Adversarial Sexism in Hispanic Culture

Machismo.
That’s pretty much all one needs to know about how Hispanic culture deals with women. 
Men have to be macho: bold, loud, fiery, presumptuous, domineering, absolutely certain about everything, and sexually insatiable.  He has to take every chance he can to touch women who strike his fancy, with only the barest pretense of caring whether she approves.  Romance is a distant third priority to raw sexual passion and maintaining a sense of unequal power in as many of his relationships as he possibly can.  Any man who doesn’t enthusiastically exhibit all of those traits isn’t worthy of the term.

Women, conversely, have to be almost all of those things as well, but with one important caveat: she has to expect any man she lets near her to be more so.  If a woman doesn’t thrive on men going off on power trips, or deciding for her what she orders in a restaurant, or carrying her across a room on a whim over her playful, shrieking protestations, then she’s strange.  If she doesn’t find it flattering to have strange men’s arms around her at random during a social event, or to have strange men put their hands on her thighs while she’s sitting next to them, then she’s fria, unsociable, unwanted—but she’s still loose if she doesn’t blush.  Non-Latinos sometimes comment on how overwhelmingly non-demure, energetic, and vocal Hispanic women are, but that only reflects the very specific flavor of submission expected of them.  Latin men are raised wanting to tame a woman, to know that they found someone strong and proved they were stronger.  Latin women are raised wanting to be tamed.  This is a culture that only accepts gay men if they are effete, asexual fops and/or Walter Mercado and which offers no real resistance to the idea of “corrective rape” its response to lesbians.
My parents had a conversation with my sister once about this.  They explained to her that she shouldn’t be quite so openly affectionate with the boy who was courting her and vice versa, after watching him keep his arm around her, his fingers pressing into her upper thigh, while they, her two brothers, and a group of her friends watched a horror film at his house.  She found the advice baffling, even insulting, both to him and to herself.  They emphasized that her friend’s parents, also parents to my sister’s best friend (we’re an incestuous culture that way) were telling her the exact same thing, while telling him to take every opportunity he possibly could to get that close to a girl and exercise his macho prerogative.  And it was up to her, as a good Hispanic lady, to find his advances playfully flattering and simultaneously let him know that she’s not some slag, and that he can’t just do as he pleases, but has to tame her first.
Hispanic parents tell their sons to push their luck with ladies, and tell their daughters not to let the men in their lives push their luck.
This is a society that, perhaps even more than mainstream American/Canadian culture, intentionally creates a courtship dynamic that is, at its heart, adversarial.  Man and woman don’t fall in love here; we grapple and clash, the man trying to see if the woman will relent and be seduced, the woman trying to see if the man has the cojonesto keep at it despite her fervent insistence that he stop.  A woman who wants sex, who wants to be seduced, isn’t following the script, and confuses the entire formula, and is cautioned to show some restraint, lest her ardor lead a man to rape her.  A man who cares about consent and who actually backs off when he’s rebuffed isn’t following the script, and gets dismissed as an ineffectual, passionless, sexless lump.
It’s trivially easy to develop a Nice Guy complex in Hispanic culture.  This culture is tailor-made for Pick-Up Artist-style douchebaggery and particularly punishing toward anyone who doesn’t thrive on displays of bravura, impulsive belligerence.
Hispanic parents explicitly raise their sons to be the kind of men they tell their daughters to avoid.
Let that sink in.
If there is any culture that needs, desperately needs, feminism, it’s this one.
{advertisement}
Adversarial Sexism in Hispanic Culture

20 thoughts on “Adversarial Sexism in Hispanic Culture

  1. 1

    This is especially true among the Caribbean Hispanic cultures and those hailing from the South American countries where most of the population is in poverty. West Indian cultures like Trinidad and Jamaica seem to have a similar macho courtship dynamic as well.

    I'd wager that the more empathic men of these populations are less likely to embrace machismo behavior because they realize that underneath all the bravado is typically a very insecure adolescent adult male who needs to feel admired (or feared) at the cost of personal dignity and integrity. If he ever stops following the macho “script,” as you aptly called it, he'll lose the sense of power and influence over others that he has spent a lifetime developing in place of a healthy sense of personal identity and agency.

  2. 2

    This is especially true among the Caribbean Hispanic cultures and those hailing from the South American countries where most of the population is in poverty. West Indian cultures like Trinidad and Jamaica seem to have a similar macho courtship dynamic as well.

    I'd wager that the more empathic men of these populations are less likely to embrace machismo behavior because they realize that underneath all the bravado is typically a very insecure adolescent adult male who needs to feel admired (or feared) at the cost of personal dignity and integrity. If he ever stops following the macho “script,” as you aptly called it, he'll lose the sense of power and influence over others that he has spent a lifetime developing in place of a healthy sense of personal identity and agency.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *