Sociology Index


Machismo is the public display of characteristically masculine behavior. Machismo is the quality of being macho; male virility, masculine pride and a show of this. Machismo is the strong or exaggerated sense of masculinity stressing attributes such as physical courage, virility, domination of women, and aggressiveness.

The word machismo is identical to Spanish and Portugese word, though its meaning varies. Spanish and Portuguese meaning of machismo refers to the superiority of males. In the sense machismo means sexism or male chauvinism.

Machismo in Latin America

The term machismo has been used in many different, quite often contradictory, ways. Evelyn Stevens described machismo as a cult of virility whose chief characteristics are "exaggerated aggressiveness and intransigence in male-to-male interpersonal relationships and arrogance and sexual aggression in male-to-female relationships.

The Dictionary of Mexican Cultural Code Words reports ... machismo meant the repudiation of all feminine virtues such as unselfishness, kindness, frankness and truthfulness. Machismo meant being willing to lie without compunction, to be suspicious, envious, jealous, malicious, vindictive, brutal and finally, to be willing to fight and kill without hesitation to protect one's manly image.

Machismo meant that a man could not let anything detract from his image of himself as a man's man, regardless of the suffering it brought on himself and the women around him.