Muy Macho: Latino Men Confront Their Manhood

Muy Macho: Latino Men Confront Their Manhood

by Ray Gonzalez
     
 

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From the Homeboy to the Latin Lover, America cherishes a host of images about Latino men, yet all are based on the belief in macho men, virile and brash, full of violence and testosterone. With the gender correctness of the 90s challenging all men to embrace a new masculinity, how do Latino men of today—grounded in the "macho" tradition — define

Overview

From the Homeboy to the Latin Lover, America cherishes a host of images about Latino men, yet all are based on the belief in macho men, virile and brash, full of violence and testosterone. With the gender correctness of the 90s challenging all men to embrace a new masculinity, how do Latino men of today—grounded in the "macho" tradition — define this new identity?

From today's best-known, as well as emerging, Latino writers, poet and editor Ray Gonzalez has gathered personal essays written especially for Muy Macho on machismo and masculinity. The result is a rich and exciting collection of men talking about themselves, about other men, about their wives and lovers, about their fathers and their sons. In "Me Macho, You Jane," Dagoberto Gilb contrasts how he perceives himself with how others, particularly women, interpret his behavior, while in "Whores," Luis Alberto Urrea chronicles a rite of passage for many Latino men.  Most insightful and moving are essays like "The Puerto Rican Dummy and the Merciful Son" by poet Martin Espada, which portray the fragile love between fathers and sons and the process by which men learn from and teach each other how to be men.

Muy Macho contains photographs of all contributors, while Gonzalez illuminates the cultural context of Latino masculinity in his introduction. Emotionally honest and powerfully written, the voices of Muy Macho break the "cult of silence" between Latino men which prevents our culture from understanding the true nature of machismo.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
There have been a number of books about constructions of masculinity ever since Robert Bly's Iron John appeared in 1990. Here, Gonzalez has gathered some of the most widely recognized male American writers of Latino descent to contribute original essays that voice both personal and universal experiences of manhood, which, as for African American men, are plagued by clichs and misperceptions. What makes this an important addition to the discussion is its diversity. All the writers are poets and novelists and, most important, good storytellers, and this allows for writing that is free of the jargon so often found in other, often over-theorized considerations of the subject. The essays by Dagoberto Gilb and Rudolfo Anaya are particularly vibrant and successful attempts to talk about manhood through the relating of personal experience. Some pieces falter when they try to be revelatory. As when, Luis Rodriguez says, "I'm pleased that Latinos and other people of color are increasingly participating in men's conferences. But I'm only in it for their revolutionary potential, for the life-liberating qualities of transformation embodied in them." Crime, violence and abusive behavior toward women are some of the concerns cited by those interested in repairing the damage done by masculinity gone awry. But aren't these concerns for everyone? And is it necessary to exclude women in order to examine the minority male with truth and candor? History tells us that both genders are necessary for any revolution. (June)
Library Journal
This volume includes 16 essays written by Latino male writers discussing how they see themselves in relation to society's concept of adult manhood. All the essayists are literary figures in the U.S. Latino community The essays suggest problems with the stereotypical perception of Latin American "machismo," which traditionally includes images of self-aggrandizing behavior and displays of physical and sexual dominance. Most of the essays examine the relationship of sons to fathers in often difficult circumstances. The result is a definition of the Latino male that is more sympathetic and complex than that suggested by the term macho. The quality of the essays varies, but the contributions by Gonzlez (English and Latin American studies, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago) and novelist Rudolfo Anaya (e.g., Bless Me, Ultima, LJ 6/1/94) are particularly insightful. The book greatly aids our understanding of Latino culture in the United States.Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385478618
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/1996
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,070,062
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.66(d)

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