Globalization and rapid growth in technology have helped to modify some of the traditional oppressive cultures in most cultural communities across the world. While almost every community in the traditional setting used to have a well-defined structure in terms of gender roles and responsibilities, most modern communities have embraced change and they have discarded the idea of distinct gender roles. Such communities have benefited greatly from such factors as equality whereby women are exposed to and offered the same employment and economic opportunities as men. Consequently, the communities have experienced great economic development considering that both men and women are economically productive in an approximately equal manner (Perez, Josmell, 2012).However, despite the significant changes that the western culture has brought to most parts across the world, there are still some remnant communities that still lark behind and are still characterized by the old and obsolete traditional cultures. Machismo in Hispanic culture has had great influence and effect on the Latin American communities whereby men are praised and given dominance over women.
Having being born and brought up in a Hispanic family and cultural setting that is characterized by very distinctive gender roles, I keep facing some great challenges especially in areas where my personal goals and interests come conflicting with the expectations of the people around me and society at large. I have lacked support in most areas that Iused to think I would major in only to come to realize that the cultural values governing the people around me such as my parents from whom I expected the most significant support, could not allow them to help me in making such moves since they are contrary to the expectations that the society holds towards me. I have also realized that most of my friends experience the same pressure that is imposed on me by the society is also experienced by most people in my community, and the cultural values tend to dictate the living style and duties that every member is supposed to perform.
Machismo dictates most of the aspect in Latin American cultures. A major aspect that is influenced by Machismo concept is the male sexual culture. According to the definition given my machismo, males are expected to be expansive and their sexual appetite is supposed to be almost uncontrollable. They are given the right to quench their sexual desire in many ways that they may opt to, whereas females are restricted to having such qualities. In comparison to men, women are viewed as objects upon which men have total control. Unlike men, women are expected to belong to a single male partner whereas men can have intimate relationships with as many women as they may want (Bull, Sheana, 2010).They are also expected not to have any intimate sexual relationship before marriage and even after getting married, they should stick to their partners strictly. The sexual behavior as dictated by machismo is one of the major causes for pride among men whereby they always try to uphold their manliness through sexual dominance. I have once been a subject to such values right after I completed my high school and I had a relationship with my first boyfriend who carried the mentality that he had the right to control me including my body. One of the reasons that led to the failure of our relationship was his attitude towards women when it comes to the roles they are supposed to play in a relationship (Galanti & Geri-Ann, 2013). While he referred to himself as the head, making almost all the decisions, he required me to remain submissive and obedient to his commands and suggestions. My denial for his sexual demands made us part ways regardless of the many things that we shared over the short period.
Other than sexual oppression, women in a Hispanic culture where machismo values are highly preserved, also suffer from inequality and oppression when it comes to career choice and wage inequalities. To start with, machismo expects that men are supposed to take all the vigorous and demanding careers while women are expected to handle the subtle tasks which require delicate attention and less physical and mental energy. Women are generally perceived and portrayed to be weak and they are therefore encouraged to go for any jobs that would not require them to apply much of physical and mental vigor (Pinos et al., 2016). While such opportunities as engineering, medicine and jobs occupations as pilots are reserved for men, women, on the other hand, are expected to take over less occupying and demanding careers such as teaching, nursing and carrying out the general chores in their houses(Galanti & Geri-Ann, 2013). Such a belief has made so many bright minds of girls to run unexploited in our society. Most people around me in our society still think that I am getting way too educated and they describe it to be a negative element in that I may fail to get a man in our community since I now look like a threat to most of them.
In my early years, I wanted to become a neurosurgeon but my first experience upon making the confession in my class while I was still in my junior class included direct opposition from our teacher who told me and everybody else in the class that such careers are meant to be taken by boys and not girls since girls are emotionally weak and they cannot put with any tasks that require too much of mental energy. When I discussed my disappointment with my parents that evening, my father advised me that I should set realistic goals that I would be able to achieve rather than setting bigger goals and fail to accomplish as that would brand me a failure. Gender roles in the Hispanic culture mainly as dictated by machismo have given men higher economic opportunities and women continue being discriminated at their places of work. Some of my friends who did not go to college still intimidate me by remarking that even after wasting years in school I will never get appointed to be a manager by any organization.
The effects of gender role as witnessed in my community are that the perception that men are strong and fearless has led to many young men indulging into such criminal behavior such as robbery with violence. On the other hand, the assertions that women are supposed to be patience and passive has led to many women getting hurt and victimized both physically and emotionally by their men since they still hold on to the belief that men are typically supposed to be violent, harsh and dictators (Long, Vonda & Estella, 2014).Men are affected slightly by such roles in that they develop aggressive behavior which in turn affects their relationships and interaction with other people(Galanti & Geri-Ann, 2013). There are increased job insecurities among men also as a result of the competitive environment that exists among men as they compete for similar employment opportunities.
Women are greatly affected by gender roles in my community and I have also been a subject to some of the effects, and I still expect much more adverse impacts as long as our cultural values and machismo concepts are not modified. As Hispanic girls, we are imposed to great pressure as men perceive us to be their tools for entertainment and most of them would want to use as to satisfy their sexual desires(Galanti & Geri-Ann, 2013). Even though men keep pushing girls to have intimate relationships with them, they also expect them to be their first intimate partners when they get to marry them. Most of the girls, as well as young women, are denied the opportunities to have jobs and they are also exposed to great discrimination in their places of work (Pinos et al., 2016). The consequences are that most women in our society are financially and economically dependent, and we do not play any significant role in assisting in the fight against global tragedies. Most families end up being subjects to poverty since the women in such families are bound to play the roles of homemakers thereby minimizing any chances that could allow them to earn their own income. Their men, on the other hand, spend most of their income with other women since culture has woven the belief that manliness is defined by sexual dominance, which is in turn strengthened by the number of women a man can handle thereby turning men into sex predators.
Bull, Sheana Salyers. “Machismo/marianismo attitudes, employment, education, and sexual behavior among women in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.” Journal of Gender, Culture and Health 3.1 (2010): 1-27.
Galanti, Geri-Ann. “The Hispanic family and male-female relationships: An overview.” Journal of Transcultural Nursing14.3 (2013): 180-185.
Long, Vonda O., and Estella A. Martinez. “Masculinity, Femininity, and Hispanic Professional Women’s Self‐Esteem and Self‐Acceptance.” Journal of Counseling & Development73.2 (2014): 183-186.
Perez, Josmell J. The Influence of Latino/a Gender Roles and Culture on StudentAchievement and Resistance. Diss. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2012.
Pinos, Verónica, et al. “Perception of gender stereotypes, machismo and marianismo in Ecuadorian adolescents: A focus group study.” Maskana 7.2 (2016): 17-28.
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