Call out machismo

Melissa Flores Jaimes, Nayra Ríos, Ruti Mejia, Contributors

Augsburg Latin American Students (ALAS) had a workshop about machismo (toxic masculinity) at a previous general meeting because of its predominance in Latinx culture. In the Latinx, community but especially in all students life, they might have engaged or seen machismo. ALAS had at least 25 students attend their general meeting. One of the main partners of the event was Durango Bakery, a Mexican-owned local bakery in Northeast. Supporting local Latinx community members is a way to promote others food and engage members in baked goods.

Machismo is relevant to everyday life: Why is that women are often faced with bringing a pepper spray bottle when they walk outside? Why do women’s social norms put them at home and learning how to cook? Why are men in television shows or in music videos always at higher standards than women? En las telenovelas (“Teresa,” “Señor de los Cielos,” etc.) men watch TV while the women cleans. Women cook while men drink beer at parties. The relationship between men and their sons are close.

Marianismo is a pattern of behavior that is regarded as conforming to a traditional female role (female submissive). A counterpart to machismo, it began with the colonization of Latin America. Machismo is something that we see in our community, and oftentimes we are unaware that is is happening around us. Even we say things that sound like machismo without recognizing what we said.

It was an important conversation to have with many students who noted that it was not only a Latinx social issue; it is seen in many other communities, and it is very difficult to talk about it because people have a misconception about it, and people do not know how to get rid of machismo or improve it. We have the power to give machismo a new deep meaning and to redefine what it means to be a man. Machismo could be reversed and help improve communities on how we run things. This is useful in an Augsburg setting because it brings awareness to the visitation to students who might not have realized that they might be victims of machismo, and the ripple effect changes the community from learning about the conversation about machismo.

Daniel Degollado, ALAS member, believes people should “call [machismo] out because when you call out a man, it is most effective.”

During the ALAS meeting, we talked about ways we can help reduce machismo. A common answer was to call each other out whenever something slips out that would be counted as machismo. Not only calling each other out but leading by example would also be an effective way to prevent machismo, and hopefully reduce it in our community.

ALAS Members at a general meeting discussing machismo. Photo provided by Melissa Flores.

This article was originally published in the March 8, 2019 issue.