Hombres y Machos: Masculinity and Latino Culture

Hombres y Machos: Masculinity and Latino Culture

Hombres y Machos: Masculinity and Latino Culture

Hombres y Machos: Masculinity and Latino Culture


"Should become a standard reference point for future gender research among Latinos & among men in the United States." Latino Review of Books "This is a much-needed book in gender studies, destined to make an impact & to have a place in the thriving field of men & masculinity." Maxine Baca Zinn Michigan State University


Several years ago I was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation research fellowship to carry out a study of Latino men and the role of the father in the family. I took a leave of absence from my job at the University of California at Riverside and was in residence as a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University. I was a professor of sociology and ethnic studies at the time and had written a number of books and articles on the Chicano experience and the Chicano family and gender. Indeed, one of the factors that led me to undertake this study was the experience of co-authoring a book about Mexican women in the United States with Evangelina Enriquez.

La Chicana proved to be very successful and we each took a great deal of pride and satisfaction in the product; it was like a child that resulted from a dynamic, volatile, and incredibly stimulating relationship. When we undertook the project we were certainly not prepared psychologically for the daily conflict and tension that would ensue. We noted in the preface to the book that while the Aztec codices detail a neat division in the social order and in the roles of men and women, they do not provide a prescription for harmony between the sexes (Mirandé⊥ and Enríquez⊥ 1981, ix).

There was never any question at the outset of this endeavor that we had an inherent respect for our undertaking and for each other; but, alas, we had failed to anticipate the tension and lack of harmony that could arise when two modern-day members of the opposite sex decide to undertake a book together about one sex (1981, iv-v).

To say that there was "a lack of harmony" is undoubtedly understated. The truth is that we fought constantly about the book. Our relationship became a microcosm of the larger societal issues and tensions that we were describing, a story within a story.

While working on La Chicana, I learned many important lessons. But by far the most important lesson I learned was that as a man I was obviously limited in my ability to understand the Chicana experience. When I used the word chingar or chingada, for example, I was only able to do so in a somewhat clinical and detached way without fully understanding its symbolism for women. Though Evangelina and I agreed that the verb chingar was an . . .

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