The Crowning of the Virtuous Hero by Peter Paul Rubens

Machismo (ɪ-/; Spanish: [maˈtʃizmo]; Portuguese: [maˈʃiʒmu]; from Spanish and Portuguese "macho", male)[1] is the sense of being 'manly' and self-reliant, the concept associated with "a strong sense of masculine pride: an exaggerated masculinity."[2] It is associated with "a man's responsibility to provide for, protect, and defend his family."[3]

The word macho has a long history in both Spain and Portugal as well as in Spanish and Portuguese languages. It was originally associated with the ideal societal role men were expected to play in their communities, most particularly, Iberian language-speaking societies and countries. Macho in Portuguese and Spanish is a strictly masculine term, derived from the Latin mascŭlus meaning male (today hombre or varón, c.f. Portuguese homem and now-obsolete for humans varão; macho and varão, in their most common sense, are used for males of non-human animal species). Machos in Iberian-descended cultures are expected to possess and display bravery, courage and strength as well as wisdom and leadership, and ser macho (literally, "to be a macho") was an aspiration for all boys.

During the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the term began to be used by Latin American feminists to describe male aggression, violence and toxic masculinity. The term was used by Latina feminists and scholars to criticize the patriarchal structure of gendered relations in Latino communities. Their goal was to describe a particular Latin American brand of patriarchy.[4][5]


"Caballerosidad" in Spanish, or cavalheirismo in Portuguese, or the English mixture of both but not a proper word in any of the previously mentioned languages, caballerismo, is a Latin American understanding of manliness that focuses more on honour and chivalry.[6] The meaning of caballero is "gentleman" (derived from the one who follows a code of honour like knights used to do, or shares certain values and ideals associated with them that included, among others like a particular pride in honour, treating women kindly with especial delicacy and attention). Latin American scholars have noted that positive descriptors of machismo resemble the characteristics associated with the concept of caballerosidad.[4] Understandings of machismo in Latin American cultures are not all negative; they also involve the characteristics of honour, responsibility, perseverance and courage, related to both individual and group interaction.[4][7] Studies show Latin American men understand masculinity to involve considerable childcare responsibilities, politeness, respect for women's autonomy, and non-violent attitudes and behaviors.[8] In this way, machismo comes to mean both positive and negative understanding of Latin American male identity within the immigrant context. Therefore, machismo, like all social constructions of identity, should be understood as having multiple layers.[4][9]

The word caballerosidad originates from the Spanish word caballero, Spanish for "horseman". Caballerosidad refers to a chivalric masculine code of behavior. (Note that the English term also stems from the Latin root caballus, through the French chevalier). Like the English chivalric code, caballerosidad developed out of a medieval socio-historical class system in which people of wealth and status owned horses for transportation and other forms of horsepower whereas the lower classes did not. It was also associated with the class of knights in the feudal system. In Spanish, caballero referred to a land-owning colonial gentleman of high station who was master of estates and/or ranches.[4]

Other Languages
asturianu: Machismu
български: Мачизъм
català: Masclisme
Deutsch: Macho
eesti: Macho
español: Machismo
Esperanto: Maĉismo
euskara: Matxismo
فارسی: شاه نر
français: Machisme
galego: Machismo
한국어: 마초 (문화)
hrvatski: Mačo
italiano: Machismo
Latina: Masculismus
македонски: Машизмо
Nederlands: Macho
日本語: マッチョ
norsk: Machoisme
occitan: Machisme
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Macho
polski: Machismo
português: Machismo
русский: Мачо
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Mačo
svenska: Machismo
Türkçe: Maçoluk
українська: Мачо