Breaking Down Machismo: Shifting Definitions and Embodiments of Latino Manhood in Middle-Aged Latino Men

Luis A. Valdez, Emily C. Jaeger, David O. Garcia, Derek M. Griffith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There is a notable gap in empirical research regarding how Latino men define and demonstrate machismo, masculinity, and manhood as well as the behavioral consequences associated with these concepts. In our study, we employed a phenomenological thematic approach to analyze 20 semi-structured individual interviews conducted with Latino men residing in South Florida. Our primary objectives were twofold: to examine (1) how do Latino men ages 35 to 60 years describe what it means to be a man and (2) what are the attributes that these men seek to show others that demonstrate their character, cultural values, and gender identity. Findings suggest that Latino men understood expectations associated with machismo and explained that fulfillment of their role as provider, protector, and head of the family was important to their perception of self. While some participants reported a desire to embody characteristics associated with traditional machismo, others strived to demonstrate character, familism, and respect and to provide financial and other instrumental support to their families. Participants reported that their transition into middle age was accompanied by a shift in their perspectives on gender roles, moving away from rigid patriarchal views. Exposure to a more fluid and flexible approach to manhood offered relief from the pressures associated with inflexible manifestations of machismo, which can have negative social, behavioral, and physical health implications. The implications of our research extend to the conceptualization of gender ideals, highlighting the need to incorporate intersectionality, role strain, precarious manhood, and culturally specific notions of manhood as foundational elements in this discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican journal of men's health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023


  • Latinx
  • gender issues and sexual orientation
  • masculinity
  • men of color
  • patriarchy
  • psychosocial and cultural issues
  • qualitative research
  • research
  • special populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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