Gender Equity Center Defines Machismo

Students consider the history of the term and determine its future


Jeffrey Davis, Photo Editor

The term Machismo means the strong or aggressive masculine pride. The term was discussed by the Gender Equity Center (GEC).

Peer Educator of the Gender Equity Center, Yvette Ibañez hosted the discussion at the (GEC) on Nov. 29 to explore the complexities of machismo.

Ibañez asked how the attendees defined machismo before explaining the different scholarly interpretations of the word.

“My definition of machismo was just a man who thought they were in charge of the household…that was it…cause that’s what I knew,” said Ibañez.

The word rose to prominence in the 1950s through the 1960s and its widely accepted definition perpetuated gender normative roles in the Spanish culture and community. Male dominance and other associations invoked chauvinism, violence and infidelity.

The UN reported more than 2,500 deaths of women occur in Mexico every year by gender targeted violence. The group questioned machismo’s link to feminicidio—the act of killing women due to their gender—and drew parallels to rape culture in America.

Millennial America still struggles for amicable relations between feminismo and machismo communities.

“There’s a movie called Moonlight… it has to do with the African-American culture, but it deals with [machismo] too…it’s not called machismo, but it’s there,” said student Caroline Huizar.

Other cultures continue to reconcile masculinity with changing gender expectations. Still, others argue machismo does have its merits.

Citing a report, Ibañez says, “[Researchers] have reportedly pointed out that positive characteristics consistent with machismo or caballerismo are nurturance, protection of the family, honor, dignity, wisdom, hard work, responsibility, spirituality and emotional connectedness.”

Macho translates to Ejemplar in Nahuatl culture, but means, “one who is worthy of imitation,” or, “enlightened one.” The discovery invited optimism to challenge the negative gender-specific perception of machismo.

The room emphasized speaking to people around them regarding machismo culture and the next generation for progress.

“Nothing is going to happen to you if you cry and release your emotions or if you just help around the kitchen,” said student Hiba Dhiyebi.