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Machismo

From Academic Kids

Machismo is a noun of Spanish origin, and refers to a prominently exhibited or excessive masculinity. The word machismo—and its derivatives machista and macho, "he who espouses machismo"—comes from the Spanish word macho, meaning "male" or "manly". (The word macho literally translates as "male", but is applied primarily to animals in this sense.) In Spanish macho can sometimes mean "courageous" or "valorous", although machista rarely has such positive connotations.

As an attitude, machismo ranges from a personal sense of virility to a more extreme masculism. Most machistas believe in conservative gender role ideas. Generally speaking, machistas oppose a woman's right to work, participate in sports, or pursue other traditionally male roles in society. Many machistas also believe it is their right as men to seek extramarital adventures, although women are to remain faithful. Machistas believe that women were created to stay home and be mothers and wives. Thus, most machistas believe firmly in the superiority of men over women.

Some acts of domestic violence against women have been committed by men who consider themselves superior to women, whereby the doctrine of machista such violence may often be called appropriate or justified.

The most common Spanish term for a woman with exaggerated feminine pride is feminista (as in "feminist"), although some Spanish speakers prefer the female equivalent of macho: hembra ("female" in Spanish), as in "Yo soy muy macho, pero tú eres muy hembra" (I am very macho, but you are very hembra). Today, both feminista and hembra are widely used in modern Spanish.

Machismo around the world

Machismo, of course is not only a feature of Hispanic culture, and a more general term might be male

Depending on the country, machistas are viewed with either respect or with disdain. In Mexico, many men consider it an honor to be called a machista. The Mexican actor Andrés García has long been pointed to as a typical example of the Mexican machista man. In Peru, talk show host Laura Bozzo (Laura en América) spends a good number of her shows exposing machista men and teaching them a lesson.

In many cultures, from Spain to Korea to countries of the Muslim world, machismo is acceptable and even expected. In 2004, the Spanish government and Spanish media began to take on the entire concept of machismo, linking it directly to a spate of notorious domestic violence crimes perpetrated by men against their own wives or female companions.

In American literature, a memorable example of machismo comes from Tennessee Williams' character Stanley Kowalski, the egotistical brother-in-law in A Streetcar Named Desire. In the play (and in the motion picture), Stanley epitomises the hyper-masculine alpha male, socially and physically dominating and imposing his will upon his wife and her sister, Blanche Dubois. Bound up with Stanley's aggressive and occasionally misogynist views is a strong sense of pride and honour which leads to his hatred of Blanche.

See also

nl:Macho sv:Machismo

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