The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City

The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City

The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City

The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City

Synopsis

In this compelling study of machismo in Mexico City, Matthew Gutmann overturns many stereotypes of male culture in Mexico and offers a sensitive and often surprising look at how Mexican men see themselves, parent their children, relate to women, and talk about sex. This tenth anniversary edition features a new preface that updates the stories of the book's key protagonists.

Excerpt

Well, I guess I asked for it. I just wanted to know what had changed between men and women in the previous decade in Colonia Santo Domingo, on the south side of Mexico City, since the first edition of this book was published in 1996, and my old friends, Héctor and Norma, had some rather pointed comments to share. During a visit in late 2005, they told tales of adolescent romance and the penalty of ending relationships with girlfriends that Norma’s son, Miguelito, then seventeen years old, had suffered at the hands of the jilted girls. It seemed Miguelito had attracted a series of passionate young women, but that each one was nuttier than the next. After he broke things off with an especially infatuated girlfriend, the family awoke one day to find graffiti spray-painted on their front door:

Goddamned jerk miguel
son of your goddamned mother …

As to why girls were writing nasty stuff on walls, Héctor insisted that changing standards more broadly in society were unfortunately responsible.

“Because morality has been relaxed. They used to tell girls to behave themselves, be serious, almost inaccessible.”

Norma added, “Women are more outrageous now.”

“Yeah?” I said, looking somewhat skeptical.

“I’d say so,” Norma persisted. “Because of schooling. and because of women’s liberation.”

“Yes!” Héctor heartily agreed.

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