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How about a physical change in macho due to the influence of the use of plastics that seem to be affecting male hormones? Less macho would be better for everybody, but I wouldn't want men to be herd animals for reproduction and occasional recreation:) Nor do I want to see women fill the "macho vacuum". Please, moderation in all things.

Scott Bowen

Can we actually define what makes macho "macho"? Sure, the word comes from "machismo," meaning "excessive masculinity, and often exhibiting male chauvinism." But what would make an act of machismo macho?

To take one part of the Hilary Clinton example above -- duck hunting -- I could observe some fellow doing exactly that and tell you, honestly, "That guy's not acting macho" (assuming that hunting is not prima facie "macho," which it is not, in and of itself). But I could see some guy in a bowling alley acting like the biggest macho jackass every time he bowls a strike.

Macho, first and foremost, is about attitude. "Macho" is also such a 70s/80s word -- is anyone using it anymore?

Caitlin Kelly

Macho seems to equal swagger. What if it's actually backed up by something solid?

Laurie Essig

Macho I think means an aggressive masculinity- right? And Hillary was definitely both being macho and challenging Obama's masculinity during the PA primary. I might argue that she was partly doing this through class positions- Obama drinking his beer from a glass and not knowing how to bowl or duck hunt meant he was upper class. Since the rise of the bourgeoisie, upper class has always been marked as insufficiently masculine. So by allying herself with activities and practices that are marked as both male and working class, she was out-machoing Obama. Whether or not macho is solid- as in biological or neurological- I cannot say, but I can say that its expression varies quite a bit in different cultures and times and classes and ethnic groups. Therefore whatever is solid about it is shaped and reshaped by social forces.

As for using the word "macho," not sure. I don't use it except when singing "Macho Man"- a piece of music that will never ever die (along with YMCA)- on that the macho and non macho can surely agree.


Women in more leadership roles does not signify any reduction in macho (I would argue this is assertive [re: in-your-face] masulinity). It seems the system as is (capitalism) promotes those with machissmo. Especially women (who by appearance aren't bestowed any default macho onto them) must brandish "proof" that they can be "one of the boys".


I hear macho and I immediately think of one thing. My Latino teenage male neighbors. They have macho oozing out of them. They swagger, they do staredowns, they have tiny mustaches they are immensely proud of, and they call me gay every time I don't make a lewd comment about an attractive female. That, for me at least, is what macho looks like. It's not about muscles, or balls.


Osama Bin Ladin once said, "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." He was right of course. Why are we drawn to the strong horse? Why is it more alluring? If we were given a choice to be the weak or strong horse, which would people choose?

But then is macho *being* or *appearing to be*? That's the point Caitlin made.

"Walk softly, but carry a big stick"....is that macho? Maybe it's the best of both?

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