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No matter how zealously modern society fights gender stereotypes, in the mass consciousness, a man has always been a breadwinner, a warrior, a conqueror, etc. But evolution is an uncompromising thing, and the qualities inherent in primitive males evolved along with them. Now strength is manifested in the ability to earn as much as possible in order to be alpha against the background of other males. But there are those whom evolution not only did not touch at all, it literally passed them by, leaving behind a modern man with the mutated habits of Pithecanthropus. Interestingly, machismo can be used not only for men, thus, being rather a character trait than a genetic characteristic.
How to Distinguish Machismo
Machismo is a manifestation of aggressive masculinity, a desire to show one's superiority or ordinary male chauvinism. Historically, machismo originates in America, based on the Spanish idea of the ideal honor, religiosity, patriarchy, arrogance, boastfulness and so on. A certain archetype of a conquistador with an attitude towards a woman as a thing. In psychiatry, the phenomenon of machismo is considered from the point of view of self-affirmation and struggle with internal complexes, in particular, an inferiority complex (Melnyk and Morrison-Beedy 68). Constant self-affirmation due to the manifestation of chauvinism is the norm for such men.
If machismo is manifested through adherence to gender norms, such as “a man must be a leader, strong, stubborn, courageous”, then this is normal and is a manifestation of masculinity. Hormones sometimes take their toll, and no one is immune from an excess of testosterone (Wentzell 66). But some men perceive this image in a very distorted manner, starting to present themselves as action heroes.
Inevitably, several important questions of an ethnic gender nature arise at once, which will help us to better understand the essence of machismo. For some reason, the model of male behavior, which was formed in the course of specific ethnogenetic processes in the countries of Latin America, has become, so to speak, intercultural standard of "maleness". Indeed, in most traditional cultures, one way or another, there is a dichotomy of sex-role attitudes, which prescribes a man to be a strong producer. But it was Latin American machismo that began to “export” its fundamental values. Secondly, if the features of Latin American machismo have such a strong appeal that they become a model for imitation, then what, in fact, is the original essence of the most machismo normative code? It is also interesting to trace whether machismo evolves and what factors contribute to this process (Wentzell 68-69). Such thoughts generally lead to a conclusion that machismo is not directly tied to culture, supporting the idea of a character trait that certain people take up throughout their lives.
Where Machismo Can Be Found
In one way or another, machismo is found everywhere in modern society. That mostly starts with domestic tyrants. In public, the man is a loving dad who raises a real warrior. He likes to give advice as an older and more experienced representative of the species. And at home, he mercilessly breaks the child's psyche by imposing his sophisticated life principles and attitudes. He also treats his wife like a thing, turning into a kitchen prince, while as a man he is nothing.
Others exude their alpha maleness on the streets, clinging to passers-by, making extremely stupid and unfunny jokes about them. The watermelon-bearing category looks especially funny: thin guys spreading their arms while walking, like Mr. Olympia. Someone charges his rusty “wheelbarrow” with music to the eyeballs and at half past one at night cut in and drive around the sleeping area. Others assert themselves at the expense of the weaker ones. Well, as without the banal boasting of material wealth. And if there is no dough, it does not matter, you can do the same if you live on credit (Melnyk and Morrisson-Beedy 67-68). Thus, in males, machismo can take a variety of forms and manifestations, largely depending on men’s character traits.
Machismo, however, is not limited to men. In his study of machismo among medical workers, Stephen Dinniss noted that older female doctors might attempt to humiliate younger female interns or actively demonstrate their superiority in skill, experience, the scope of knowledge, or anything else related to their practice (929). This research is extremely significant to understanding machismo as it plainly demonstrates that this is a character trait limited to every particular individual.
As psychiatrists say, all the problems come from childhood: some parents dislike some, some, on the contrary, and some, by their nature, are simply not smart. The boy grew up, but the habit of compensating for childhood injuries with antediluvian animal methods remained. So, you have to hide your extremely capricious character behind the manifestation of gender characteristics. Such behavior becomes the life credo of many men, who subsequently begin to piously believe in their exclusivity and genuine masculinity, causing irritation, anger, ridicule and condescension among sane people.
Dinniss, Stephen. "The Machismo Of Medicine". BMJ, vol 319, no. 7214, 1999, p. 929. BMJ, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7214.929.
Melnyk, Bernadette Mazurek, and Dianne Morrison-Beedy. Intervention Research: Designing, Conducting, Analyzing, And Funding. Springer Publishing Company, 2012.
Wentzell, Emily. "Time And Collective Biology: Relationships Between Individual And Societal Life Course Ideologies In Mexican Men’s Sexual Health Treatment". Anthropology & Aging, vol 42, no. 1, 2021, pp. 66-80. University Library System, University Of Pittsburgh, https://doi.org/10.5195/aa.2021.232. Accessed 9 Mar 2022.
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