Navigating Myths of Latino Masculinity

Christian knows that men tend to valorize “hard work” as a particular quality of masculinity. But when you listen to how he talks about the love, care, and mutual respect that defines his relationship with his father, you get the feeling that he’s spent some time thinking about the harmful myths of Latino masculinity that also exist in society.

Across the United States, arguments over the intent of a recent advertisement campaign has prompted some men to feel that “traditional” masculinity is under attack. But from a different perspective, research shows that for decades Hispanic men have been under the attack of repeating images in news media, advertisements, and popular culture that depict Latino masculinity in terms of violent gang members, insatiable Latin lovers, abusive husbands, dimwitted peons, lazy laborers, and job stealing illegal aliens. These “traditional” stereotyping messages hurt how Latinos are seen and see themselves. Even though the mentioned ad campaign still has some issues to work out regarding its heteronormative images, we hope it helps lead to changes in how a new tradition of masculinity and men’s relationships can be framed in terms of care and mutual respect. Big thanks to Josh Blount and Ryan Metzger of JMU’s SMAD 303 for helping to show some of the best qualities that we see in Christian.

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