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What is machismo? How do mid-20th century Mexican writers such as Samuel Ramos and Octavio Paz interpret machismo? What role do women, and in particular La Malinche, play in shaping Mexican manhood, in their view?

How satisfactory are their interpretations of masculinity in Mexico? In what other ways have scholars tried to explain male behaviour in Mexico?

What is 'honour'?


Labyrinths of Solitude: Ramos, Fuentes, Paz

Paz, Ocatavio, The Labyrinth of Solitude: Life and Thought in Mexico, Grove Press (1961).

Fuentes, Carlos, ‘The Legacy of La Malinche’, Literatura Chicana: Texto y Contexto, eds. Antonio Castañeda Shular, Thomas Ybarra-Frausto and Joseph Sommers, Prentice-Hall (New York, 1972).

Ramos, Samuel, Profile of Man and Culture in Mexico, University of Texas Press (Austin, 1962).


Garza Carvajal, Federico, Vir. Perceptions of Manliness in Andalucía and Mexico, 1561-1699 (Amsterdam, 2000), chapter 4.

Gutiérrez, Ramón, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away. Marriage, Sexuality and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846, Chapter 5: ‘Honor and Social Status’ and Chapter 6: ‘Honor and Virtue’.

Pitt-Rivers, Julian, The Fate of Shechem or The Politics of Sex: Essays in the Anthropology of the Mediterranean (Cambridge 1977)—for a classic study of honour in Mediterranean societies.

Stern, Steve, The Secret History of Gender: Men, Women and Power in Late Colonial Mexico (Chapel Hill, 1995), chapters 2 and 7.

Modern Masculinities

Guttman, Mathew, The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City, University of California Press (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1996), Introduction.

Guttman, Matthew, ‘Introduction: Discarding Manly Dichotomies in Latin America’, in Changing Men and Masculinities in Latin America, ed. Matthew Guttman, Duke University Press (Durham, 2003).

Irwin, Robert McKee, Mexican Masculinities, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis and London, 2003).

Paredes, Américo, ‘The United States, Mexico and Machismo’, Perspectives on Las Americas, eds. Matthew Guttman, Félix Matos Rodríguez, Lynn Stephen and Patricia Zavella, Blackwell Publishing (Oxford, 2003).

Viveros Vigoya, Mara, ‘Contemporary Latin American Perspectives on Masculinity’, in Changing Men and Masculinities in Latin America, ed. Matthew Guttman, Duke University Press (Durham, 2003).