How to Rid Yourself of the Expectations Derived from Machismo

Machismo BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of ipsnews.net

A wife is met by her husband’s animosity when she steps out of traditional roles at home by refusing to cook dinner, young girls imposed earlier curfews than a brother’s, a woman receiving insults for turning down a man’s advances, and a girlfriend is scolded for interrupting her man during his chat with the boys during a night out. Males’ response to feminine behaviors derives from sentiments of being emasculated, humiliated, or disrespected that set off a ticker ingrained in the gender for centuries.

Machismo (male chauvinism) has long lived in the Latino culture. If you’ve dated a Dominican, Cuban, or Latinoamericano, you may be familiar with attitudes associated with this extreme demonstration of masculine pride. Sometimes, we can look to fathers and brothers to see how the old world’s beliefs affected some of the men in our families — often characterized by a feeling of power that creates a lack of accountability and ignores consequences for poor conduct. 

Machismo doesn’t only exist in the Latino culture. It’s rampant in some patriarchal societies all over the world. It perpetuates views leading to a sacrifice of respect for women in the name of this gender bias. In defense of men, a vast amount of them don’t know anything different; it’s what they’ve learned from their cultures.

The younger years of a woman’s life are often filled with excitement, no assumptions, and a great passion for love. Our choices in partners do not always make sense. However, over time, maturation and experience shape desires, needs, and expectations for relationships. Acquiring the right balance of what makes us happy in a relationship is tougher than it seems. Things become even more challenging when raised in a culture that nurtures the belief our men have to be “a man’s man.” Male chauvinism is still prevalent in some societies due to continued archaic views that women should be the submissive sex. 

It’s important to understand that male chauvinism can be encountered in a personal or professional setting. The macho man at work can be more difficult to deal with than the one at home. However, either way, an experience with this type of character can have lasting implications on our psyche. Still, there are things to help with the challenges that come from encountering the behavior.

  1. You are not inferior. You are an equal. Reject the belief that “Boys will be boys.” Excusing despicable actions will not eliminate the problem. Ignoring it opens an opportunity for an aggressor to continue his behavior. 
  2. Take back your personal power. Accountability is crucial; don’t allow anyone to get away with making you feel powerless. Use your voice to express your discomfort or distress. 
  3. You are not responsible for other people’s actions or did anything that warranted mistreatment of any kind. 

The effects of machismo go beyond the surface. Having a relationship with someone of this mindset creates impossible expectations for a modern woman. In a man’s attempt to set boundaries, he limits you from individual growth. 

Assumptions such as a woman’s place is in the home; she should stay in her lane, take care of the kids and cooking, is not entitled to me time like outings with friends, or have a right to state a claim in the relationship’s balance of power are detrimental to her emotional health. These connections are costly for women being conditioned to live within these restraints. It is not uncommon to come out of this type of attachment, believing you are not enough, and that is a tightrope to walk, but there is a way to remedy the problem.

Although expectations deriving from machismo are difficult to shake, building self-awareness and self-love assist you in returning from submission. These are pillars of strength most needed to overcome the manipulation that occurs during these love affairs. 

Start with trusting your decisions, have faith that you know what is best for you. If your partner acts in a way that makes you feel bad, it is time to check yourself. Do what gives you a sense of worth, don’t give up your dignity for any amount of love.

Fear is not your friend, don’t be afraid to speak your mind or in your defense. Of course, be mindful of your language and tone but don’t be scared to lose. Stop worrying about what people may think of you; your feelings matter. If you feel you made a mistake and embarrassed, know that it’s okay to experience all these emotions, just don’t despair.

Change is not easy. When people get accustomed to a particular way of being, it is work to bring on something unfamiliar. If you are with a man with machista tendencies, beware, once you succumb to the rules of his game, he will resist any changes to the game. Your part is to bring in confidence with a touch of empathy. He may not know anything else. 

If the relationship and man are worth it, talk to him about whatever makes you unhappy. Hopefully, if you both do the work, the relationship can transform into something beautiful. In cases, a morphe can happen with a caveat, and he has to want to change. Machismo is a learned behavior passed on generation to generation; therefore, the effort has to exist.

Machismo has strings attached and not only affects the interactions between you and your partner, they have an impact on your life as a whole. The more he gains control, the less of you there is for everyone else, including yourself. 

Set your own boundaries and be clear on the value you bring to the table. Relationships are a give and take, an exchange of personalities, cultures, ideas taking time to settle into place. However, the biggest driver of any relationship is first to have a real understanding of who you are and what you deserve. This type of character’s expectations can be intimidating, but if you stand strong with your convictions, keep your eyes wide open to the truths that appear before you, then it will be easier to see the signs.