Scripting the Macho Man: Hypermasculine Socialization and Enculturation


Mosher, Donald L., and Silvan S. Tomkins. 1988. “Scripting the Macho Man: Hypermasculine Socialization and Enculturation.” The Journal of Sex Research 25 (1): 60–84.

Authors: Donald L. Mosher, Silvan S. Tomkins


Tomkins' (1979) script theory offers a coherent, heuristic, and elegant account of the macho personality constellation (Mosher & Sirkin, 1984), consisting of: (a) callous sexual attitudes, (b) violence as manly, and (c) danger as exciting. A script is a set of rules for interpreting, directing, defending, and creating the scenes making up the life of the macho man. The macho script organizes childhood scenes in which so-called "superior, masculine" affects–like excitement and anger–were socialized to be favored over so-called "inferior, feminine" affects–like distress and fear. Furthermore, both adolescent rites of passage in male youth social networks and processes of enculturation in the American culture and its mass media continue that hypermasculine socialization. The ideological script of machismo descends from the ideology of the warrior and the stratifications following warfare–victor and vanquished, master and slave, the head of the house and woman as his complement, the patriarch and his children. The personality script of the macho man and his ideology of machismo mutually amplify one another–simultaneously justifying his lifestyle and celebrating his world view. In his dangerous, adversarial world of scarce resources, his violent, sexually callous, and dangerous physical acts express his "manly" essence.

Keywords: Macho, hypermasculinity, Script, affect, Socialization

Topics: Age, Youth, Gender, Men, Boys, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Masculinism, Sexuality Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 1988

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