What does Machismo mean in Spanish and Where did the term Macho come from?

The Spanish word for male is macho. Machismo is the Latino idea of what it means to be a man.

It includes such notions as courage, virility, honor, toughness. It usually implies that men are superior to women and rightfully hold authority over them.

At its noblest, machismo means providing for one’s family, keeping one’s word, standing up for what is right. At its crudest, it means violence, swagger, sexual prowess, and domination of women.

Virtually all Latino males are aware of the concept, though whether or how they carry it out varies greatly.

Anglos tend to know the word machismo only in the cheap, ridiculous sense embodied in the Village People song “Macho Man.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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