Why ‘macho culture’ is not to blame for violence against women in Mexico

Catherine Whittaker

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


In recent weeks, hundreds of women have taken to the streets of Mexico City protesting against murder, rape and other violence against women in Mexico. Many commentators blame “macho culture” for the violence they are so furious about. In the first half of 2019 alone, 1,835 women were murdered in Mexico, according to Mexican geophysicist María Salguero, who is mapping the violence.

In these accounts, macho culture seems to refer to a social climate which facilitates or rewards macho attitudes and behaviours. Following the stereotype, in a macho culture, a man earns respect through his ability to lead his family, make sexual conquests, and defend his honour, with violence if necessary.

But what does macho culture mean in real life? And what if blaming it for violence against women in Mexico is in fact part of the problem?
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

At different stages of this research, Catherine Whittaker has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Foreign Ministry of the Mexican Government, the Royal Anthropological Institute, and the American Anthropological Association.


  • Mexico
  • Culture
  • Machismo
  • Violence against women
  • Gender violence
  • Global perspectives


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