Can Machismo Be Eradicated?

Machismo BeLatina Latinx
Photo credit courtesy of nytimes.com

Machismo is a global phenomenon. Boys don’t cry is a social norm embedded in many families throughout generations the world over. This is especially true in the Latino machismo culture. It is a toxic mantra that has been taught via “innocent” phrases that belittle females or ones used to explain away male behavior. These phrases encourage men and boys to silence their divine feminine and embrace their alpha male in its totality. This machismo feeds into male egos, stereotypes, and legitimizes an unwritten handbook that is severely outdated and is being overturned. 

Today, little by little, these calcified attitudes are being confronted and exposed as we enter a new era of equality in all aspects of life — from splitting housework to the rent. Yet, it goes deeper than a couple’s everyday life. It opens up situations and notions past and present that have been accepted far too long. 

In the times we are living in, it is simply justo y necesario to shut down machismo and move equality forward.  

Machismo and stereotypical gender roles carry huge importance in what is expected from each individual in a relationship. This often casts the role of the male as the main provider of the family. This is changing rapidly because today a one-income family is a thing of the past. The new normal is to go halves on expenses. This erases the belief that the “male” of the relationship (or “alpha” to step away from gender roles) has to provide the income, while the other stays home to cook and clean. Alphas simply can’t afford to have that luxury anymore. 

Whether they like it or not, we’ve moved to an era where the “breadwinner” has to prepare their meals and take care of themselves while their partner does the same to keep the relationship afloat.

We are moving away from gender roles and responsibilities and learning to live as both individuals and as a couple. According to the “Out Of Reach” National Low Income Housing Coalition report: “In only 5% of all U.S. counties (144 counties out of more than 3,000 nationwide) can a full-time minimum-wage worker afford a one-bedroom rental home at fair market rent.” So even if you believed in these old gender roles, they are simply no longer sustainable. 

Sucks for those close-minded, but we are a huevo equals now. 

Fortunately, as a society, and throughout different industries, we strive to continue establishing equality and eliminating machismo. This is true not only in Latin America but worldwide. This can be seen in the #MeToo movement. It is finding the courage and the platforms to finally speak out against violence, sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and be allowed to push forward the conversation of unequal pay and living conditions. 

The #MeToo movement has just scratched the surface of the problem, but can already see positive outcomes such as states starting to ban nondisclosure agreements that cover sexual harassment, introducing more protections, and ensuring survivors get financial restitution. 

The latter takes cases a step further and can help victims to be hopeful that they will be heard. It may also help others feel compassion for women and men who are pressured into staying in a toxic relationship and assist them in finding the courage to leave.

These public and private conversations are not new, and it is crucial to keep them going so the issue is not pushed aside. It means following up with movements, with communities, and being involved with our own families and friends to make sure these old machista attitudes are contested. 

Another way to combat global machismo is through classes to unlearn and weed out the root of this generational problem. These classes are especially in use in Latin America, where machismo is exhibiting a new peak with Covid-19 through the rise of domestic violence. For instance, Quartz highlighted that “within the first three weeks of Colombia’s national quarantine due to Covid-19, calls to the government’s domestic violence hotline increased 142%.”

It is through these consistent collective global waves of resistance that our generation is sparking conversations, which ultimately will help break these traumatic and negative patterns. It is pushing equality in spaces that still allow machismo or #MeToo stories to flourish without punishment. These forms of resistance aren’t always recorded in social media or by media outlets; they will come in different phases.

It’s speaking up to your company’s Human Rights Department when you get uncalled for sexual advances or an unsolicited sexual meme from a co-worker. It is discussing this difficult topic during your next coffee date with your best friend because you notice she is taking on her new man’s responsibilities as her own and letting go of her own goals. Talking to your parents about understanding that the ways they were taught isn’t always the best to follow and sharing ideas on how to move forward with a new mindset. It’s telling your brother that it’s okay for his partner to help him financially. It is these types of conversations that need to be encouraged even if loved ones get offended because the community begins with your close group of friends and family. 

It’s keeping that blind eye awake and alert for opportunities in which as a community we can contribute to fighting global machismo and pushing equality. It’s those hard conversations that should not get shoved aside and will go a long way to help heal these outdated gender roles. Finally.