Machismo is more relevant than ever in contemporary society as phrases like: “When you’re a star, they let you do it … Grab them by the p****. You can do anything” gain national attention for a presidential candidate. Machismo is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a strong sense of masculine pride (an exaggerated masculinity) or an exaggerated or exhilarating sense of power or strength. Machismo is neither indicative of masculinity nor a symptom of being male. However, machismo is emblematic of a tendency to undermine the non-masculine and its value in our society. The depreciation of the non-masculine, which is not solely limited to females, hurts society as a whole. In order to eliminate gender inequality, men and women must collaborate.
Comments like the ones Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump made in the video released last Friday regarding his ability to overpower women propagate a culture which makes women feel unsafe and undervalued. Granted, Trump is a misogynist and represents a small portion of the population’s ideas about women. However, sexist comments like Trump’s affect both sexes because they divide the human race. Instead of being equally valued, we are separated into categories; victims and perpetrators; dominators and dominated. Being male by no means equates understanding machismo, but men play an equally important role regarding its dissolution. For that reason there are movements to educate young men on rape culture and sexism.
We all must work together to improve the perceived value of women’s work in our society in order for equality to manifest itself as a reality.
Equality means a respect among all people. Misandry, or deprecating masculinity, is as unhelpful to society as machismo. Misandry should not be confused with raising awareness about the disparities between the sexes, which is generally misconstrued as an attack on masculinity. Illuminating the inequalities and the manners in which women are meant to feel undervalued and unsafe in our society allows us to introspectively understand inequality. Criticizing the opposite gender is not the aim of movements which seek to promote equal treatment of women. In contrast, criticising society and contemporary customs, many of which favor masculine values, is helpful to understanding how and why equality exists.
A culture of inappropriately sexualizing women, or, reversely, bashing on masculinity, degrades society as a whole. Undermining the value and contribution of either gender promotes a divided and conflicted culture of tension and domination. By respecting all experiences and encouraging communication, we can create an inclusive culture of honoring both sexes contributions to society. This dialogue will in turn equalize the status of women in society with that of men, and promote a culture of respect. By cultivating respect through open dialogue, a society in which all people feel comfortable and valued can come to fruition.