After years of struggles, women have managed to gain a place in society. Unlike our mothers and grandparents, we are free to choose whether to get married, have children or simply dedicate ourselves to a career. Women’s empowerment is here to stay! Unfortunately, this image of a well-resolved woman does not please everyone. There are macho men who believe that women are weaker and less capable, which is absurd. Do you know how to recognize such a person? Do you know how to identify it? In today’s text I will explain what machismo is and what we should do to deal with this issue.
A survey carried out by UN Women showed that 95% of women and 81% of men interviewed consider Brazil to be a sexist country. According to the research’s final report, they still demonstrate difficulty in dealing with changes in social organization and, therefore, constantly seek to reaffirm their masculinity. In addition, 3% of men consider themselves quite macho. The research aimed to understand how people feel about this topic and how we can evolve into a society with more equality and more dialogue between genders.
In today’s text we will address:
- What is machismo?
- Why do men feel superior to women?
- The dangers of machismo
- Everyday macho situations
- How to identify a macho man?
- How to fight machismo?
- Do your part
What is machismo?
Many people still ask themselves “what is machismo”? Machismo is a set of thoughts, facts, attitudes and customs that make men believe that they are superior to women. The macho behavior justifies and promotes behaviors perceived as discriminatory against women. It is related to the differentiation of tasks according to gender and the belief that men have more rights than women.
Society, culture, family, school, media, are always sending messages about what a “real man” should be. Then, in their socialization process, men build their masculinity, which is often impregnated in this macho ideology. The problem with this type of belief is that it can lead to gender-based violence.
Why do men feel superior to women?
Over the centuries, the role of men has gained greater recognition and prominence. They were the providers and protectors of the clans: they hunted, fished, faced animals to protect the group. Women have also discovered and dominated their environment (many have discovered medicinal plants to heal and save the clan, for example), but this role has never been enhanced or recognized. Over the years, with the emergence of family, state, private property and division of labor, the hegemony of men remained and they had more and more privileges. Although things have changed in recent decades for women – who have gained recognition of their rights – in some parts of the world the supremacy of men remains a sad reality.
The dangers of machismo
The privileges that men have enjoyed for centuries led to the development of the macho ideology, but it also imposed a series of obligations to be fulfilled. To show their power they had to repress emotions such as tenderness, suffering, pain, fear, shame. At the same time, there was a development of violence. Many men who have not learned to solve problems through dialogue, empathy and respect feel that they are the owners of their girlfriends or wives and therefore have the right to take away their freedom, autonomy and, often, even life. Hence the seriousness of the macho ideology.
Everyday macho situations
two weights and two measures
We tend to live in many situations where a double standard is applied simply based on sex, which limit women’s freedom and minimize our ability to live a safe, independent and enriching life. They are stereotypes that range from the idea that girls should show more self-control and education than men, the way they use their bodies to express themselves, in addition to supposed natural abilities of boys and girls. Men and women must be seen as similar, we must always fight against this differential treatment imposed by society. Both sexes must have the same rights and privileges.
It is one thing for a man to open the door and not care if you do the same for him; another is that he categorically refuses to accept your offer. Order your drink or dinner without asking your opinion. Once it can be enjoyable and you can even appreciate the detail, especially if it knows your tastes. However, when he does this every time, it is a warning sign. Benevolent sexism, considered protective and chivalrous, is linked to the idea of masculinity. Furthermore, it considers women as moral objects, pure and worthy of worship, protection and provision for men. The negative effect of this is that women can be considered incapable and always dependent on men.
Machismo in the media
Many programs marginalize and depersonalize women and create harmful ideals of masculinity for men. Most people concerned about their children’s well-being and their future do not actively strive for entertainment companies to improve their programming.
Machismo at school
We let our schools teach sexist lessons and continue to use sex-organized systems. In many schools, children are immersed in an educational environment that erases the historical contribution of women, sexualizes girls in old-fashioned terms (such as rules of appearance and morality) and provides hierarchical examples differentiated by sex. Children need to know what machismo is so they can learn to fight it.
How to identify a macho man
The image of a manly, strong man with a strong character sounds very attractive to many women when they imagine an ideal partner. To some extent, there is nothing wrong with these qualities. The problem is when the woman confuses masculinity with rudeness, strength with aggression and the ideal man ends up revealing that he is a sexist. In order for you to identify what sexism is and whether the man is sexist, you should pay attention to some signs that act as alerts and analyze whether you want to continue the relationship or talk openly about how to correct it.
- It hinders or prevents women from expanding or expanding their knowledge (for example, going to college or starting a course).
- He wants to control the way a woman thinks, dresses or behaves.
- It separates women into distinct groups: to marry and to have sex.
- It tends to be blunt or dismissive.
- It has a certain air of superiority.
- It can be bitter and / or vindictive.
- He doesn’t want his partner to have male friends.
- He thinks it is enough for the woman to be happy.
- He doesn’t want his partner to go to parties.
- Try not to talk about your feelings for fear of losing control, or because it is considered a sign of weakness.
- You don’t accept that you’re wrong.
- Do not apologize.
- Try to take advantage of everything.
Relationship with a macho
Often, women feel that this behavior is a kind of protection and affection, however, eventually, they realize that it goes beyond that. A woman involved with a macho man may develop psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety associated with low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and insecurity. In some more serious cases, this relationship can lead to physical aggression and even death.
If you live in a relationship with a sexist, try to talk to your partner how you feel. If he is not receptive, seek help in making a decision. Women should seek psychological help, support from family or friends and even legal assistance.
Is it possible to change this thinking?
There are women who, although they perceive this behavior, decide to remain with the man with the illusion that, eventually, he will change. However, it is very difficult for this type of change to happen if he does not seek professional help. Hopes are further reduced when we realize that changing mentality in macho men is easier when it happens from childhood.
On the other hand, one of the obstacles in the attempt to transform is that, generally, these men do not recognize or admit macho behavior. In fact, in many cases, they do it unconsciously, as they are behavioral styles learned throughout life. For real change to take place, they need to recognize that they have a problem and strive to change. In addition, that goal eventually requires developing a greater degree of introspection and recognizing your problem.
How to fight machismo
Machismo must be combated daily, in attitudes of our own daily life. Here’s what you can do to help fight this problem:
A man washing dishes should not be a cause for celebration or high praise, it is a task that both can do. There are no papers at home for him or her. Both can take care of the children and clean the house.
Sexuality is still a space in which the man is invited to be a specialist and the woman is ignorant or submissive, but with the task of “always being ready”. It is not true, we women are also a sexual person and we have the right to live our sexuality fully. Nobody is in the sexual service of their partner, both are there to satisfy each other.
When choosing a profession
Professions and trades exclusive to women or men should not be established. Nursing is not just for women, medicine and engineering for men. Choose your career based on your tastes and affinities, not stereotypes and beliefs.
There is nothing wrong with a woman in a leadership position. Capabilities are not defined by gender, but by personality, experience and preparation. Don’t mind the opinions of men who tend to diminish their achievements or who will distill small doses of pessimism. You are able to be a boss and command men and women.
Night environments are spaces where masculinity is believed to predominate. When women go to these places to have fun with friends, the questioning about their morals begins. Going out to have fun is something healthy that everyone is entitled to.
In physical effort activities
Do not reproduce phrases that are common in sport like “play like a man”. Quite popular expressions like this disqualify women and say that the male gender is superior. Women and men are able to perform physical exertion activities, there is no history that only the male sex is apt for this.
With your children
Do not reinforce dress stereotypes or affinities. If your daughter likes blue and plays football, don’t correct her by saying phrases like girls must like pink and play with dolls. This would only serve to teach machismo to your children from an early age.
Do your part
Machismo is not only in men, some women have macho attitudes without realizing it. Consulting all the information you can find on the topic is essential to reinforce your knowledge about machismo, gender violence and feminicide. Review your concepts, explain to your friends and family what machismo is and how we can fight it. This is a fight that can be defended by everyone and, if each one does his part, we will certainly have a more egalitarian world, with less prejudice and violence.