With lively detail and sensitive analysis, Sonya Lipsett-Rivera confronts in The Origins of Macho the significant questions of how men constructed masculinity in colonial Mexico and whether such constructions resemble the current stereotype of “the explosively violent, virile man who dominates women and other men” (p. 1).

Her central conclusion is that colonial masculinity little resembled modern machismo. Despite sporadic evidence of men with violent tempers who displayed strong emotions, Lipsett-Rivera finds that “the ideal to which men aspired . . . was one of emotional control” (p. 1). Interestingly, in the colonial period men were encouraged to exhibit traits that scholars have heretofore presented as principally associated with femininity. As children and youths, men were taught to demonstrate emotional control, submission, and deference. They experienced the curtailment of bodily mobility and personal liberty, learning instead to embrace silence, obedience, and composure....

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