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How Machismo is Beneficial to Our Culture

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Machismo is Part of Our Culture

From the 1940s to 1970s, the Chicano Movement was founded amidst racism in the United States to achieve equality and to empower the Mexican American community. At the height of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, the Chicana Feminist Movement, influenced by white feminism, also came about. Fighting against male dominance and the patriarchal system, the Chicana Movement emphasized and critiqued the widespread sexism that could be found in the Chicano Movement. As can be seen in Marcela Christine Lucero-Trujillo’s poem “Machismo is Part of Our Culture,” the speaker represents a Chicana worker questioning the double standard regarding what was expected of Mexican American men and women (Lucero-Trujillo, Machismo is Part of Our Culture). Reformist in nature, the Chicana Movement aimed at redefining the identity of Mexican American women as an integral part of the Mexican American political mobilization.

Throughout the poem, the speaker depicts the patriarchal ideologies embodied by the Mexican American community, and through her tone, mocks the difference in the status and social expectation of the two genders. By clearly identifying the Chicano as the “bossman” and the speaker herself as “your Chicana employee” (Lucero-Trujillo), the poem portrayed the difference in class and social standing of male and female Mexican Americans. Nonetheless, the scornful tone of the speaker towards the “Chicano bossman” implies her disdain of his person and character, who is revealed to intimately associate himself with “W.A.S.P.,” and yet asks of the speaker to “bear machismo” (Lucero-Trujillo), the term “machismo” which can be interpreted as Mexican pride. The sarcasm inferred from the use of “machi-machi-machismo” further illustrates the speaker’s contempt of the social expectation of Chicanas and not of Chicanos. The double standard which allowed Chicanos to freely be with anyone they wanted to be with, even white Americans who exploited them, and which demanded the opposite of Chicanas is severely critiqued by the poem.

Unlike the Chicano Movement that focused on claiming the identity of Mexican Americans as non-white and asking for equal rights as white Americans in the 1940s and 50s, the Chicana Movement in the 1970s focused on fighting for the rights of Mexican American women and de facto equality as Mexican American men. By claiming the identity of non-white Americans, Mexican Americans revealed their determination to not assimilate their culture into the American culture. However, because the Chicana Movement was influenced by white feminism, Chicanas faced suspicion and hostility from Chicanos, who believed that the feminist movement detracted from the effort of Chicano Civil Rights Movement. Consequently, Chicana feminists or Chicanas who held power were labelled as “lesbian,” “unfeminine,” “promiscuous” (Gutierrez 47), and censured for their ‘betrayal’ to fellow Mexican Americans and “machismo.” These groundless representations of Chicanas aided in the passivity of the general populace, but nevertheless roused the spirit of those who believed in the equality of both men and women, and therefore mobilized their effort to elevate the social status of Mexican American women.

Ultimately, the goal of the Chicana Movement was to redefine the identity of Chicanas as an integral part of the Mexican American community. While in the early stages of the Chicano Movement, Chicanas could only hold trivial positions such as “cleaning up,” “making coffee,” “executing the orders men gave,” and “servicing their needs” (Gutierrez 47), the feminist movement strived to add meaning and value to Chicanas who participated in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. Through art, music, and literature similar to the poem “Machismo is Part of Our Culture” that expressed the opinions and experiences of Mexican American women, Chicanas were able to fight alongside Chicanos to demand equal rights and treatment as white Americans. For example, the “Sun Mad” artwork (Lecture) produced by female artist Ester Hernandez was able to effect positive changes in the political movement as part of the protest against corporations harming the health and welfare of consumers. The process of redefining Chicanas as not just the women superficially stereotyped by Chicanos and instead as individuals who were capable of expressing themselves was a significant aspect of the Chicana Movement.

In general, the Chicana Movement furthered the Chicano Movement by fighting for Mexican American female rights in addition to the general rights of Mexican Americans. The poem “Machismo is Part of Our Culture” conveyed the Chicanas’ feelings about the double standard regarding what was expected socially of Mexican American men and women, and provoked deeper thinking into the unequal relationship of Chicanos and Chicanas. Justifiably, the Chicana Movement empowered the role of Mexican American women in the community, and provided a means for them to elevate their social standing. The identity of Mexican American women was therefore reformed and redefined as an essential part of the Chicanx Movement.

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How Machismo Is Beneficial To Our Culture. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from
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