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Micromachismos: 4 subtle samples of everyday machismo

Micromachismos: 4 subtle samples of everyday machismo

March 30, 2024

In several articles of Psychology and Mind we have talked about the different forms that machismo takes. In different areas of life (work, family, social ...), women have suffered, historically, a series of palpable discriminations that have relegated the female sex to stereotypes and secondary roles in society.

  • For example, we recommend you read: "Psychology of sexism: 5 macho ideas that exist today"

Micromachismos: what are they? How do they manifest?

The micromachismos they are subtle manifestations, which often go completely unnoticed, of machismo. It is an underground machismo, which does not raise our alarms most of the time.

The heteropatriarchal system in which we live permeates domestic life, work life and even the way we communicate. In today's article we have proposed to analyze the main micromachisms suffered by women and some men who do not fulfill heteropatriarchal gender roles.

1. Sexism in the language

A classic demonstration of machismo that it is enclosed in our everyday language, in our language , could be the pre-eminence of the masculine gender over the feminine, among other things. For example, let's look at a fictional conversation that illustrates it:

- Master teacher, how can I make a word feminine?

- Starting from his masculine formula, and adding an "a" instead of the original "o".

- Understood, teacher. And the masculine, how is it formed?

- The masculine is not formed, the masculine exists.

This dialogue was written by Victoria Sau, and is a good example of the subtle machismo that houses our everyday language. It is a machismo that does not kill, which is difficult to detect, and which is therefore commonly accepted culturally.

2. Gender roles

Micromachisms also come to light in the media and in advertising. As we know, the media try to generate impact on us, trying to sell us certain contents and, also, certain notions about how we should behave and what we should think.

Recently, hypermarket chain Hipercor committed a gazapo that revolutionized social networks : put on sale two baby shirts, one in blue and one in pink. In the blue, you could read: "Smart as a dad", and in the roses, "Pretty as a mom".

The case jumped to the media and Hipercor had to remove those articles, since it offended not only the feminist collective but also anyone with common sense. It was a micromachism that fortunately was not culturally tolerated, and that placed women within the aesthetic stereotype.

Without leaving the news, it was also a scandal when El Corte Inglés offered in its facilities a product designated as "special for them", a pack that consisted of a broom and a dustpan. The same chain sold vacuum cleaners under the motto: "Mom, you are the best" . As if the vacuum cleaners were products designed exclusively for women.

More examples of micromachismos related to gender roles: in the vast majority of public toilets, the place to change babies is located in the women's bathroom . Maybe we can assume that this is a trend that is not very important, but the truth is that this is precisely a micromachism: a role that we have assumed culturally as natural, unquestionable. But have we stopped to think about it? These gender stereotypes are capable of persisting generation after generation precisely because of the naturalness with which we experience them.

3. Hypersexualization

Another flagrant case of sexism occurred when Carrefour brought to the market a bathing suit for girls aged ten to fourteen years of age with padding in the part of the bra. It is difficult to imagine that they could have tried to sell swimsuits with padding for children.

Not to mention the number of times that advertising uses female bodies to sell anything: cologne, alcohol, videogames, clothing ... The female body is more frequently hypersexualized and used as a claim for the big brands in relation to the male body.

A micromachism that is starting to blow up our alarms (and it was about time) is the fact that women are used as a sex appeal to attract audiences to the nightclubs. There have been some cases in this regard, which fortunately have outraged a large part of the population, causing several campaigns to be withdrawn and their authors asking for forgiveness.

4. Use of public space

Machismo does not only affect how we use language, how we sell certain products or how we place each gender within certain roles and stereotypes. Many women also warn that the use of public space contains a certain sexism .

For example, it is usually discussed openly in forums about the tendency of men to sit with their legs wide open in public seats , for example in the subway, preventing people sitting next to them from being minimally comfortable, and seeing their space invaded. It is something that can be reason for debate, since it is not very clear that only men are those who feel invading other people's space, and if so, could be due to certain anatomical characteristics of men. Well the trend could be explained, simply, by a matter of bad manners. It is difficult to clarify.

In any case, it is possible that this type of phenomena occur, in which women are undervalued and little taken into account in public. Of course, it would not fit within the category of micromachismo the constant harassment suffered by women when they walk on the street, compliments and other behaviors that, in my opinion, constitute a clear machismo and, fortunately, are increasingly recognized and repudiated for society.

Where does the concept of 'micromachism' come from?

The history of the term micromachismo goes back to the year 1990, when the Argentine psychologist Luis Bonino He used it to define "those masculine behaviors that overlap the authority of men over that of women". In this sense, Bonino points out that micromachisms "are everyday tyrannies, a kind of soft and invisible violence, of low intensity", that cover reality in an imperceptible way and that travel parallel to the patriarchal logic of our society.

Precisely is the ease with which these micromachisms are camouflaged where their danger lies , because it generates an invisible damage to the female sex and to anyone who does not adapt to the role of gender that has been socially assigned. In the case of women, this role is usually that of caregivers, weak, submissive, secondary ...

Another way to classify micromachisms

Luis Bonino and other psychologists have proposed another criterion to classify these machismos from day to day:

1. Utilities

They are used in the domestic sphere and refers to the fact that men tend to hold women responsible for care tasks and domestic chores . They usually do so by appealing to their "greater capacity" to iron, wash, care for the elderly or cook.

This might seem a clear machismo, and not a micromachism, but it can occur in very subtle ways, such as the husband who says to his wife: "Wait, I'll help you hang clothes" or "I love how you cook, I prefer you to do it because it works out very well "

2. Subtleties with a macho bias

They are micromachismos especially subtle, that They seek to impose the sexist ideology and underestimate the role of women in society (whether in the workplace, in relationships, at work ...).

Mental subtleties are the silences, using a paternalistic communication or ignoring a woman contemptuously for the fact of being a woman. It is also to use a demeaning mood towards the female gender.

  • Related article: "Women are underestimated at work (and it seems normal)"

3. Coercive

In this type of micromachismos, man exerts a moral, psychological or economic pressure to impose his power over that of women .

They can be observed when the man sits in the best armchair in the living room of the house, controls the control of the television or takes up more space in public places (such as the metro, as we have already mentioned).

Micro Machismo - MGTOW (March 2024).

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