Machismo is the Spanish term used to describe men who act with an over-exaggerated kind of masculinity. It’s the sense of being “manly” and it where a man takes the responsibility to provide, protect, and defend his family.
In Latin culture, this is more than a word, it’s accepted and most of the time even expected so men can live up to this word.
In Mexico, which is where I come from, family is the most important. Growing up my mother was the heart of my family. She would always work and when she got home she would still clean, cook, and care for my whole family.
My sisters were also expected at a young age to clean and learn how to cook. As for my father, he usually worked, made family decisions and his “authority” was hardly ever challenged by my mother, sisters and brother.
When my father came back from work I would hardly ever see him clean or cook. As for my brother, it was the same thing, he was never expected to do anything around the house, unlike for my sisters and me.
When I was younger, I never questioned my family about this, I just thought it was normal in a family. As I got older I learned about the word, machismo. This word explained everything about how things were in my family.
I understood why my father and brother were never expected to do chores because of how they were expected to be “manly” and it was a girl’s job to do the chores. I see machismo as an issue because I feel like my brother should be expected to do the same things as my sisters and me.
It’s unfair because my brother now has that mindset where he thinks his job is only to work and he thinks he has the upper hand just because he’s a “man.” I’ve never seen my brother as powerful, I’ve always seen my mother and sisters as my idols. In my family I think women have always lacked self independence, if it wasn’t for this I think my mother would be considered as the head of the family.
Machismo has always been an issue. I’ve seen it from my family, being passed to my sisters family, and I’ve seen it in my uncles and aunts family. The traditional ideas of machismo should stop being passed down in families because it’s toxic masculinity.
The younger generation should stop continuing this and should practice how to make decisions along with their partner. In order to achieve true gender equality then the ideas being passed of men being macho should be stopped.
Instead of letting men live up to the word machismo and expecting men to act a certain way, we should normalize letting men be vulnerable and allowing them to help out around the family. That it’s not only their job to protect the family, but that everyone in the family should protect each other.
Everyone in the family should be able to have a voice and not rely on one person to make the decisions for them.