by John Hawkins | February 16, 2011 2:07 am
In Latin America, they’re starting to get a taste of the over-feminization that has helped turn so many American men into sad, little wussies. It’s not a pretty sight,
Ad campaigns region-wide challenge machimso. In Mexico, a new soap opera suggests women dislike macho men. In Chile, a current ad campaign attempts to appropriate the derogatory word for a gay man and recast it as a critique on machismo, saying: “A maricÃ³n is someone who mistreats a woman.” Meanwhile, an ad in Ecuador quotes men saying: “I wash, cook, iron…. My wife earns more than me…. Sometimes I cry.”
“What of it?” each says.
The Ecuadorean ad, which ends on the line “machismo is violence,” was credited by broadcast network Teleamazonas with a 25 percent increase in accusations of domestic violence last year, which often goes unreported. That’s because one way to curtail domestic violence, experts say, is to attack machismo.
Signs of changing attitudes: Men who mistreat women have “a misunderstood idea of masculinity,” says Bernardita Prado, director of domestic violence prevention at Chile’s Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. Her group ran the recent campaign to redefine the word maricÃ³n. Their next campaign, Ms. Prado says, will encourage men to take more responsibility in childcare.
…New television shows ‘promote distinct view’ As machismo comes under attack in popular culture, shows are cropping up with themes that challenge stereotypes. “The Weaker Sex” (“El Sexo Débil”) a telenovela launched this month about macho men abandoned by their women, has the slogan: “As long as we remain macho, we’ll always be the weaker sex.”
Notice that being macho is associated with all of these negative stereotypes. It’s someone who “mistreats a woman.” It’s “violence.” It’s “weaker.”
Hey, Latin America, let me tell you how all this ends: 20 years from now you’ll be watching the Spanish version of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, your families will be starting to fall apart, and your women will be lamenting the fact that men have turned into such wimps.
Yes, there are certainly negatives to immature masculinity that range from acting like a thug, to deadbeat dads, to the find ’em, fark ’em, and flee attitude that has become more prevalent since the sixties.
On the other hand, mature masculinity is what every man should strive for. A mature, masculine man is strong, protects the weak, looks after his family, and is responsible for everything from building the pyramids, to winning wars, to ideas being turned into billion dollar corporations.
Telling people that, “As long as we remain macho, we’ll always be the weaker sex,” is a particularly pernicious piece of propaganda that will only lead to confusion, unhappiness, and regret for everyone involved — including women.
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