Macho. The image of a manly, tough and assertive male figure comes to mind. He has an overly exaggerated masculinity. He's strong, well-built, and walks with a swagger. Perhaps dressed in a shirt opened down to "there", gold chains swinging.
"Machista culture", where the balance of power within a group is tilted towards overt displays of masculinity, has readily been linked to Latin America and, by extension, into Hispanic communities in the U.S.
But this simplistic view of what 'macho' connotes, while grounded in historical truth and fact, fails to recognize a second important -- and complimentary -- element: caballerismo.
Macho men aren't all swagger and bluster, they are also inheritors what Arciniega et al referred to "a code of masculine chivalry" in a paper titled "Toward a Fuller Conception of Machismo: Development of a Traditional Machismo and Caballerismo Scale", which was published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology in 2008.
Macho people do indeed act like the proverbial 'macho man', but they often also value "strong community leadership, defending family and family honor, personal responsibility, emotional connectedness, and spirituality."
And so machos are everywhere, and American culture certainly has its share of personalities which embody the best elements of machismo. From former hip hop singers to gun-toting ladies (yes, they can be that tough too), from politicians to business leaders, machos are found all across the U.S.
Here are some of the most macho Americans around. Tell us, who else do you think should be on this list?:
The almighty Ryan Goseling -- <a href="http://dlisted.com/2011/08/22/we-get-it-ryan-gosling-we-get-it" target="_hplink">breaking up fights and saving people left and right </a>-- is one ballsy dude. But he's also <a href="http://fuckyeahryangosling.tumblr.com/" target="_hplink">the current poster boy of the sensitive macho</a>, the one who's heart and soul are as stirring as his quick and decisive actions.
Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker recently received a much overdo gift -- a superhero costume <a href="http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/04/newark_mayor_cory_booker_is_ca.html" target="_hplink">courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres</a>. A true macho and visionary leader, Booker is on a mission to transform Newark -- a archetypal urban story of boom and bust, neglec t and poverty -- by helping the city "<a href="http://www.ci.newark.nj.us/government/mayor_booker/" target="_hplink">achieve security, economic abundance and an environment that is nurturing and empowering for families</a>." But he really is a superhero too, having <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/newark-mayor-corey-booker_n_1423395.html" target="_hplink">rescued neighbors from a burning house</a> and once showing up "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-santiago/cory-booker-for-president_b_1532434.html" target="_hplink">to shovel snow from a driveway</a>, after receiving a tweet from a resident that her 65-year-old father was snowed in."
With her no-nonsense attitude and <a href="www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/24/michelle-rodriguez-bikini-cannes-photos_n_1542081.html" target="_hplink">strong physical presence</a>, Michelle Rodriguez has been typecast as Hollywood's ultimate tough-chick. She's known for being fearless, kicking ass and carrying some seriously big guns. <a href="http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/entertainment-mostarrested/" target="_hplink">And she's been arrested five times</a>! This lady is one tough dude. And then she 'walks the talk' by <a href="http://www.michelle-rodriguez.com/blog/?p=47" target="_hplink">training with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society</a> to support their mission of protecting marine wildlife, and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/09/battle-los-angeles-premie_n_833606.html#s251464&title=Michelle_Rodriguez" target="_hplink">walks the red carpet</a>, reminding us all why she's so much more.
Nothing yells "macho" more than <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-body/pictures/matthew-mcconaugheys-hottest-shirtless-moments-2011311/18227" target="_hplink">the image of a shirtless</a> Matt McConaughey flaunting those chiseled abs. The man has it, he knows it and he likes to flaunt it. And as the ultimate surfer dude, Matt has been linked to some very good-looking ladies including Penelope Cruz, Sandra Bullock and his fiance, Brazilian supermodel Camila Alves. But apparently a paucity of shirts is not the secret to his success. Instead he says the way to a woman's heart is a good "<a href="http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/woman/fashion-beauty/matthew-mcconaughey-humour-is-sexy-16161525.html" target="_hplink">sense of humour</a>". In short, he's a funny-adventurous-shirtless-macho.
Before Mark Wahlberg there was Marky Mark. He wasn't as successful, talented or clean cut as Wahlberg, but the man (boy?) had an abundance of "character". He was macho incarnate. But Marky Mark's machismo was misguided. In 1986 <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/marky_mark/artist.jhtml" target="_hplink">he was charged with racial harassment</a> of a group of African-American students, and two years later attacked a Vietnamese man. The incident sent Marky Mark to prison for 45 days. Since then, Wahlberg has risen to become one of Hollywood's leading men, holding his own as swaggering star in films like <em>The Italian Job</em> (2003), <em>The Shooter</em> (2007), and award-winning <em>The Fighter</em> (2010). He was also Executive Producer and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entourage_(TV_series)" target="_hplink">"basis" for HBO's hit series</a>, the very macho "Entourage" But in truth, Wahlberg is a devoted father and community advocate, <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/changed-men-thug-nice-guy-4137165.html" target="_hplink">by many accounts, he's a quintessential "nice guy"</a>.
Mark Zuckerberg may be a surprise on this list, but recent actions on his part prove he fully lives up to the two aspects of "macho". In the media-frenzy leading up to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/facebook-zuckerberg-banks-sued-ipo_n_1538951.html" target="_hplink">Facebook's recent controversial IPO</a>, Zuckerberg did not flinch and kept his cool as his 6 year old company <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/facebook-ipo-live-updates-fb_n_1526829.html" target="_hplink">went public for over $100 billion dollars</a> and earning him a net worth of some $20 billion. And then he got married the very next day, not about to let romance get in the way of business. While arguably not the most Prince Charming move ever, Zuckerberg <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/technology/zuckerbergs-property-status-post-marriage.html" target="_hplink">may have protected his billions from future possible divorce</a>. His way or no way. But he does have a heart! Really. Zuckerberg reportedly only <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2011/05/27/mark-zuckerberg-is-a-genuine-geek-quite-the-opposite" target="_hplink">eats meat from animals has killed himself</a>. And that's pretty macho too.