Machismo. Loosely defined by American dictionaries as “exaggerated masculinity,” machismo gets a bad rap in this country. I like to define machismo not as a derogatory trait of certain males, but rather as the essence of what it means to be a man.
In the hour of exhaustive research I did on the subject, I found that machismo is largely thought of as an American way to describe males who over-exert themselves by abusing females and children. What exactly is macho about beating up women and children? If anything, this is one of the most un-macho activities out there. Another negative male trait “machismo” is used as an adjective to describe is, how do I say this, male compensation for anatomical short-comings? While this is a more accurate use of the word, negative is not the only context in which “machismo” can be used.
For one to possess mucho machismo does not mean one needs to have mucho muscle mass or any other type of massiveness. To possess machismo, a guy needs only a strong sense of self and the gumption to stand up for himself and his convictions. To have machismo is being able to speak your mind not just to allies but to adversaries as well. To have machismo is volunteering to do the job nobody else wants to do. One who has mucho machismo does not need to use fists in defense of his manliness, and one who lacks machismo does. A guy who admits he is lost and asks for directions has machismo for conceding he needs help, but the guy who gets directions before the journey began is the true champion.
There are a few gray areas of male behavior, which may cause you to question your manliness. Liking Brittany Spears does not mean you are not manly. Liking Brittany Spears’ music and fashion sense does. What kind of car you drive has no bearing on your manhood, unless you drive a new VW Beetle. Crying at the end of “Old Yeller” does not mean you are not manly. Crying at the end of “Titanic” definitely does. Sissy.
For some reason or another being masculine and being male at the same time is not politically correct anymore. This needs to change. As men, we can be strong and gentle, chivalrous and genteel and tough and caring, all without having to be a softie. As a culture we, American males, need to better manifest our machismo whereas we are becoming one of the most un-macho cultures on the planet. We need not exaggerate our manhood but we do need to embrace it and stop giving in to the politically correct notion that there is no difference between being manly and being a chauvinist pig.
Hero of the Week: The late-great J.R Cash. If ever there was the quintessential man, it was the “Man in Black.” Sure, he got busted with a suitcase full of speed in 1965. Sure, he wrote that he killed a man “just to watch him die.” Sure, he got drunk and broke all the stage lights at the Grand Ol’ Opry. But through all of his ups, uppers and downs he managed to remain the same unwavering pillar of manliness supporting a half-century of American pop-culture. Find a place to rest your spirit if you can, perhaps you may become a “highwayman” again.
Zero of the Week: A freshman resident of Braiden Hall was arrested on Friday night and charged with felony vandalism for chopping down a tree. Ready for his motive? He was going to use the wood to make a bow and arrow! According to CSUPD, officers received a call about someone cutting down a tree by the General Services Building and they arrived to find this guy walking down the street with a six-foot section of log and an L.L. Bean saw. Pal, you get big machismo points for thinking you can make such a weapon from scratch; an equal number of points should also being whittled away from your IQ for choosing a $2,000 piece of state property to fashion and for thinking you could undertake such a project in your dorm room! Lumberjacka..