The Machismo Culture Impacted The Way I Was Raised, And As An Adult, It Is Still Impacting My Life
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Health and Wellness

The Machismo Culture Impacted The Way I Was Raised, And As An Adult, It Is Still Impacting My Life

It doesn't only negatively impact the males in the Latinx communities.

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woman sitting outdoor during daytime
Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

The term machismo can be simply summed up as a toxic generational teaching that insists that the only "real" way to be a man is by suppressing your vulnerability and only showcasing masculinity. For generations, this idea has been taught and enforced in households to the sons, while daughters were taught the importance of simply serving their future husbands. For me, I was taught the basic chores that every family teaches their kids, and I guess I got lucky that neither of my parents ever really held the expectation for me to get married and have kids.

Looking back, I realize that while I wasn't expected to have my own family, I was being unintentionally raised with the machismo cultures implemented in how I viewed things.

Both of my parents obviously loved me and my siblings, but neither of them really knew how to express their feelings effectively. My dad is an example of how machismo culture shapes someone. He is both stoic and serious when it comes to most situations, but he is a joke cracking person around me and my siblings. My dad never really expressed his more vulnerable emotions to us as we were growing up, and it never really mixed well with a naturally sensitive individual like myself, especially whenever I got in trouble or was just generally upset. His type of anger was always the calm voiced type, and it made everything so much worse for me since it truly is the scariest form of anger. So, while I was always crying, he always insisted that whatever I was getting in trouble for wasn't serious enough for me to cry about. We never really verbally expressed what would make us upset, and whenever I tried, my crying self would stutter - which further frustrated me and continued his rants of my crying not being necessary.

My siblings also picked up on my dad's method of expressing himself, which means they never really did express themselves at all, unless they were angry. And their anger was most definitely not like his calm demeanor but more like the "everyone-in-this-house-is-going-to-know-I'm-mad" type of anger.

My mother, on the other hand, is the most expressive in terms of her vulnerability. And while it really did help to know what she was feeling, it was hard to empathize with her since I learned to keep my own feelings to myself. It was hard to connect with her issues and offer her support when I struggled to even verbalize what was upsetting me. We're both close, and once again joke around with each other, but that lack of vulnerable emotions on my end probably prevents us from being closer.

The machismo culture makes it difficult for people to actually be affectionate and showcase their emotions without having to constantly check if we've said too much or if it wasn't the correct thing to do.

As I've grown older, I have sort of developed a way to take a step back from a situation and assess it without any sort of emotional ties, which is helpful since it prevents any bias. But when it comes to relationships with my friends and family, it's difficult for me to actually tell them how I'm feeling on a certain issue since I give them the "correct" response or just explain my way of thinking without delving deep into my personal feelings.

I never really tell people what exactly is causing me to be sad since I've learned it's easier to handle things on my own without involving other people.

Now, as a college freshman living on my own without any family in the area, this is a time where I'll actually be fully independent. I'm recognizing bad traits about myself that I had grown used to, ones that need to be broken, and I always try to self-correct myself.

Sure, someone could simply say "Why don't you try going to therapy?" And yes, therapy is a reasonable way to cope. However, in the Latinx community, mental health and mental illness is a taboo topic that doesn't get talked about or brought up very often. Once again, it is a generational issue, so it won't be solved overnight or even in the next ten years. It's a problem that is going to be everywhere for awhile.

I know that once I start breaking these habits of mine, I can possibly start helping others who grew up the same way as me, and actually start being empathetic towards others more.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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