keep in mind that feminism is not the opposite of machismo. On the contrary, feminism is a social movement and ideology that vindicates the role of women in the private and public spheres .

Feminism seeks to break down the preconceptions and stereotypes on which the macho ideology is based. Many of these concepts and stereotypes are deeply rooted in the collective and individual imagination of both men and women.

The feminist movement is made up of individuals and groups that struggle to generate social awareness and actively demonstrate in repudiation of all types of gender discrimination. Feminism defends gender equality to eradicate the disparity that exists in the domestic, work, social and cultural spheres between men and women.

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