Gender Inequality In Mexican race Families
Pictures this you are a young woman living in Mexico. You have just finished high school and you have your whole life ahead of you. You are filled with anticipation and excitement for what the future has in store for you. Then your parents tell you they don’t expect you to go to college and get an education, but instead get married and start a family. This is what your mother did and her mother before her did too. So you comply and get married to a man of their choice because that seems like the only logical solution. At first, your husband is perfect. He is hardworking and protective. He is brave and cares for you, but over time the qualities that made you fall in love with him are the reasons for the demise of your relationship. He is possessive and controlling. He monitors your schedule, expenses, and wardrobe. He is aggressive with you- sometimes even physically violently. You are expected to stay home all day and attend to the house. Your husband considers you his property and says that he owns you. You will never be able to leave him because you are his wife. This is not the life you envisioned for yourself. What happened to all those amazing qualities that made him so chivalrous? Why is he like this? This is behavior is referred to as machismo. Machismo in the most basic terms is a strong and aggressive masculine pride. This behavior is dominant in the Mexican culture. Although many of the notions previously expressed seem outdated to you, they are still predominantly active in Mexican culture. They are not at all similar to the progressive ideals expressed in America or perhaps in your household. Women are strong too and capable of anything you might say, but in Mexico, this is not the case. In this essay, we will examine the origins of machismo, how it affects various aspects of a person’s life, compare it to American culture and evaluate machismo today in time.
What exactly does it mean to be a man, or a “macho”. The macho is the better man. The better man is the one who can drink the most, sire the most, defend himself the most, dominate his wife, and command the absolute respect of his children. You have to be the provider of your home and family. You are the only source of income and it is your responsibility to tend to the needs of your entire family. You must protect them always and put them first. You must be brave for them when they are not. At least this is what it was intended to me. Mexican families have long taught their children that regardless of their age or gender, el hombre is to be respected and that a woman is to be nurturing, and is the parent responsible for the caring of the children. Some of these admirable qualities can also become dark. The macho can be angry and aggressive. He does what he wants with women, many times using physical violence to get their way. They are rude and stubborn because it demonstrates how strong they are- no one can get through them.
To truly understand machismo we must evaluate how it is initially introduced into a person’s life. Machismo is usually introduced to young boys at an early age. Mexican parents give their sons more freedom than their daughters because daughters need to be safely guarded. The son is strong and independent. These ideals of having to be strong and “manly” are programmed into a child through a process called socialization. A person has many agents of socialization but their main one is their family. An agent of socialization is a social group, institution, or individual that provides structured situations in which socialization takes place. Socialization is the process of learning and internalizing the values, beliefs, and norms of our social group. In this scenario, the social group would be Mexicans and the norms that they would be internalizing is the macho behavior. In Mexican culture this encompasses a variety of aspects, beginning with gender roles. Gender has been studied as a social construct where at a young age, children are taught appropriate gender roles through the process of socialization. For example, girls are allowed to cry and be sensitive, while boys are told to be rough and tough, and taught the importance of what it means to be a “man”. Through socialization, males are also taught to regulate certain emotions, because displaying emotions like crying is associated with weakness and is perceived to undermine their manhood. Young girls are taught how to cook and clean, while young boys are taught how to play sports and fix a car. The distinction begins from such a young age that this behavior seems completely normal to all parties involved. As you can see, machismo is a learned behavior that is ingrained into a man from a very young age. This plays a great role in explaining why it is so difficult to change these men.
If you are not macho you can be shunned by your family. It’s the Mexican equivalent of bribing dishonor to your family. This can also create anomie. Anomie is the term used to describe the alienation and loss of purpose that result from weaker social bonds and an increased pace of change. Men who are not strong and tough are frowned upon. This can be seen through the label of mandilon, which is given to Mexican men who embody the opposite of what it is to be “macho ” This is a reference used towards men who help and share the household responsibilities and duties with their wives. This is often perceived as a negative label of a man wearing an apron. . Accordingly some men construct their idea of masculinity based on this idea. Men who are not manly enough are deemed undesirable by other men, women, and Mexican society. This also explains why men continue the cycle of Machismo. This is all they know and they will pass it on to their sons. Their sons in turn will pass it in because none of them know better.
Machismo sexual behavior is a source of pride for males and men must prove their manliness by upholding their sexual dominance. Extramarital affairs are the primary way in which males prove their masculinity. By having sex with a variety of women, in addition to their spouses, men demonstrate their expansive sexual appetite. This demonstrates one of the negative aspects of this mysognic behavior. Having extramarital affairs can leave their partners vulnerable to diseases such as AIDS, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases. As you can see this behavior can have deadly effects on men and their partners.
Machismo also gravely affects women.
Women are expected to remain virgins because in the Mexican community female virginity is praised; so women are expected to enter a marriage without any prior sexual encounters. If women don’t follow these norms, they are often shunned from their communities. Their worth is based on their purity, therefore once they don’t have it they are deemed worthless. No man will want to marry them and no person will want to associate with them. Their life will be ruined and their communities excommunicate them. Their personal life becomes everyone’s business. It is hard for a woman to be anything other than a wife with machismo intact. Machismo culture has led women to believe that they weren’t capable of doing anything but housework. They didn’t know what it’s like to have money or make decisions with it. These women don’t have the freedom to pursue a career or anything that doesn’t involve being a good housewife. It is devastating the lengths to which machismo controls and ruins lives.
The effects of machismo are also visible in the Mexican government. One prime example of this is the former leader of Mexico, Fidel Castro. He was notoriously known for being homophobic. In 1965, the regime established prison work camps known as Military Units to Aid Production, into which it deposited homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other “undesirable” elements. Thue was oftentimes stripped of their jobs and income on the sole fact that they were homosexual. Machismo is so deeply ingrained into a Mexican man mentality, that this behavior is completely normal. This is what they were taught and they don’t know another way.
Machismo also greatly condones violent behavior. For example, research has found that violence committed by Mexican men has been used to retain their image of dominance and authority. Violence has often been used to assert dominance over a woman and keep her under control. This type of machismo is highly active, especially in the Mexican media. One example of this is Mexican telenovelas. They depict machismo at its fullest.