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Machismo is a noun of Spanish origin, and refers to a prominently exhibited or excessive masculinity. The word machismo—and its derivatives machista and macho, "he who espouses machismo"—comes from the Spanish word macho, meaning "male" or "manly". (The word macho literally translates as "male", but is applied primarily to animals in this sense.) In Spanish macho can sometimes mean "courageous" or "valorous", although machista rarely has such positive connotations.

As an attitude, machismo ranges from a personal sense of virility to a more extreme masculism. Many machistas believe in conservative gender role ideas. Generally speaking, machistas oppose a woman's right to work or pursue other traditionally male roles in society, such as participating in sports. Many machistas also believe it is their right as men to seek extramarital adventures, although women are to remain faithful. Machistas believe that women were created to stay home and be mothers and wives. Thus, most machistas believe firmly in the superiority of men over women.

Some acts of domestic violence against women have been committed by men who consider themselves superior to women, whereby the doctrine of machista such violence may often be called appropriate or justified.

The most common Spanish term for a woman with exaggerated feminine pride is feminista (as in "feminist"), although some Spanish speakers prefer the female equivalent of macho: hembra ("female" in Spanish), as in "Yo soy muy macho, pero tú eres muy hembra" (I am very macho, but you are very hembra). Today, both feminista and hembra are widely used in modern Spanish. In Hispanic cultures, women who display male-like characteristics or interests, are also identified. In English-speaking cultures, these women are typically called tomboys. In Mexico, the term used for this type of woman is mari-macha (i.e. both Maria and Macho).

See also

Marianismo - The Female equivalent


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