bad hombres

Ya Basta Con El Toxic Machismo That Has Caused Violence Against Women And The LGBTQ+ Community

If you’re Latino, then you’ve probably exhibited some form of “toxic machismo” in your lifetime. Wait, I should rephrase that. If you’re Latino then you have definitely exhibited toxic machismo in your lifetime.

No one is exempt, yours truly included.

What is toxic machismo? Toxic machismo is rooted in a term that we’ve all heard before: toxic masculinity, which can be defined as the unhealthy and violent ways that men are often told to act in society from a young age.

Toxic machismo teaches boys and men to use their bodies as vehicles for violence and aggression against women and others. (Have you ever noticed the way that one relative of yours always refers to women as sexual objects and seems to prove his sense of worth by acting in aggressive ways? Both are a form of toxic machismo.)

Like most things, toxic machismo is complicated, but it’s most harmful for young boys in Latino communities because it teaches them that “softness” and vulnerability aren’t masculine. Who remembers always hearing the phrase “son cosas de hombres” at our family functions? Or worse, “stop acting like a b****? Do any of these sound familiar? They both also contribute to unhealthy ideas of masculinity.

“It’s also the idea that society teaches boys and men to think about their bodies as vehicles for violence and aggression against women and others.”

2016 Oscar Award winning film, “Moonlight,” gave us a hint of how vulnerability can be expressed in our homes. Juan, an Afro-Cuban immigrant played by actor, Mahershala Ali, was a complicated figure in the film, but the way he expressed a softness towards the film’s main character, Chiron, reminded us that vulnerability and masculinity can exist at the same time.

CREDIT: Credit: Moonlight

So how do we undo the negative effects of toxic machismo? We may not have the answer right now but one thing is certain, we have to do a better job of calling it out wherever it appears and, of course, continue to be patient with one another because unhealthy, patriarchal systems of power have existed long before we were born.

We spoke with twelve Latinos about toxic machismo, vulnerability, and how we can undo patriarchal ways of thinking.

Here’s what they had to say:

Julio Salgado

“Toxic machismo is when you use misogyny, transphobia, and homophobia to probe how much of a man you are. There’s nothing uglier than someone trying to test their masculinity by how they can put down others. As a man of color, I’ve fallen into those behaviors at one point or another. Just because I’m a queer man of color, it doesn’t mean that my toxic masculinity should be tolerated. Toxic masculinity, however you perform it, should never be tolerated.”

Salvador Pérez

“When I think of ‘toxic machismo,’ I think of someone who is consciously chauvinistic. All of us, no matter how enlightened we think we are, have blind spots with respect to others’ life experiences and struggles. As men, the best of us can and occasionally do fail to overcome unconscious sexist biases. But the ‘toxic machos’ wear their prejudices proudly. They’re the guys who, despite worshiping their mothers, can’t stand the sight of a woman in a position of power. Like most forms of intolerance, I think it’s perpetuated by fear — in this case, the fear of men expressing their true sexual selves.”

Yosimar Reyes

“When I was growing up in East San Jose all the boys in my neighborhood use tell me, “you talk like a girl,” but I never understood what they meant. As an attempt to listen to them I would look for examples of masculinity I could mimic in the men in life and quickly I saw that maybe I didn’t know how to be a man because I had an absent father and an alcoholic grandfather. For me toxic masculinity is this idea that we teach boys that they always have to be in power. We give them responsibilities they don’t want and soon they grown up into man that just don’t show up.”

Vladimir De Jesus Santos

“In my family toxic machismo has manifested itself in the physical and mental abuse of those that do not fit into the strict gender roles that it demands. Sexist remarks, slut shaming, homophobia, and general disdain of any emotional sensitivity is how I’ve seen toxic masculinity and machismo manifest itself in my family and community. I was lucky that my mother raised me with an understanding that the patriarchy was bullshit from an early age and always pointed to toxic masculinity and machismo as the antithesis of what I should become, as a young man.”

Pablo José López Oro

“Toxic machismo is fed by the delusional myth that Latina women are inferior, property, and sexual objects for Latino men to consume, own, and do away with. Sexual violence fuels toxic machismo among men and women. Therefore, toxic machismo creates a society where Latino men an exterior shell hardened by violence and aggression where emotions are deemed weak, feminine, and soft making Latinx men disconnected to the complexities of manhood and masculinity.”

Bocafloja

“The social construction of masculinity is deeply connected to patriarchy. As men of color we have normalized toxic misogynistic practices in order to gain subjective power and deal with our own oppression due to coloniality. We have lots to unlearn not only to correct our past patterns and actions but to redefine our gender politics.”

Rudy Mondragon

“Combating toxic machismo starts with self-reflection to unlearn some of the unhealthy ideas we were taught as boys so that we can teach Latino boys that it is okay to be vulnerable and that the expression of love, care, and empathy are beautiful things. It is also important that as Latino men, we join the struggle for the liberation of women of color so that justice can take place.”

Cesar De La Vega

“I understand toxic machismo to be an unhealthy obsession with power and control. It’s a fixation with the aggressive dominance of others, often expressed through the devaluation of women, promotion of violence, and the suppression of emotions. It’s an infatuation with the desire to be “better than” that creates an irrational fear of vulnerability and undermines the notions of community and solidarity. I believe toxic machismo transcends race and ethnicity, and permeates any patriarchal society.”

Alexandro José Gradilla

“Unlearning and “un-doing” toxic masculinity, especially for Latino men, requires us to connect with other Latino men with authentic hermandad and love. Latinas, queer hermanos, and Latinx people must be respected and engaged without fear or feeling threatened that we might be perceived as weak. In addition to love, we must continue to read and increase our knowledge in order to bring another way and world into being, so that we can all be freed from our invisible cages and to realize our collective liberation.

Vicente Carrillo

“Toxic machismo is a destructive but fragile way of knowing and navigating your world. It is unwarranted anger, aggression, hyper masculinity and the complete and total erasure of all that is feminine. Its an ego that blinds you from seeing queerness and femininity as valuable forms of expression. Toxic machismo has and continues to kill women. Toxic machismo stifles growth and liberation. Its kills joy. Toxic machismo has to be unlearned and no longer taught.”

Francisco Aviles Pino

“Toxic Machismo as someone who grew up in a hyper masculine household and community is something I’ve been institutionalized to do, something adulthood has even rewarded me for. Family and friends always ask about my relationship status but never assume its anything consistent or anything romantic. Overall, toxic machismo for me are only walls that limit who I truly want to be, a caring vulnerable person.”

Alejandro Sanchez-Lopez

“To me, all machismo is toxic. Machismo confines us to an identity rooted in power and fear, where all who do not fit this mold are automatically lesser than. It makes us too afraid to see others as human, to let go of the unwritten yet deeply internalized rules that dehumanize and emotionally repress men. And as the rising wave of feminicides across Latin America tragically show, the first victims of machismo are always women.”

READ: Jorge Diaz Is All About Owning Your Latino Identity
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You Can Help Save Indigenous Languages From Extinction By Downloading One Of These 5 Apps

Culture

You Can Help Save Indigenous Languages From Extinction By Downloading One Of These 5 Apps

joshuaproject / Instagram

For many of us, our ability to speak Spanish or Portuguese is a huge part of our Latinidad. But with millions of people speaking Indigenous languages in Latin America, we know this is far from the truth. Spanish is, of course, one thing that unites most of Latin America together, but it’s a language that was imposed on us. It’s one reason some Mexican writers have rejected Spanish to write in Indigenous languages. For those of us who are interested in learning Indigenous languages, technology has become a serious lifeline.

We already use apps for dating and social media to checking the weather or shopping, so why not use it to help us get in touch with our deeper identity?

Several apps have sprung over the last few years to help us learn the Indigenous languages of Latin America. If you’re looking to take on a new language, here are a few apps you should check out:

Náhuatl

Credit: Matthew Powell / Flickr

With an estimated 1.5 million speakers, Náhuatl is the most commonly spoken Indigenous language in Mexico. Yet despite its prevalence in rural Mexico, there are still few courses or resources available for learning it.

The digital app “Vamos a Aprender Náhuatl” (Let’s Learn Náhuatl) offers learners the chance to approach the language as spoken in the town of Acatlán, in the southern state of Guerrero. In a self-taught manner, you can learn the numbers, greetings, animals, body parts, fruits, plants, and some verbs. The app – which is in Spanish and Náhuatl – also features quizzes to help users retain their lessons.

Mixtec

Credit: @fonsecahendris / Instagram

Kernaia has also developed an app for learning Mixtec, a branch of Indigenous languages spoken by more than half a million people. The app allows learners to navigate through 20 language lessons which teach greetings, numbers, and colors. The lessons are all set in the Santa Inés de Zaragoza community in the southern state of Oaxaca, and the app teaches people about the culture and traditions of the community.

Purépecha

Credit: VillageBosque / Instagram

The Kernaia project says that its mission is to create “an ecosystem of digital content for Indigenous languages.” To move toward this goal, the organization has created a similar app for Purépecha, a language spoken by nearly 200,000 people in the western state of Michoacán.

After the passing of Mexico’s Indigenous language law in 2000, languages including Purépecha were given official status equal with Spanish in the areas where it is spoken. Digital learning aids such as those offered by Kernaia are vital to heightening awareness of both the Purépecha language and the culture of the Purépecha people, who often experience poverty and marginalization.

As well as teaching words related to daily activities, Kernaia’s website says that the app offers a journey into “the space where they take place: the family, the community, the kitchen, the field, the celebrations, and other elements that represent the town’s identity and enrich our cultural diversity.”

Habla Quechua

Credit: ilovelanguages / Youtube

Quechua’s one of the most widely spoken indigenous language in the Americas. PromPerú developed the Habla Quechua app “with the aim of inspiring Peruvian citizens and foreigners to use and take an interest in the Quechua language.” The app – which is available to English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish speakers – features quizzes and a live translator feature.

Duolingo

DuoLingo offers courses in more than 20 languages, including the Jopará dialect of Guaraní, which is spoken in Paraguay. There is also a course for Navajo that is currently in Beta. The app offers quizzes and immediate grading.

So what do you think? Are there any Indigenous languages you’d like to learn that don’t have an app yet?

Keds Latest Designs Proves That Avoiding Cultural Appropriation In Fashion Is Totally Possible

Culture

Keds Latest Designs Proves That Avoiding Cultural Appropriation In Fashion Is Totally Possible

Keds

It’s always really cool to see a big name brand embrace the art of our Latinidad. It’s like a nod to all of the great Latinx artisans who add beauty and color to our culture. In fact, seeing consumers enthusiastically welcome these goods feels like further validation. With this in mind, it makes this new collaboration all the sweeter for us art and fashion lovers.

Keds is collaborating with designers Thelma Dávila and Lolita Mia on a line inspired by the Latina-created brands.

Instagram / @Keds

In what the shoe company is calling a “collaboration fiesta,” Keds released three fun and vibrant new designs.

Some of the shoes borrow inspiration from Thelma Dávila’s colorful Guatemalan textiles. Alternatively, other pairs utilize Lolita Mia’s festive fringe as embellishments. These touches combine with Keds’ original platform shoes to make a unique product.

Of the partnership with these new brands, Keds’ website says:

“It’s so rewarding to be able to be a part of the professional and personal growth of women who decided to follow their dreams. Entrepreneurs (especially female ones) are always brave, they’re risk-takers that believe strongly in themselves. And we believe in them too. We’re so excited to introduce you to our latest for-women-by-women collaborations.”

The Thelma Dávila brand is named after its Guatemalan founder.

Keds

The company specializes in designing and crafting unique pieces by hand. Furthermore, their products utilize Guatemalan textiles, leathers and non-leather materials. Obviously, this collaboration is built on a solid relationship between the two brands. Since last year, Keds retail locations have carried Thelma Dávila bags and products in stores.

On their website, Keds said the design collaborations were intent on “taking geometric design and color cues from [Dávila’s] native culture, our classic Triple Kick gets transformed into a fiesta-ready standout.”

Founded by jewelry artisan and entrepreneur, Elena Gil, Lolita Mia is a Costa Rican accessory brand.

Keds

While studying abroad in Italy, Gil made a significant personal discovery. She realized that ethnic crafts and traditions were very alike across regions. Specifically, they were similar in cultural importance. In light of this, she decided to start her own brand. Lolita Mia’s handmade products embrace what Gil has coined a “Universal Ethnic Luxury.”

Of the collaboration with Lolita Mia, Keds’ website reads:

“[The] aesthetic shines through in these playful renditions of our platforms in the form of fun, festive fringe and punchy tropical shades.”

The Ked × Lolita Mia collaboration has two designs while the Ked x Thelma Dávila collab is made up of one.

Instagram / @lolitamiacr

“Triple Tassel” is a multicolored platform with purple, pink, orange and white tassels attached to the laces. “Triple Decker Fringe” is an off-white platform slip-on with multi-colored fringe and golden embellishments on top. The “Triple Kick” features a neutral platform with Guatemalan textile accents around the bottom.

Each design is priced at $70 a pair. Moreover, they are available exclusively on Keds’ website. Be sure to order yours today and add a little extra Latinx flare to your summer looks.

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