The Concept of Machismo and Prevalance of Toxic Masculinity

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In this modern society, men are stereotyped and hassled for being men. If men dress or even act different, they are most likely exposed to insulting or degrading terms. In America, most people can dress and act differently without being verbally abused. In other countries, many men are subjected to being or acting a certain way, affecting their mental health. Toxic masculinity plays a role in the world that men live in today, sometimes leading toward aggression. Latin cultures have a concept called machismo. Machismo is a negative idea that influences mainly males to have a sense of superiority and dominance over women (Ceballos 2013). The machismo within the culture affects the regular ‘family’ household. Domestic violence is an effect that spurs from machismo. Because of machismo, many men are stereotyped to be very dominant when some may not be. The men are supposed to be one way and act another way causing crucial problems in their lives.

Toxic masculinity is not awarding. Some grown men have a great deal of fun making fun of other men, making other men feel bad about themselves. This makes masculine men feel somewhat proud of hurting others, bringing them down and making them feel out of place. Toxic masculinity is the name of the concept in which men suffer from psychological consequences from trying to live up to traditional ideas or expectations of men (Barth 2019). The relationship between how masculinity is learned and how masculinity is acted out are entirely different things. Masculinity is learned by men from other men. This could mean being gentleman, dressing like a boy, playing sports, or getting knocked around a little bit. Masculinity being acted out could be opening doors for women or hanging out with the boys. Some men learned from other men that aggression can be used when acting out masculinity. Toxic masculinity ‘dictates that men should be stoic and strong, both emotionally and physically’ and allows men to rethink ‘what it is to be a man today’ (Petter 2018).

Masculinity is not the only toxic norm in society. Femininity is also toxic. The societal roles of women and men are different, both forming toxic relationships with mental health. The toxicity in a man’s life can come from being too masculine or too feminine. The idea that emotions are weakness and not being hyper sexual is what can ‘take away’ a man’s masculinity (Clemens 2017). In today’s society, being masculine equals having physical power and some men will feel as though they are failing at “being a man”. Men try to fight toxic masculinity but with the way society works, there are others to bring the groups down. Men got the idea of fighting toxic masculinity from women that worked within the feminist movement, trying to stop toxic femininity and tried to stop masculine toxicity. Some men and women work together to stop both toxic social norms. The relationship between the different genders and their societal roles are very oppressing upon the people within these groups. Few men have problems with masculinity. Many tend to hide the fact that they have ‘feelings’ or are ‘feminine’. Toxicity for the men exposed to it are known to have poorer mental health, affecting their daily life (Powell).

Machismo is a dangerous concept in Latin cultures. It affects the ‘sexual appetite’ of males and how they feel about a woman (Parker 1996). Females are objectified by men and are expected to have only one sexual partner. The females suffer from mental abuse and they are the ‘source of pride’ for the men to prove their manliness (Hirsch 2007). The men that ‘practice’ machismo have two different women, one for needs and the other for children. Women are taught that they are only there for sexual reproduction when married (Paternostro 1998). Although it affects women, it affects men as well. Learning the different perceptions of machismo can help improve the lives of individuals who experienced machismo negatively (Ceballos 2013). The roles of women and men have different responsibilities and this causes some aggression towards the female. The people that are affected by machismo are subjected to domestic violence but have to accept it. The need to accept the abuse is because they have accepted machismo into their lives.

Machismo is not only a bad concept, but it is also very harmful to other men. The men compete with one another to see who can have the most women. Even though they are married, the men still have girlfriends. This is the ‘underworld’ of machismo that is not really seen in the light of day (Hirsch 2007). The men may end up in fights because they are trying to assert their dominance over one another. Men are also in danger of not only each other but also sexually transmitted diseases. With the men sleeping with all of the same women, the men could contract HIV/AIDS. These diseases can also be given to the wives and expose them to even more diseases (Hirsch 2007). Machismo is a learned behavior from a man’s childhood (Ceballos 2013). If a man’s father embraces machismo, their son is more likely to do it as well. The daughters are more susceptible to be a wife or girlfriend. Specifically, wives are often unable to protect themselves because they lack power in their relationship with their husbands and the skills needed to negotiate contraceptive use (McIntyre 2006).

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The perceptions of men change with their ages. Masculinity affects them since their childhood and their adulthood. This can cause some hatred towards men and younger teens. The teens want to assert their dominance by being aggressive towards adults or younger women. The adults try to assert dominance over adult men and women and want whatever they want. Some men are different. Few men show emotions or try to seem like they show none because of society. The young boy teenagers are growing up thinking that they can not have any type of emotion. They grow up believing these ideas, leading to the thought that they should raise their kids that way too. Toxicity is not good for a young child that is expected to be the future people of the world. They need inspiration and should accept people as they are. The boys that grow up believing that they are the superior gender and deserve the utmost respect. This affects not only the children but society. Society will not change if people don’t.

Latin cultures reinforce machismo and toxic masculinity by having it be passed down the family lineage, from generation to generation. The men that practice machismo will most likely pass it down to their sons, if they have any, or tell their daughters that marrying someone with machismo ideas is okay. With machismo being passed around, it will never fully come to an end. The effects of toxic masculinity are reinforced as well from being seen and learned by younger audiences. This can ultimately lead to excessive domination, in a household, over women and children. There is generally a gender gap between men and women’s roles in the occupational or family scene where women are expected to be submissive and soft-hearted and men are expected to be dominant, assertive and competitive (Kupper & Zick, 2011; Ceballos 2013). The link for these two cultural concepts is hand-in-hand with the reinforced ideas that machismo and toxic masculinity are the backbone of the Latin cultures.

Social Learning Theory is based on several assumptions about how a child learns, which includes vicariously learning aggression and other behaviors through observation (Abbassi & Aslinia 2010; Bandura 1997; Ceballos 2013). The children in a household that experiences machismo are prone to learn the behaviors of their parents that they live with. Many people that practice machismo have children and as most households with machismo have domestic violence, the children learn that behavior and begin to use that aggression towards other families and other people. Mainly sons will be the ones to promote such machismo and have toxic masculinity issues as well. Daughters will grow up believing that being treated terribly by someone that practices machismo is okay. The Latin culture has led to many women and children to believe that domestic violence is a usual thing when it is not.

Toxic masculinity has a role in the household, not just society. Masculinity norms can govern the way men seek help by governing the kinds of disclosures men make when they are feeling distressed or they are exposed to stressful events, but those norms don’t operate in a single way all the time (Powell). With toxic masculinity, men are known to have no desire to express how they feel or their general input on a simple subject. Older generations of men were growing up facing hardships so they were told to act and be a certain way. Many of those men were raising their children the same way they were raised, while others were not. The children that were raised to act a certain way do not show many feelings or act in a completely different way in different places. Toxic masculinity mentally affects men because it is as if they can not be themselves, which hurts their self-esteem and mentality. The new generation of teenagers is trying to break through having toxic masculinity. The teens want men to feel accepted or they want their kids to know that it is perfectly fine to show emotion. Toxic masculinity affects women too. The moms of me who are designed to be a certain way, the mom may feel as if they have failed. They want their sons to be happy and to have a good mentality for their life yet to come.

Men experience different problems in their everyday life. This can result from toxic masculinity. In other words, society confines males to particular masculine character profiles (Edwards 2015). Many men experience different types of toxic masculinity. One type of toxic masculinity is harassment. The men believe they need to assert some dominance over females because the men can not act like their true selves. The second is misogyny. This means that the men are affected by society and the influence of culture. Toxic masculinity is linked with current culture and influenced by others. Men are not aware that some things they do are considered toxic and they also do not know how it affects them. Society has shaped men into acting a certain way and not truly being themselves. Strong or aggressive masculine pride is what machismo means to many men. Men may think of machismo as just being very assertive but machismo is embraced by cultures in many bad ways. Machismo is a concept that men in Latin cultures do not see as a problem. In reality, machismo is dangerous. Machismo is generalized as a common problem in today’s cultures.

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