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Translate from the original post The masculinity thermometer Youth Rebel Podcast by Ana Isa Díaz Vidal digital@juventudrebelde.cu

Recommend: Ibero-American and African Network of Masculinity RIAM 

“When my brother came home with an earring, my mother cut his ear,” says one of our interviewees in the midst of the populous Habana, and immediately afterwards adds: “He, in time, thanked her.”

Before the astonished look of this reporter, the lady said: “What happens  with your generation … long hair, earrings, pulling eyebrows, or brushing hair, all that is very normal. But I do not understand that a real man walks like this on the street.”

Could it be that there are “real” men and “men” who are not real?

“I began to wonder while recording, for this podcast, the most diverse criteria before the question I asked everyone: what is masculinity ?

“Chabacanería” (rough form of speech), hardness, machismo (definition for the superiority of man over women) … were some of the most recurrent terms obtained in response.

  • “To be masculine is what you are taught as a child,” says Armando, 39, “so that you may be a man tomorrow and not raise yourself with laziness …”.
  • “Masculinity is manliness and follow the rules established by society: have children, wife, carry the reins of a house. But the model for which I was educated no longer exists, there is a tendency to homosexuality, “says Julio.
  • Yoan, on the other hand, warns: “There are people who think that there is a model of man, but men are all”. Meanwhile, Luis considers that “now men also play with dolls, because what is important is to teach them to be correct, to preserve the values ​​of the family”.

So, most people associated masculinity with sexual orientation, and this linking of concepts is based, according to Dr. Julio César González Pagés, on the force of machismo: “an ideology practiced by men and women that prevents getting out of that model Rigid, because masculinity is supposed to be inherent in man, and neither is discussed nor debated … “.

The author of the text Macho, varon, masculino” (Is a literary work that has among its main objectives to stimulate the debate on masculinities in Cuba and to view themes such as feminism, violence, sexuality, paternity, migration and the hegemonic models of masculinity. It enriches the study on subjects such as feminism, violence, sexuality, paternity and migration in Cuba.)  assured Youth Rebel Podcast that these positions are related to the insecurity with which men live, who struggle to prove that they really are, something that does not happen to women.

And what is hegemonic masculinity ?: It is a typology associated with the “Latin male”, who is supposed to have money, to be a supplier, to be fierce, regularly violent, imposing, and apparently safe …

Back on the street, where we generate the usual debate:

  • Leandro tells us: “Almost all men help his wife in the house, but that machismo must not exist, because the woman also gets tired and, besides, collaborating does not determine that you are more or less man.”
  • “There are prejudices that have always existed, for something …” insists Annas, 17, “because a man is supposed to be a tough guy who does not look like a woman.”
    But his girlfriend, Marian, remarked: “Manhood is overrated because, for example, if a man shaves, for older people it is wrong because in his day that was not used, but now all that is normal, and it is known Like metrosexual. He looks after his image more than before. “
  • “What I think is that all extremes are bad,” Annas defended. “I have cried, that is, men do cry and can express their feelings, and I have no complex with that … but I do not shave.”
  • “Remember that the world has changed a lot,” says Mario, “but we have many taboos. I think the youth dresses the way they want. It is rebellious, and does not follow a pre-established pattern. That seems fabulous to me. “
  • “Remember that the world has changed a lot,” says Mario, “but we have many taboos. I think the youth dresses the way they want. It is rebellious, and does not follow a pre-established pattern. That seems fabulous to me. “

What to do?

“We can unlearn,” says González Pagés, also a professor at the University of Havana.

And he reiterates: “Should we feminize men? No. You can be masculine and supportive, have human values beyond being men or women. (…) But we must review the behaviors since we educated the children to avoid forming violent males, who will then have to live with women, who have other codes and other roles, and that is where there will be a dispute between both.

The specialist emphasizes that how we should be taught from an early age, including through toys when we use dolls so that girls learn better to take care of children and armaments for boys, in order to stimulate the aggressive spirit of masculinity as a traditional way to teach.

“As a father, brother, and teacher, I am concerned that many times we do not realize that the development of the country must have a guiding principle in these issues. From the humor -analyses- they reproduce jokes that lacerate people from other provinces, to the multiraciality of the country, there is a television flooded with criticism of the men who live in the provinces towards the east of the country with characters that characterize them as gross or Incapable That creates a culture of confrontation in diversity. ”