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The 5 differences between machismo and misogyny

The 5 differences between machismo and misogyny

July 19, 2024

Both sexism and misogyny are phenomena related to sexism that harm massive numbers of women. However, it is important not to confuse these terms, because although they refer to phenomena that have some similarities, they can not be used as if they were synonyms.

So, throughout this article we will see the main differences between misogyny and machismo , as well as the way in which their manifestations and their harmful effects differ in people.

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Differences between misogyny and machismo

Until not so long ago, the problems derived from sexism were practically invisible to public opinion. The cases of direct violence could be commented and punished in those cases in which any rule was violated, but there was no reflection about the social and historical phenomenon related to the situation of submission of women . In recent decades, however, this has changed, and that is why it is so common to hear about machismo and hatred of women (or misogyny) in the countries of Western culture and many others.


However, although both machismo and misogyny talk to us about different types of violence directed towards the feminine in general and women in particular, they have a different nature and are also differentiated. Let's see it

1. One is based on hatred, the other is not

By definition, misogyny is always based on hatred towards women, while machismo does not have to be based on this. In fact, the latter is based not so much on specific feelings directed towards women, but on all a series of relational dynamics that have been normalized over the centuries and that are considered normal, devoid of any emotional component.


Thus, one of the characteristics of machismo is that it is experienced as something natural, related to objective truth and realism, through affirmations such as "everyone knows that women need a man".

In this class of beliefs there is not always an element that allows us to identify if the person who holds them feels sympathy or antipathy for the woman by the simple fact of being, while in misogyny the opposite occurs: yes that you can know the attitude of acceptance or rejection of the feminine.

2. Misogyny is an individual phenomenon

Unlike machismo, which has to do with a whole system of material and ideological domination over women that has been transmitted from generation to generation, misogyny is relatively individual.

While machismo has been present in practically all people, misogyny it's something more exceptional, of rather isolated appearance . However, it does have a slight social component, since the very fact that femininity can come to define how we perceive an individual (a woman) has to do with gender roles attributed by society, very present since birth .


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3. Machismo can take the form of kindness

It is perfectly possible to be sexist and be very concerned that women feel comfortable and live well. This is so because the machismo is not always based on the contempt or the desire to harm someone in particular; as well can appear through paternalism and condescension .

Of course, that does not imply that whoever is macho and wishes the woman the best does not harm her through his actions; but he will not be aware of it, given that he will see justified what he does "for the good" of the other person, being less able to decide what he wants and have less criteria to understand what happens (according to the beliefs of the person treat like a non-independent person).

4. Misogyny usually leads to estrangement

As a general rule, those who feel hatred for a given group try not to expose themselves too much to it. This principle is relatively difficult to apply when the group of people who hate each other make up about half of the human population, but in spite of that those who experience misogyny they prefer to interact with men , minimizing their interactions with women.

On the other hand, machismo does not have to lead to this, given that its existence is totally independent of attitudes of acceptance and rejection of the feminine.

5. Machismo is a historical phenomenon

The very existence of machismo is related to gender roles and the strong identification we make between the sex of a person and their functions in society, something that can be modified by changing political, economic and cultural elements.Instead, Misogyny has many different causes , and the only common denominator in which their cases are supported has to do with the importance of gender when it comes to identifying people.

Where there is a strong element of identification to which we attribute much meaning (religion, race, nationality, etc.) there may be material from which to develop mistrust or even hatred for generalization.

Bibliographic references:

  • Hirai, M., Winkel, M., & Popan, J. (2014). The role of machismo in prejudice. Personality and Individual Differences, 70, 105-110.
  • Rinck, M. J. (1990). Christian "Men Who Hate Women: Healing Hurting Relationships, Zondervan, pp. 81-85.
  • Zaira A. (2000). Masculine and feminine in the Catholic imaginary: From Catholic Action to Liberation Theology São Paulo: Annablume.

The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory (July 2024).


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