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Machismo or Male Chauvinism?



The posting on machismo brought a variety of responses, involving three words: Spanish "macho· and "puta", and English "whore". In a long article on"puta", Corominas says it is of uncertain origin.. "Whore" is also of uncertain origin. Some Spanish Americans resent the Royal Spanish Academy. Alejo Orvañanos of Mexico sends a news item about the Hispanoamerican Association of Women, protesting against its authoritative Dictionsry on the grounds that is shows machista influence. As proof it quotes the definitions of fifteen words. The masculine form referring to men all have a favorable connotation, while the feminine forms all mean "whore".

Lluis Bosch of Barcelona says that "macho" refers simply to the male of an animal. True, but machismo has a special connotation, and has been adopted by English. Lluis contributes a half truth when he says "Your phrase "women nag, men don't" is simply absurd [an unWAIS word] What does a man do when he gets back home and supper is not ready? Nag. What does a man do when his wife gets into social activities or even pretends to take up a job? He nags. Etc etc.The only difference is that a man has a step further to go: to violence, physical dominance -which is usually how he gets it his way. [No. Lluis! I haave never beaten my wife. It is very unWAIS.] . Women, however, do not have this option, so they must stay permanently in the nagging phase". Don't tell the men of Guanajuato that. It is true that the word "nag" can be used in a neutral way, but in English it normally refers to a woman: Webster says so. Actually, I agre with Lluis. Women are more sinned against than sinning.

President Fox of Mexico has just married a Guanajuato divorcee with children. Nothing is said about thelr first spouses, or who beat whom.

It is an old story. Phyllis Cayten provides this information when I asked her about the exact phrasing of a proverb which says that a magging wife or a smokey chimney drives a man from his home. She quuotes this 13th century passage from Metheolulus: "It's true that smoke, rain, and a wife's unjustified nagging drive a man away from his home. When a woman argues and disputes she is often the one to start the quarrel. The water becomes undrinkable, the smoke from the hearth clouds his sight, making his eyes weep and he is unable to stay any longer in those conditions. In order to start a fight the wife pretends that she has caught her husband in the act of adultery. She attacks or turns on him, or strikes their child so that it screams and she couldn't be bothered to calm it down, she is such a cruel viper".Found at a webpage: http://www.theabsolute.net/misogyny/matheol.html, which quotes excerpts from The Lamentations of Matheolulus. The following short extracts are from Le Fèvre's translation (c. 1371-2) of a subtle poem, the Liber lamentationum Matheoluli, written around 1295 by Mathieu of Boulogne (via a recent translation from Le Fèvre by Karen Pratt, Pratt, in Woman Defamed and Woman Defended,An Anthology of Medieval Texts, Oxford University Press, 1992).

What about "shrew", as in Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew"?(How is that translated into Spanish?) Webster defines "shrew" as "a scoldung, nagging, evil-tempered woman".

Ronald Hilton - 7/3/01


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