MACHISMO IS HARMING WOMEN

When we hear the term macho, many of us think of a macho man. The term Macho is defined as having or characterized by qualities considered manly, especially when manifested in an assertive, self-conscious, or dominating way; Having a strong or exaggerated sense of power or the right to dominate. Every day in Mexico and all over Latin America, women have to put up with lascivious comments or other forms of street harassment. Catcalling is a universal issue and countries like my own still joke about how to distinguish compliments and harassment. (Ortiz, 2018) 

I was born in the U.S and spent all my childhood and part of my early adulthood living in Mexico. I know that the macho culture in Mexico is still very alive today. Women aren’t safe from all harassment they encounter on the streets for simply being a woman. I have been a victim of this many times, and I guess you could call it normal. I even had a man grab my behind and squeezed it like it was a fluffy pillow or something. Many women experience this daily.

The sad truth is that the culture of machismo in Mexico harms women. Everyday femicide is disappearing the women of Mexico. Less than a week ago, the lifeless body of Fatima, a seven-year-old, was found inside a plastic bag with signs of sexual assault. Just a couple days earlier, Ingrid Escamilla, 25, was stabbed to death by the man she lived with, who then skinned and disemboweled her mutilated body in an attempt to hide the evidence. Before Fatima and Ingrid, many other innocent women had been found raped and brutally murdered. Their only crime was being born female in a sexist country.

Mexico still practices sexism and machismo up to this day. Women are supposed to stay home and take care of the family. Women are taught how to cook and clean. Women are also told they are whores and prostitutes for dressing up nicely or when going out. Daughters are supposed to help mothers set the table and serve the boys. In all honesty, many of us grew up knowing by nature that men are known to be superior to women. This is when the culture of machismo or sexism occurs. Although, in the United States of America, while sexism and femicide exist, it is not as persistent as in other countries. Here we are more open and more tolerant towards the opposite sex, in my opinion.

I believe that it all starts at home by building the character of our children. Teaching our children, who are the future, the values and morals. We have to tell our children that boys and girls are capable of anything and that no other sex is weaker than the other.

To all the innocent women who lost their lives because they were out partying with their friends, because they had a dress or skirt, because they looked pretty, because they liked to drink, because they were out late, because they took a taxi to get home “safely” because they were walking home from school. Because at the end of the day, it was their fault they were raped, murdered, and mutilated. The men who committed these atrocities thought at the time, and probably still think, that it was the girl’s fault. These same men who grew up with a machista mentality, believe that women are just a piece of meat.

 

Ortiz, V. L. (2018, December 31). The Culture of Machismo in Mexico Harms Women. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://merionwest.com/2018/01/28/the-culture-of-machismo-in-mexico-harms-women/

Macho. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/macho

Picheta, R., & Gallón, N. (2020, February 14). Newspaper publishes photos of brutally murdered woman, sparking outrage in Mexico. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/13/americas/ingrid-escamilla-mexico-murder-case-scli-intl/index.html

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1 comment

  1. What a great article! Like you I am so sick of women being told they can’t wear this or that, it’s too short, too tight, etc. Men will never hear these words… I have four boys and I tried to make sure they would not be raised as Machos, but I realized that the environment they grow up in shapes them as well. Now they are all men, my youngest is 17 and I have to confess, I just once saw them cry. They try to hide their emotions as good as they can, trying to be tough and adventurous, just what you expect from men, sadly. I am really surprised how peer pressure, school and friends can shape a person. But it is not only the close proximity of influences around a person, but also the wider one. You point very well out, that Mexico is a macho country and I can imagine, that boys growing up there have plenty of role models to show them how a real Macho should behave. To be accepted into their ‘in-group’ they have to behave a certain way.

    I checked out homicides of women on our planet and came across a really good document from the United Nations. They found out that more than half of all murdered women (58%) (Unodc.org, 2018) were killed by their intimate partners or close family members, people they would normally trust. On top of the list were Africa with the most women killed and in close range Asia. One would think of South America as a macho area with the most killings, but the number there was actually pretty small (unodc.org, 2018, p. 10). We should not forget, that they just looked at murders of intimate partners and family members though. You pointed out that men on the streets, strangers so to say, are the one’s behaving in a macho way. The report did not mention anything about those.
    It is very disturbing to see, that women are looked at like a piece of property and therefore can be disposed of by their intimate partners or family members. Change has to start when men are still in the womb of their mothers, so we will have a long way ahead of us to see some change in the future.

    UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME, (Vienna, 2008) GLOBAL STUDY ON HOMICIDE Gender-related killing of women and girls. https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/GSH2018/GSH18_Gender-related_killing_of_women_and_girls.pdf

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