Random Thoughts Regarding Machismo, If Any
by Fred Reed: Vote?
I was delighted
this morning to see a video
on LewRockwell.com in which it was revealed that high-school students
do not know what countries border on the United States, or how many
states there are in what we think of, somewhat dubiously, as the
Union. Decay and hopelessness warm a curmudgeon's heart.
(which, for readers under thirty, borders on the US) I have noticed
that many Americans seem to think that it is a land of machismo
and oppression of women. This view is lovingly held by feminists,
who really ought to find something better to do with their time.
I like to think the worst of people and countries, and certainly
it is the way to bet, but occasionally even a curmudgeon must submit
to the predations of truth. The truth is that machismo is well on
its way out. And good riddance, since it really was obnoxious.
The news yesterday
was that the Partido de Acción Nacional, one of Mexico's
three main political parties, has nominated Josefina Vásquez
Mota, decidedly a woman, as its presidential candidate. The US has
yet to try such a dangerous course. I note that in Latin America,
a region thought to be rotten with male chauvinism, Argentina has
had a female chief executive (twice, Isabel Peron and Christina
Fernadez Kirchner), Chile once (Michelle Bachelet), Brazil currently
(Dilma Rousseff), and Costa Rica currently (Laura Chinchilla). So
have England, Germany, the Philippines, India and, for God's sake,
Now, it would
be unreasonable to expect people who do not know where Mexico is
to know much of social conditions in that country. (Over the years
I have noticed that readers of this patch of the Internet know much
more of the world than the boobitry at large, so I will direct this
column at those of the puzzled who want to unpuzzle themselves.)
By way of preliminary enlightenment, not all Mexicans sleep beneath
tall cactuses while a burro waits patiently nearby. Most do, yes,
but not all. There is a thriving market in plastic cactuses, to
give people a place to sleep. And to answer a characteristically
idiotic question I once received, Does Mexico, you know, like
have paved roads? yes. Cars run on them.
machismo. Both my stepdaughter Natalia, and my wife Violeta, report
that when they are in the US, feminists try to extract from them
tales of harrowing mistreatment in Mexico. They find this annoying
I asked Natalia,
Do you encounter discrimination in university, or for that matter
anywhere else? No. I asked Violeta the same question.
No. Thirty years ago, the answer would have been otherwise.
This isn't thirty years ago. You can find residual prejudice and
dimwitted roostery among the very poor, but you need to hurry.
OK, gang. Pop
quiz. Take out a sheet of paper. Which of the above is the victim
of oppression? Hint: The one with Natalia on the right is the wrong
I live in Jocotepec,
a comparatively backward farming community (berries). Too many of
the girls here get married at fourteen, to swains of sixteen, after
which neither goes anywhere in life because they immediately have
a baby. This is unfortunate, though changing, but it doesn't involve
discrimination against the girls. It's just stupid.
flourished, women might have ten children. The husband measured
his manhood by the number of his unrequested gifts to posterity,
as if copulation were a rare and extraordinary talent. This has
changed sharply. Google on Mexican birth rate. It has
dropped like a prom dress.
I know quite
a few women, not from rich families, who have six to ten siblings,
but only two children of their own. If asked why, they give the
usual answers common in much of the world. You can raise two well
or ten badly. With two kids, you can have a nice house, but with
ten you stay poor. If a man ever had a baby, he wouldn't ask why
women don't want to have ten of them. Violeta attributes much of
the crop to women's lib. Today a woman can say, No, uh-uh, done
that twice, enough. Among the large and growing middle class, they
don't have to say it. Almost everywhere, the best contraceptive
is a good paycheck.
is a good idea to have a bit of perspective. Many countries exist
which live up to the feminists' horror stories of mistreatment.
Mexico just isn't one of them. Many Moslem countries engage in the
genital mutilation of women. The idea would never occur to anyone
here. In many Moslem countries, girls aren't allowed to go to school.
In Mexico, they are required to. In various countries, women have
to wear black bags and cannot drive or even go out unchaperoned.
Not a trace of this exists in Mexico.
where I live, girls pour into the universities and then into the
professions. They are not doing it by fighting courageously to overcome
opposition from evil men. None I know reports any opposition at
all. Natalia had a 97% average in high school and blew away the
entrance exam, so the university gave her a 70% scholarship. If
this is discrimination against girls, I'm a ham sandwich.
I can't produce
statistics on women in the professions in Mexico. Anecdotes, yes.
My immigrations lawyer is female, as is the other one commonly used
by expats. In eight years, I and my family have been to four dentists,
three of them women; two ophthalmologists, men; two dermatologists,
women; two optometrists, one a woman; a cardiologist, a man; a neurologist,
a woman; an oral surgeon, a man; a male doctor and a female pharmacist.
Again, anecdotal, but hardly representing an exclusion of women
from medicine, which is a profession of high status. Machismo is
a difficult thing to maintain in the presence of large numbers of
As far as I
can tell, Mexican women have thus far avoided the hostile, often
Lesbian-driven feminism of the American sort, in which women look
for slights as a barnyard hen pecks after bugs. I hear some of it
on the radio, coming out of the University of Guadalajara. Maybe
it will take hold. There is plenty of it among expat gringas here.
Yet a female Mexican dentist seems to regard herself as a dentist
and a woman, not as a gender warrioress constantly on patrol.
A little attention
to a neighbor, please. Yes, Mexico has paved roads, and no, doctors
don't cure disease by sacrificing chickens, and kids have smartphones
and steal music like everybody else and have rock bands and no,
girls aren't enslaved or imprisoned or kept in academic beknightedness.
Just ain't so.
is author of Nekkid
in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well, A
Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Bem, Curmudgeing
Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung Beetle, Au
Phuc Dup and Nowhere to Go: The Only Really True Book About Viet
Nam, and A
Grand Adventure: Wisdom's Price-Along with Bits and Pieces about
Mexico. Visit his
© 2012 Fred Reed
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