Machismo, aging, Mexican/American, identity, gender roles


This article addresses the shift in machismo identity that occurs in Mexican-American male identity and the developmental process and the change in one's role as an elderly Mexican-American man.

Socialization of male-ism in Mexican-American boys begins with the cultural expectation that a young boy is and will be a man. There are also explicit expectations that girls should be respected but that, in contrast to boys, girls should be submissive and obedient. This is the beginning of machismo and the separation of being a "man" versus being a "woman."

Aging results in a loss of machismo and this is evident by the manner in which elderly males interact with their spouse and adult children. Towards the latter part of life, decision-making becomes a shared process between spouses. Quite often, Mexican-American elderly males are seen accompanying their spouse's at flea markets, garage sales, grocery shopping and even assisting with baby sitting grandchildren.

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