Bringing out the "Hembra Woman" of me!
The first definition that pops up as I type the word “Machismo” in the Google Searcher had to be Wikipedia's. Shortly after my first inquire, I find myself dazzed and confused by what it is supposed to mean and actually, what in our context becomes, as a tool to subjugate women in a physical and psychological way. I translate here the literal phrase: “Macho men are to have bravery, courage and strength as well as wisdom and leadership” Wisdom, leadership. Mmm. Ok. Let me cope with those last two words for a very long time.
The presence of Machismo in Guatemala can’t be denied. Men in society had been preferred to complete and fill in more political, economical and administrative duties than women. Ladies have only entered the socio-political and working world in a more noticeable way during the past decade, and by this, I mean also that they can be detected as an individual and independable being, not attached to a male figure, such as it happened during the eighties decade, where women were relegated to a second plane, shadowed by public-figure men.
I believe this has been a problem for centuries that it is still present in our society. What it is more interesting of this short analysis I get to make, is that during the past few years, women had started to empower themselves by studying and relating more to education at all levels (technical careers, university-prepared professionals) so they can become an important asset to their own families. Somehow they still haven't found the proper place in our society to do it so, at it optimal level. What is stopping women from achieving it, if they already have the tools? This premise will vary throughout the country, specially in some rural areas, very impoverished ones, where men still have the "trousers" on and won't let women to do more than mop and clean the house, and take care of children, a very often party of 8 to 12 kids.
The role of men, as providers to the family home, gives them the opportunity to get out of the house, work all day long, even end up the working day having a few drinks at a pub with some other male friends, while women are entitled to be bound to their children at home, cutting off the chance for them to exploit their personal capacities, acquiring new knowledge, at least not the one that is not home-related. Somehow, this idea of "Macho Men" in Guatemala, has drain many women’s spirit away. They just give up to the guidelines of a society who looks up at men as our solely heroes and saviors, those who will make everything better, as long as I, woman, complete the bargain by staying properly standing out of the spotlight.
I enjoyed fondly a poem, long time ago, called "Women", by Alice Walker. I can't but have it present as I believe we, "who have discovered the books", and got to be taught by these women, in my case, a very wise mother and a strong-willed grandma, "what I must know" would stand still without doing the right thing to do: to fight for that space that we deserve in our contemporary living. My mother gave me an advice, some time ago, when I was really frustrated because "this is a man's world", and we girls, should stand by and gather the crumbles. She told me to redirect that anger and inner rage and make it a force for me to pull through adversity, and rise to succeed. It is incredibly how we are natured-given to manage adversity. I can't imagine what we could do if we were to be globally united. We could make magic happen and be recognized as the society element that needs to be empowered to surpass many problems we constantly get to confront as daily bread in our city and regional territories as well. We need to stop believing to be the weak sex, and start opting for better opportunities for us to be heard and listened. We have something to say, to give to the world, and that probably, will make the whole difference.
"Ser macho" is something all boys are to aspire to", follows up in the Wikipedia definition. Well ladies, how about having our own "Ser hembra" ideal, as something we all girls aspire to be? And by this I mean also that we have to emphatically strengthen our soul and faith in our own genre. Bravery, courage, strength, leadership, wisdom. I sincerely believe we have it all. In fact, we should add a few more, those that define women across the world: determination, strong-willed, rising spirits, kindred hearts and immense love capacity; no trace of doubt, about the last one.