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Men and Modernity in Porfirian Mexico

Summary and Keywords

The Porfirian era (1876–1911) marked a watershed in social understandings of manhood. New ideas about what it meant to be a man had appeared in Mexico by the middle of the 19th century in the form of self-help manuals intended primarily for middle-class and bourgeois men who sought to distinguish themselves in a post-independence society that had done away with legal distinctions, including aristocratic titles. Marks of distinction included cleanliness, good grooming, moderation, affability, respectability, love of country, and careful attentiveness to the needs and opinions of others, including women, children, and social “inferiors”—an approach that artfully combined longstanding notions of masculine responsibility and authority with modern ideas about self-mastery and citizenship, especially the sublimation of volatile “passions” in all domains of social life. Modern qualities also mapped onto traditional concerns about male honor predicated on the fulfillment of patriarchal duties, especially the control of female dependents. The socially validated, “hegemonic” masculinity produced by this amalgamation of modern and traditional ideas proved burdensome for many middle-class men, who struggled to maintain an always precarious sense of honor or who rejected the constraints it sought to impose on their behavior. For men from less privileged classes, it represented an impossible ideal that they sometimes rejected through the adoption of antisocial “protest” masculinities and often satirized as delusional or unmanly, even as they too came to define their masculinity in relation to a modern/traditional binary. The modern/traditional binary that characterized ideas about masculinity for all sectors of Porfirian society has persisted until the present day, despite the epochal 1910 social revolution that inaugurated a new era in Mexican social relations.

Keywords: masculinity (in Mexico), machismo, Porfirian modernity, gender relations (in Mexico), homosexuality (in Mexico), homophobia (in Mexico), Manual of Urbanity and Good Manners, Porfiriato

The protracted period of relative political stability in Mexico known to historians as the Porfiriato (1876–1911) in recognition of the commanding presence of its major political figure, Porfirio Díaz, had a profound impact on social relations, including how society viewed manhood and how men understood and experienced themselves as men. Ideas about modernity, especially what it meant to be “modern,” played a central role in developing and fostering these new notions of masculinity. Although by most measures everyday male behaviors probably changed very little and very slowly during this period, the way that Mexicans from all walks of life “made sense” of those behaviors underwent what was for many of them a radical transformation. Some men (and women) embraced “modern” manhood, while others preferred to negotiate, contest, or reject it. But nearly everyone came to understand and explain masculinity on a spectrum that ran from modern to traditional. This new binary mapped onto older binaries—masculine/feminine, moral/immoral, respectable/disreputable, normative/deviant, etc.—and intersected with longstanding social distinctions based on gender, race/ethnicity, and class in different ways. These mappings and intersections produced a dizzying array of contradictory, shifting, and flexible masculinities or masculine scripts that ranged from the manly charro (cowboy), associated with tradition-bound rural men, to the effeminate catrín (dandy), associated with modern bourgeois male self-indulgence; from the despised pelado (bum), associated with allegedly lazy urban poor men, to the patriotic obrero (worker), associated with modern productive male citizens; from the passive indio (Indian), associated with generations of downtrodden colonial subjects, to the energetic mestizo (person of mixed race), a masculine type that included Porfirio Díaz himself, the paragon of modern manhood.

A Conceptual Framework for Studying Men as Men

Any attempt to explain how Mexicans in the Porfirian era made sense of masculinity—hombría or manhood is the word they would have used—must begin with some basic concepts. Perhaps the most important and most basic of these concepts is that masculinity is a “social construct” rather than a natural condition. A social constructionist view of masculinity insists that broadly accepted if often contradictory understandings of what it means to be a man derive from social and cultural practices rather than from predetermined behaviors produced by genital difference, genetic coding, and hormonal secretions—although these may indeed have an influence on the way masculinity is socially constructed. As a social construct, masculinity has a history and thus makes sense only in historical context. It is also situational in that what it means to be a man is understood differently in different social situations, in different places, by different people, and even by the same person in different contexts.

Another basic concept is “hegemonic masculinity.” Associated with the work of influential masculinity studies theorist R. W. Connell, the concept of hegemonic masculinity seeks to explain how normative notions of masculinity privilege some expressions of masculinity over others and how privileging these normative masculinities ensures the patriarchal dominance of some men over women, children, and other men (who are sometimes feminized in the process). Connell’s use of the word hegemony highlights two important things: the role that masculinity plays in maintaining social hierarchies and other unequal power relations as well as the wide acceptance of these inequalities as the byproduct of the “natural” superiority of “normal” men. Although some scholars have rightly noted that the notion of a single hegemonic masculinity lends itself to ahistorical analysis and overgeneralization, Connell and his colleague James Messerschmidt argue persuasively for the concept’s continued relevance. They note that fundamental features such as “the plurality of masculinities and the hierarchy of masculinities” as well as “the idea that the hierarchy of masculinities is a pattern of hegemony, not a pattern of simple domination based on force,” have stood the test of time.1 As part of their reformulation of the hegemonic masculinities concept, Connell and Messerschmidt add another caveat that masculinity scholars do well to bear in mind: “[although] hegemonic masculinities can be constructed that do not correspond closely to the lives of any actual men . . . these models do, in various ways, express widespread ideals, fantasies, and desires. They provide models of relations with women and solutions to problems of gender relations. Furthermore, they articulate loosely with the practical constitution of masculinities as ways of living in everyday local circumstances.”2 In other words, while hegemonic masculinities invariably shape the way men understand themselves and are understood by others as men, they rarely reflect the real life experiences of most men.

As the concept of hegemonic masculinity makes clear, whatever their form, masculinities are constructed through difference and against a “constitutive outside” composed of excluded traits and practices that mark the boundaries of any given masculinity. This process invariably invokes some sort of binary opposition: masculine/feminine, active/passive, heterosexual/homosexual, moral/immoral, respectable/disreputable, strong/weak, brave/cowardly, productive/lazy, and so on. At one level, binary oppositions clarify social categories by explaining what things are in relation to what they are not. At another, they represent crude attempts to gloss over the complex issues of identity and subjectivity that characterize individual experience. At yet another, they reflect the all-too-human desire to create a stable sense of self and the selves of others in order to understand our place in the world and theirs. Whatever its virtues or flaws, the human propensity for making sense of things, including ourselves and each other, through binary oppositions provides historians with a valuable window into the ways in which people in the past have perceived their world. It may be impossible to discover the meaning of subjective real-life experiences that even individuals caught up in them struggle to understand. Nonetheless, creative use of historical sources and theoretical insights into the social construction of masculinities can help historians recover the cultural logics that people in the past used to make sense of themselves, other people, and their social world.

A final concept essential to understanding Porfirian masculinities is “modernity,” a notoriously slippery term that scholars in a range of disciplines use to distinguish “modern” societies from their “traditional” predecessors. Different scholars have focused on different aspects of modernity—technological change, global capitalism, large-scale labor migrations, industrialization, bureaucratization, democratic institutions, increased social complexity, and so on. Still, most agree that the concept revolves around a so-called “modern” perspective that stresses the contingent nature of knowledge and thus generates an ongoing process of revision in the way people understand and experience the world. Like other social constructs, modernity is produced through binary opposition. Thus people, societies, and even civilizations are considered “modern” (seen as dynamic and oriented toward the future) precisely because they are no longer held back by “tradition” (seen as static and oriented toward the past). In this sense, Porfirian mottos like “Order and Progress” and “Less Politics, More Administration,” reflect the regime’s recognition that the construction of a modern nation-state meant transcending a tradition of political instability, economic insecurity, social stagnation, and cultural stasis. But if Porfirian ideologues promoted modernity as a source of dynamism, for most Mexicans it was also a source of social and cognitive instability that could be exhilarating or terrifying or both at the same time.

The interplay of binary oppositions in producing and sustaining masculinities (and other social constructs) renders them inherently unstable, even when supported by longstanding tradition. For a society such as Porfirian Mexico, caught up in a perceived transition from a static past to an uncertain future, the inherent instability of masculinity became a subject of conscious concern rather than sublimated anxiety. Sometimes it rose to the level of a full-fledged moral panic. More than at any previous time in Mexican history, then, being a man in the Porfirian era meant engaging with new “modern” forms of masculinity that were, by definition, susceptible to perpetual revision and disturbing contradiction.

A Model for Modern Manhood

The 19th century in Europe and the Americas was a period of transition characterized by the uneven but implacable rise of the middle classes, especially the elite bourgeoisie. In order to consolidate bourgeois hegemony, ideologues relentlessly contrasted their enlightened ideas of progress with the deliberate obscurantism of an ancien régime (old order), which sought to bind the common people to traditional institutions such as the Catholic Church, absolutist monarchy, and hereditary nobility through a combination of ignorance, superstition, and repression. Attacking the legitimacy of these bastions of institutional patriarchy was a risky proposition that threatened to undermine all social hierarchies, as the more radical phases of the French Revolution had made all too apparent. Bourgeois hegemony thus required, among other things, a reformulation of a traditional patriarchy grounded in discredited institutions, inherited social status, and religiously sanctioned gender roles. And the reformation of patriarchy meant reworking traditional notions of masculinity. This was especially true for places like Mexico, assumed even then to be suffering the pernicious effects of predatory masculine types such as the ruthless caudillo (strongman), rapacious rural bandit, and urban ratero (represented as a lower-class, mestizo man predisposed to begging, petty theft, and violence).3

To instruct upwardly mobile middle-class men in the ways of modern masculinity, a new generation of enlightened letrados (men of letters) turned to a tried and true method for “civilizing” aristocratic courtiers and religious devotees: the self-improvement manual. The most popular of these guides in Porfirian Mexico was the Manual de urbanidad y buenas maneras (Manual of Urbanity and Good Manners), first published in 1854 by Manuel Antonio Carreño, a prominent Venezuelan statesman, diplomat, and pedagogue, and reprinted regularly throughout Latin America ever since.4 For the Porfirian bourgeoisie, Carreño’s Manual de urbanidad provided essential and exhaustive instruction in proper forms of comportment for men, women, and children at home and in public. Although modeled on aristocratic self-help manuals, unabashed in its religious moralizing, and unconcerned about entrenched social hierarchies, the Manual de urbanidad nonetheless espoused a reformation of traditional manhood predicated on cleanliness, good grooming, moderation, affability, respectability, love of country, and careful attentiveness to the needs and opinions of others, including women, children, and social “inferiors”—an approach that artfully combined longstanding notions of masculine responsibility and authority with modern ideas about self-mastery and citizenship, especially the sublimation of volatile “passions” in all domains of social life. According to Carreño, the fate of civilization itself was at stake. As he explained in the introduction: “Without knowledge and practice of the laws prescribed by morality, there can be no peace, nor order, nor happiness among men; and in vain would we seek to find in another source the true constitutive and preservative principles of society that we propose to study; and the rules that [these laws] teach us about how to conduct ourselves in [society] with the decency and moderation that distinguish the civilized and cultured man.”5

After decades of political turmoil in Mexico, Porfirian letrados found Carreño’s prescription for civilizing unruly male behavior both compelling and useful. Bourgeois parents went out of their way to socialize their sons according to these precepts.6 And Education Secretary Justo Sierra, one of President Díaz’s most prominent and progressive científico advisers, even incorporated a simplified version of Carreño’s precepts into the elementary school curriculum, with each month of the year dedicated to fostering a different aspect of urbanity.7 Nonetheless, the elaborate instructions laid out in the Manual de urbanidad were beyond the capacity of most men to realize. And if their behavior is any indication, many bourgeois men bridled at its severe constraints on their private and public behavior—and the constant self-policing involved—although they may have derived some comfort from its overt endorsement of a moral double standard that weighed far more heavily on the women in their lives. For men with fewer resources and less social status, adhering to Carreño’s exacting standards was next to impossible. As a masculine ideal, this image of the “civilized and cultured” male had much to recommend it, especially its meticulously crafted appearance of mental acuity (wit), emotional equanimity (affability), and physical grace (health), which revealed the “natural” superiority of the men who appeared to have achieved it.

It is hardly surprising, then, that publicity photographs of prominent members of the Díaz administration, including of course the president himself, went to great lengths to capture the studied urbanity of their subjects. For example, a period photograph of Finance Secretary José Yves Limantour seated in a rattan chair on an outdoor patio, looking self-assuredly at the camera, depicts him as a paragon of modern bourgeois manhood: gracefully posed, impeccably groomed, and dressed in the height of continental fashion.

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Figure 1. Finance Secretary José Yves Limantour. Library of Congress.

Another period photograph, this one of Porfirio Díaz accompanied by his wife, Carmen Romero Rubio, at the extravagant 1910 centenary celebration of independence, adds a feminine touch to the public persona of the “indispensable caudillo,” hinting at a domestic haven that provided him a refuge from the trials and tribulation of public life—an essential and formative female complement to modern manhood as described (and prescribed) by Carreño and other arbiters of taste.

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Figure 2. President Porfirio Díaz and his wife, Carmen Romero Rubio, at the 1910 centenary celebration of Mexican independence. Library of Congress.

These images suggest that unrealistic as the prescriptions of self-improvement guides like the Manual of Urbanity undoubtedly were, they nonetheless represented a hegemonic masculine ideal, consciously embodied by influential men who presented themselves as role models for other men. And if public opinion weren’t incentive enough, legislation, especially the 1871 Penal Code, provided legal sanctions for masculine (and feminine) behavior that failed to live up to modern standards of proper comportment, especially the need for self-control and moderation in public and private life.8

Ghosts in the Machine

The modern masculine ideal prescribed by self-improvement manuals and referenced in period photographs of influential public men was not the only hegemonic masculinity at work in Porfirian Mexico. Indeed, the image of Porfirio Díaz and his wife surrounded by uniformed military officers also referenced the president’s past exploits as a ruthless man of action capable of personal heroism, implacable judgment, and sudden outbursts of anger at challenges to his authority. In this particular case, Díaz’s transformation into a distinguished, even-tempered elder statesman—attributed by many to the civilizing influence of Doña Carmen—symbolized the maturation of Mexico into a modern nation. But not all men had the prestige to withstand the unintended, albeit foreseeable, consequences of modern manhood.

As happened with other traditional patriarchal ideas, longstanding links between notions of manhood and concerns about masculine honor and reputation in Mexico (and elsewhere) underwent significant revision over the course of the 19th and into the 20th century. And the modern incarnation of those linkages, which based reputation on precarious merit rather than preordained social position, was reiterated ad nauseam in 19th-century self-improvement manuals. The compulsive reiteration of new masculine ideals had an anxious, defensive quality that reveals fundamental instabilities at the heart of modern manhood derived directly from its efforts to soften the hard edges of traditional hegemonic masculine types.

For proponents of the reformation of manhood, the struggle to supplant traditional masculinities was serious business; less invested observers saw it as a rich source of satire. For example, a popular broadside illustrated by master printmaker José Guadalupe Posada, “Nuevos y divertidos versos de un valiente del Bajío a sus valedores” (New and Entertaining Verses of a Brave Man of Bajío to his Buddies), depicts a stereotypical charro (cowboy), dressed in traditional regalia with a horse whip in one hand and the reins of a snorting stallion in the other, as he challenges a billiard hall full of bewildered city boys with an offer to put their women “in the family way” and the assertion that “I’m your papa, hotshots/The one you must respect/So don’t muddy the water boys/Because that’s the way you’ll have to drink it.”9

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Figure 3. “Nuevos y divertidos versos de un valiente del Bajío a sus valedores” (“New and Entertaining Verses of a Brave Man of Bajío to his Buddies”), broadside printed by José Guadalupe Posada. University of Hawaii, Jean Charlot Collection.

The broadside derives its humor from the binary opposition between modern masculinity in the guise of hatless billiard playing chulos (hotshots) and its traditional counterpart cast as a boastful charro with a bristly mustache and wide-brimmed sombrero, the classic symbol of manhood and national identity.10

The binary opposition expressed in “New and Entertaining Verses” carried over into other masculine domains. Porfirian modernizers tended to see modern male sports like baseball, boxing, bicycling, and billiards as civilized (regulated, hygienic, healthy) and traditional male entertainments like rodeo, bullfighting, and cockfights as savage (improvisational, bloody, inflammatory).11 But even hardcore bullfight fans interpreted the distinctive styles of the dandified, clean-shaven Spanish-born matador, Luis Mazzantini, and his hard-drinking, mustachioed Mexican-born colleague, Ponciano Díaz, in terms of competing masculinities along the modern/traditional binary and aligned their sympathies accordingly.12 Although the billiard players in Posada’s print might construct themselves as modern men in opposition to rural masculine stereotypes like the boastful charro from Bajío, the broadside also hints at a certain loss of manliness as they sublimated “natural” male aggression in order to embrace a tame urban lifestyle characterized by civilized games like billiards. A similar dynamic appears in the cultural wars around the bullfighting styles of Mazzatini and Díaz, with upper-class aficionados more likely to favor the urbane Spaniard and the satiric penny press for workers advocating for the earthy Mexican. New masculine types such as the lagatijo (literally “lizard”) and the catrín (dandy) emerged as way to identify, satirize, and sometimes feminize this new generation of cosmopolitan middle- and upper-class men.

These Porfirian culture wars around masculine style had quite a bit to do with changing ideas about gender, consumption, and citizenship. For example, the central plot of liberal letrado Ignacio Altamirano’s popular 1901 novel, El Zarco, revolves around a competition between two distinct masculine types—the flashy bandit El Zarco and the steady blacksmith Nicolás—for the attentions of the beautiful Manuela. In addition to the obvious psychological differences between the cruel, capricious El Zarco and the considerate, constant Nicolás, the two men are distinguished by distinct modes of production and consumption. At one level, El Zarco and Nicolás represent pre-modern and modern masculine types, at another the two men “embody two mutually exclusive possibilities at the heart of the modern project . . . a future (desired) dominated by production as the determining characteristic of masculine identity . . . face to face with a future (exorcized) dominated by unproductive consumption and ostentation.”13 In the eyes of Altamirano and his fellow letrados, the key to Mexico’s future lay in the triumph of productive citizens like the upstanding mestizo Nicolás—who ultimately rejects the feckless güera (blonde) Manuela for the modest mestiza Pilar—over the destructive güero bandit El Zarco. The novel ends predictably enough with the deaths of El Zarco and Manuela and the marriage of Nicolás and Pilar, a symbol of the happy future promised to and produced by modern masculine and feminine subjects (and their inevitably patriotic, industrious offspring). At the same time, the novel’s pro-mestizo politics, not uncommon among Mexican letrados, fly in the face of the scientific racism of the day and other imported notions of modernity tainted by white supremacy. The racial politics of nationalism—expressed in El Zarco and the Mazzatini/Díaz split, and embodied by the charro from Bajío and a mestizo president (despite efforts to whiten his public image)—would continue to haunt attempts to reform manhood by calling into question the virility of “civilized and cultured” men, even for bourgeois men otherwise eager to distance themselves from lower-middle-class and working-class men.

Complications related to the racial politics of nationalism were not the only source of tension for Porfirian men as they sought to adapt to the modern world. Although Altamirano sets his novel in rural Morelos, the centrality of consumption to modern identity was probably felt most acutely in Mexico’s rapidly growing urban centers, especially by middle-class men. By the end of the 19th century, the proliferation of upscale urban department stores such as Mexico City’s famous Palacio de Hierro (Iron Palace) and the development of fashionable shopping and entertainment districts provided the middle and upper classes with exposure and access to the latest cosmopolitan styles—and helped them cultivate a new modern and intensely gendered class identity grounded in “their ability to acquire and deploy a material culture of European provenance, even if at times it relied on cheap, domestically-produced copies and brands.”14 Conspicuous consumption of fashionable clothing, accessories, beauty products, cigarettes, alcohol, and entertainment was expensive and often strained the resources of the growing but still precarious middle class, the very group most desperate to maintain its status as gente decente (decent folk). And the anxieties produced by new patterns of consumption proved especially troubling for middle-class men, who struggled to live up to the financial demands of modern masculinity, including an obligation to meet the consumption needs of their wives and children.

The conspicuous consumption essential to constructing and projecting a modern masculine persona intersected in complicated ways with changing notions of male honor. While bourgeois and aristocratic men from influential families inherited honor as a birthright—although some managed to fall into disgrace nonetheless—less established middle-class men worked hard to acquire and maintain their reputations. No group felt this pressure more acutely than a new generation of contentious “combat journalists,” whose public reputations as men of honor were essential to their precarious social position. This meant that, “any doubt about their integrity prompted strong rebuttals, often leading to verbal and printed insults or the threat of violence through a duel.”15 Few public disputes ended in formal duels—although future Education Secretary Justo Sierra’s brother Santiago was killed in a duel by a rival newspaper editor—but the threat of violence to avenge affronts to personal honor was a serious occupational hazard until the late 1890s, when a combination of government subsidies, press censorship, and outright repression put a severe damper on journalistic debate.16 Because of its dependence on reputation and public opinion, the modern honor espoused by middle-class men such as the combat journalists—although more democratic and meritocratic than its traditional predecessor—would prove even more volatile and no less hegemonic, despite its contradictory effects on other more “civilized” ways of being a man.

Variations on a Theme

Then as now, a man’s ability to convincingly assume, perform, or embody hegemonic masculinity required a sense (or at least credible pretense) of mastery of oneself and other people—women, children, and less powerful men. While men of means, however modest, could at least aspire to some degree of mastery, this was not a realistic option for many of their less well off brethren. Working-class Mexican men have long been cast as prototypical “machos”—a stereotype bolstered by the widespread use of the Spanish-language term, which acquired its current meaning in Mexico sometime in the mid-20th century.17 Whatever “truth” might lurk behind the stereotype, a close look at Porfirian-era popular culture, especially the vibrant Mexico City satiric penny press for workers, provides a more nuanced view of Mexican working-class masculinities. The satiric penny press occasionally endorsed a gamut of traditional macho behaviors that ran from patriarchal condescension to outright violence. A poem from El Diablito Rojo (The Little Red Devil) advised readers that, “every good woman sews, washes, irons, and cooks.”18 Another ominously warned men who had been betrayed by deceitful women—a reoccurring theme in penny press poetry—that “when it has to do with love/he that’s not a fool, prefers/to the blow from which he dies/the blow with which he kills.”19

At the same time, penny press editors understood the humor inherent in working men’s struggles with the particular (not to say peculiar) demands of modern manhood. A La Guacamaya (The Squawking Parrot) story about a temporarily unemployed worker—who turns out to be the editor’s alter ego—culminates with a ghostly late-night visitor whom he initially confuses with Don Gonzalo, the murdered father-in-law who comes to drag Don Juan Tenorio off to hell in the popular play of the same name, traditionally performed each year throughout Mexico as part of the Day of the Dead festivities. He confronts the specter with Don Juan’s blustery lines: “Don’t think that you can scare with your fearsome looks, with your remorseless face, never in death nor in life will you humiliate my valor,” only to discover that the figure is just his long-suffering wife come to beg a “ship’s ration” of bread and water. And for all his posturing, he confesses to having hidden his head under a sleeping mat the entire time—a cowardly act that makes him a sympathetic character but hardly a paragon of manly self-control or even an effective breadwinner. Along with satirizing the trials and tribulations of non-elite men, penny press editors sometimes represented working-class men as more modern than their middle- and upper class counterparts, at least with regard to gender relations. A 1905 cover for El Chile Piquín (The Spicy Pepper), illustrated by Posada, depicts a scruffy working-class man with sandals, rolled-up pants, straw hat, and the gear of a cargador (hauler) slung over his back, talking with a frumpy woman with missing front teeth on her way to market.

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Figure 4. El Chile Piquín (The Spicy Pepper), January 12, 1905. University of Texas at Austin, Benson Latin American Collection.

The dialogue below the image, written in street-inflected Spanish, alerts readers to a budding romantic relationship:

Man: Where are you going Doña Manuela?

Woman: I’m going to the plaza, Perfirio. You’re just flirting with me.

Man: It’s that I’m crazy about you.

Woman: Don’t be such a flatterer.

Man: And you don’t be such a tease.

Woman: (How smooth this guy is.)

Man: (How ripe this honey seems.) Are you going with me my love?

Woman: Yes, Perfirio even into hell.

Man: Well now, I really am going to laugh at the harshness of winter.

The humor in this exchange derives from the cognitive dissonance created by their frank expression of mutual desire (especially in the unspoken parenthetical thoughts) and their decidedly unsexy appearance. Notable as well is the absence of any hint of male dominance or female subordination, even with regard to the expression of sexual desire in the final lines when Perfirio takes comfort in the prospect of bodily contact as protection against the cold of winter. The promise of egalitarian or “companionate” relationships between working-class men and women, relationships grounded in emotional bonding and sexual attraction, puts them at the forefront of modern ideas about love and marriage that anthropologists have argued would not occur among the Mexican working classes until late in the 20th century.20 Nonetheless, as this fictional encounter suggests, while working-class men might lack the means to purchase a modern persona or to pretend to self-mastery along the lines suggested by Carreño’s Manual of Urbanity, they could aspire to be modern in other, more “authentic” ways.

One explanation for this counterintuitive view of working-class men as harbingers of modernity is the expansion of literacy among the lower classes over the course of the 19th century. This expansion included access to literary culture even for men considered illiterate by conventional standards. With it came a newfound ability to communicate indirectly and discreetly with potential partners, sometimes despite the best efforts of concerned parents to safeguard their daughters, as in this letter from a working-class Guadalajara man to his sweetheart:

“I don’t want you to have any illusions about a man that you only know superficially, and that you don’t understand . . . because if I’m a man I also know that I have to suffer now to enjoy later, I don’t want you to think I will make you happy, when on the contrary you have to suffer a little until I change, which is to say, until you make me change by the way you sweeten life, but this will be later, for now I only want that you be with me because I know that I have a right to your help and you will teach me to love you more so that you can live in tranquility when you’re older.”21

Although the letter reflects a more traditional view of companionate relationships than is implied by the El Chile Piquín cover, it nonetheless reveals that working-class men and women used letters to foster and strengthen their emotional bonds through dialogue in a way that they seem to have understood—judging from frequent references to tradition-bound parents—as modern.

Men in rural areas were also at a disadvantage when it came to a taking on a modern masculine identity. Reasons varied: some rural men were as poor as their urban counterparts, others lacked easy access to consumer goods, and still others found rural communities less amenable to new cultural mores associated with modern urban lifestyles. By the late 19th century, modern technologies like the railroad and telegraph along with improved roads and a more reliable postal service had helped spread consumer goods and modern ideas to all but the remotest corners of Mexico. In addition, modernizing industries like mining and agriculture (in some areas more than others) had begun to promote new forms of labor discipline among workers that sought—with limited success—to rid men of traditional vices such as drinking, frequenting prostitutes, and idleness and replace them with healthy modern habits, especially “industriousness.”22 As happened in urban areas, rural men were more likely to construct themselves as modern subjects through the circulation of letters than through the prescriptive literature of bourgeois reformers. An impassioned letter from an absent mineworker to his novia, for example, begins by telling her that “you can’t imagine what this poor heart has suffered for your love,” before reassuring her with the, “tranquility your passionate Pedro finds when turning to write you with such growing and sweet love.”23 Here again, the passionate sentiments aren’t especially modern—especially considering the implication here and in other places in the couple’s correspondence that suggests loss of self-control on the part of both parties—but the medium certainly is, at least for a working-class man. So too is the notion that couples could work on their relationship through the exchange of letters.

Historians know next to nothing about the intersections of manhood and modernity among indigenous men. The letrado elite typically portrayed them in two very different ways. Indian men living in settled areas, especially the central plateau, were frequently represented as passive and weak to the point of possible extinction. An 1878 medical study, for example, observed of the typical highland Indian: “his constitution is generally weak, his muscles little developed and his material work relatively minimal. His complexion is pallid and yellowish, his face sullen, his air is sad and pensive, his step slow and always with a reflection of melancholy vacillation.”24 In contrast, Indian men who actively resisted the encroachments of the Porfirian state were depicted as savages, whose violent lack of masculine self-restraint stood in the way of national progress.

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Figure 5. Two Tarahumara Indian men, photographed in Tuaripa, Chihuahua, Mexico, 1892. Wikimedia Commons.

In both instances, they were seen as stubbornly attached to their traditional way of life. Justo Sierra may have fretted about the difficulty of harnessing the destructive tendencies of the energetic mestizo (mixed race) men who represented the nation’s dynamic future, but when it came to Indian men, his favored solution was immigration, because only race mixture with European whites could prevent “our nation from sinking, which would mean regression, not evolution.”25 Men of other racial groups faced similar, if less relentless, stereotyping and not just at the hands of letrado nation-builders. Images of Chinese men harassed by angry mobs in the popular press reveal the centrality of masculine norms—as reflected in an emphasis on the traditional physical appearance, dress, and demeanor of Chinese men—in discriminatory attitudes toward foreigners of other races.

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Figure 6. La Guacamaya (The Macaw) newspaper, August 18, 1904. University of Texas at Austin, Benson Latin American Collection.

Even the symbolic embodiment of U.S. power, Uncle Sam, was often cast as a Semitic villain in Mexican popular culture, a traditional masculine type associated with blood libel and usurious business practices.26

Deviant Masculinities

The development of new forms of hegemonic masculinity also produced new forms of “deviant” masculinity. In many cases, these deviant masculinities emerged as protests against the constraints imposed on men by the normative demands of the dominant culture. And as “protest masculinities”—another term developed by R. W. Connell—they deliberately rejected the core values associated with hegemonic masculinities. This often meant embracing some unsavory aspects of traditional masculinities (as caricatured by progressive social reformers). For example, the flashy bandit, El Zarco, mentioned earlier in relation to competing modes of masculine consumption, embodies a classic protest masculinity grounded in arrogance, irresponsibility, cruelty, and a preference for easy money attained through robbery and extortion rather than an honest living earned through hard work. Indeed, the rejection of modern values like industriousness, thrift, hygiene, self-restraint, and delayed gratification formed the basis of most protest masculinities.

Other examples include much-maligned pelados like the drunken Lazarus in a Posada illustration for La Guacamaya roused by an annoyed policeman while sleeping off a drunk in the street.

Men and Modernity in Porfirian MexicoClick to view larger

Figure 7. “La Resurrección de Lázaro” (“The Resurrection of Lazarus”), illustration from La Guacamaya (The Macaw) newspaper. University of Texas at Austin, Benson Latin American Collection.

Urban masculine types like the pelado and ratero represented a blatant refusal to adhere to the disciplinary norms of an aspiring industrial society on the part of working-class men, many of whom experienced the wrenching disruptions of modernity but few of its benefits. Sometimes penny press editors went so far as to suggest that working-class male rowdiness, at least in the context of patriotic celebrations like Independence Day, was preferable to the passive propriety of bourgeois men who they branded as catrines.

Men and Modernity in Porfirian MexicoClick to view larger

Figure 8. La Guacamaya (The Macaw) newspaper, September 12, 1907. University of Texas at Austin, Benson Latin American Collection.

On the other hand, self-identified bohemios (bohemians) from the upper and middle classes—often labeled as catrines by their working-class brethren—shared some of this deep distrust of hegemonic masculine ideals, which they considered puritanical, bland, and overly materialistic.

Another protest masculinity, the tenorio del barrio (neighborhood lothario) appeared in all sectors of Porfirian society, following proudly in the footsteps the notorious Don Juan Tenorio, whose obsession with masculine honor, the seduction of women, and the deliberate flouting of convention, had allegedly inspired generations of men to disrespect authority, women, and any man who might challenge them.

Men and Modernity in Porfirian MexicoClick to view larger

Figure 9. “Yo so Don Juan Tenorio y sin Quimeras” (“I am Don Juan Tenorio without Chimeras”). University of Hawaii, Jean Charlot Collection.

Male sexual inversion—the late19th-century term for men who took on female gender and sexual personas—was probably the most stigmatized of the deviant masculinities to emerge during the Porfirian era in Mexico, perhaps because it was seen as a modern perversion rather than a traditional throwback. Ascribing alleged female traits such as passiveness, flightiness, pettiness, weakness, etc. to other men in order to demean, humiliate, undermine, or dominate them was hardly a 19th-century invention. Popular culture also had a centuries-old tradition of male cross-dressing in the theater and circus and for special occasions like the carnival that marked the coming of Lent. These longstanding “theatrical” traditions carried over into political satire as when El Diablito Rojo ran a 1900 cover illustration, cross-dressing President Porfirio Díaz himself as a zarzuela (operetta) heroine being courted by his/her admirers.27

Men and Modernity in Porfirian MexicoClick to view larger

Figure 10. El Diablito Rojo (The Little Red Devil) newspaper, July 2, 1900. University of Texas at Austin, Benson Latin American Collection.

That a lowly penny press editor could cast Mexico’s powerful president as a woman on the front page of his newspaper without landing in jail suggests that the practice was considered unremarkable.

Tolerance for these traditional practices did not carry over to men who preferred sex with other men, especially if they openly solicited sex from other men or took the female (passive) role in sex acts. Historians have begun to uncover evidence of what would now be called a homosexual subculture in Porfirian-era cities, especially with regard to the modern bathhouses that began to appear during the 1890s in order to promote hygienic habits.28 Although an undeniable aspect of urban life and an area of official concern, for the most part this hidden world of sexual inversion and homosexual practices was very much in the closet. That changed on November 17, 1901, when Mexico City police raided a private dance and arrested 41 participants, half of whom were dressed as women. News accounts of the raid quickly generated a public scandal that grew so big that the number forty-one became and remains a code for male homosexuality throughout Mexico. For many critics, including the moralistic Catholic newspaper El País, the raid revealed “the state of immorality to which the execrable influx of impiety has led.”29 Indeed, most newspaper editorials applauded the government’s decision to deport the men who had dressed as women (but not the others) to Yucatán to work in military mess halls (as servers rather than as soldiers). For the satiric penny press editors, the forty-one scandal provided the perfect opportunity to further attack the manhood of bourgeois catrines as effeminate, narcissistic, weak-willed, and thus unfit to lead the nation. For instance, a 1907 cover for La Guacamaya with the provocative title “Feminism imposes itself” depicted feminized, presumably middle-class men positioned around a huge number forty-one, dressed in women’s clothing and performing a range of household tasks.

Men and Modernity in Porfirian MexicoClick to view larger

Figure 11. La Guacamaya (The Macaw) newspaper, July 25, 1907. University of Texas at Austin, Benson Latin American Collection.

The caption underneath read:

  • While the woman goes off
  • To the workshop and the office
  • And dresses in cashmere
  • And abandons the home
  • And enters freely into bars,
  • The clean-shaven man
  • Stays at home making breakfast,
  • He sews, irons, and cares for the baby,
  • And all of them with great affection (?)
  • We call forty one.

While there is no hint of homosexual acts here, the modern middle class men that it represents at home doing women’s work while their wives are off at the office and entering “freely into bars” are nonetheless stigmatized as sexual inverts by their association with the notorious number forty-one. But if the forty-one scandal helped to alert authorities and the public to the homosexual “problem” and to shape a particularly Mexican brand of homophobia, it also gave gay men a sense of identity and common cause that some scholars have seen as the “birth of homosexuality” in Mexico.30 And from that birth sprang a powerful new binary opposition against (or through) which men could understand themselves and other men as men—an opposition that came not from traditional masculinities but from within modernity itself.

Discussion of the Literature

The historical literature on men and modernity in the Porfiriato is spotty: relatively well developed in some areas and virtually nonexistent in others. Regardless, it owes a huge debt to several decades of important work by feminist scholars whose pioneering histories of women, gender, and sexuality during the Porfirian era laid the theoretical and contextual groundwork for these more recent efforts to historicize masculinity. Although space constraints make it impossible to discuss this extensive bibliography here, any serious scholar would be advised to read deeply in this literature and consult it often.

Given its provenance in women, gender, and sexuality studies, it is hardly surprising that the earliest systematic attempts to analyze Porfirian masculinity would be undertaken by historians interested in homosexuality and homophobia. The seminal work in this sub-field is The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, c. 1901, edited by Irwin, et al., which includes several primary sources along with a range of historical essays on the scandal and on the links between the policing of deviant sexualities and other forms of social control in the Porfirian era. Articles and books by some of authors in that volume (Irwin, Macías-Gonzalez, Macías-González and Rubenstein, and Buffington); the work of other historians of sexuality, such as Cano and Barrón Gavito; and a new dissertation by Jones have given historians a solid foundation for future work on the history of homosexuality in Porfirian Mexico. Another relatively well-developed sub-field that emerged from feminist gender and sexuality studies involves the social construction of modern hegemonic masculinities, through the widespread use of self-help manuals, especially among the Porfirian middle-classes (see the work of Macías-González and of Barceló) and through cultural wars that pitted traditional masculine types such as the bandit and the charro against their modern counterparts, explored by Vazquez M., Palomar Verea, and Dabove and Hallstead. Recent work by Piccato on changing notions of masculine honor has revealed some of the challenges of hegemonic masculinity for middle class men.

Cultural and legal historians focused on the social construction of deviance have also made solid contributions to the study of Porfirian masculinities, especially official concerns about the criminality of lower-class men and the degeneration of middle- and upper-class men; see the work of Piccato, Buffington, and Speckman Guerra. Labor historians interested in working-class culture, such as Miranda Guerrero, Buffington, French, and Lear, have taken this work a step further by looking at other aspects of working-class masculinity, including working-class perspectives on manhood. A final important subfield involves the study of rural masculinities as revealed in court records, especially with regard to issues of courtship, seduction, honor, and violence against women (see the work of French and of Sloan).

As this brief overview of the literature on Porfirian masculinities reveals, the field is still in its infancy. Not only does much work remain to be done in the sub-fields noted but many important aspects of the impact of modernity on men during the Porfirian era have yet to be explored in any detail. These include: upper-, middle-, and lower-class men’s responses to new patterns of leisure and consumption; the sexual politics of modern sports; the way elite men negotiated and performed hegemonic masculinity; the implications of new forms of hegemonic masculinity for middle-class men; and the impact of new forms of hegemonic and protest masculinities on upper-, middle-, and lower class women, to name only a few.

Primary Sources

Period newspapers, magazines, and broadsheets are essential sources for the study of Porfirian-era masculinities. The two most comprehensive collections are in the Hemeroteca Nacional Digital de México, Mexico City and the Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin.

The work of master printmaker José Guadalupe Posada includes a wide spectrum of masculine types, especially for the working classes. Important collections of Posada’s work can be found at the Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin; the Jean Charlot Collection, University of Hawai’i at Manoa; the Fernando Gamboa Collection of Prints, University of New Mexico; Special Collections & University Archives, Stanford University Libraries; and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The autobiographies, diaries, and other writings of elite men are another useful source. These men include Porfirio Díaz, Francisco Bulnes (journalist and politician), Salvador Díaz Mirón (poet and notorious duelist), Heriberto Frías (soldier, journalist, and novelist), Federico Gamboa (novelist, diarist, and diplomat), Emilio Rabasa (writer, diplomat, and politician), and Justo Sierra (writer, educator, and politician). See also: Manuel Antonio Carreño, Manual de urbanidad y buenas maneras para el uso del juventud de ambos sexos;31 Julio Guerrero, Génesis del crímen en México: Estudio de psiquiatría social;32 and Carlos Roumagnac, Los criminales en México: Ensayo de psicología criminal.33

Further Reading

Agostoni, Claudia, and Elisa Speckman Guerra, eds. Modernidad, tradición y alteridad: La Ciudad de México en el Cambio de Siglo (XIX–XX). México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, 2001.Find this resource:

    Barceló, Raquel. “El muro del silencio: Los jóvenes de la burguesía porfiriana.” In Historia de los jóvenes en México: Su presencia en el siglo XX. Edited by José Antonio Pérez Islas and Maritza Urteaga Castro-Pozo, 114–150. México: Instituto Mexicano de la Juventud, 2004.Find this resource:

      Barrón Gavito, Miguel Angel. “El baile de los 41: La representación de lo afeminado en la prensa porfiriana.” Historia y Grafía 34 (2010): 47–76.Find this resource:

        Buffington, Robert M. Criminal and Citizen in Modern Mexico. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.Find this resource:

          Buffington, Robert M. A Sentimental Education for the Working Man: The Mexico City Penny Press, 1900–1910. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

            Cano, Gabriela. “Unconcealable Realities of Desire: Amelio Robles’s (Transgender) Masculinity in the Mexican Revolution.” In Sex in Revolution: Gender, Power and Politics in Modern Mexico. Edited by Jocelyn Olcott, Mary Kay Vaughan, and Gabriela Cano, 35–56. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

              Dabove, Juan Pablo, and Susan Hallstead. “Pasiones fatales: Consume, bandidaje y género en El Zarco.” A Contracorrientes 7.1 (Fall 2009): 168–187.Find this resource:

                Fernández Aceves, María Teresa, Carmen Ramos Escandón, and Susie Porter, eds. Orden social e identidad de género: México, siglos XIX y XX. México: CIESAS, 2006.Find this resource:

                  French, William E. A Peaceful and Working People: Manners, Morals, and Class Formation in Northern Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996.Find this resource:

                    French, William E. The Heart in the Glass Jar: Love Letters, Bodies, and the Law in Mexico. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.Find this resource:

                      Irwin, Robert McKee. Mexican Masculinities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003.Find this resource:

                        Irwin, Robert McKee, Edward J. McCaughan, and Michelle Rocío Nasser, eds. The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, c. 1901. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.Find this resource:

                          Jones, Ryan. “‘Estamos en todas partes’: Male Homosexuality, Nation, and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Mexico.” PhD Diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012.Find this resource:

                            Lear, John. Workers, Neighbors, and Citizens: The Revolution in Mexico City. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.Find this resource:

                              Macías-González, Víctor M. “Apuntes sobre la construcción de la masculinidad a través de la iconografía artística porfiriana, 1861–1914.” In Hacia otra historia del arte en México: La amplitud del modernism y la modernidad (1861–1920). Edited by Stacie G. Widdifield, 329–350. México: CONACULTA, 2004.Find this resource:

                                Macías-González, Víctor M., and Anne Rubenstein, eds. Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2012.Find this resource:

                                  Miranda Guerrero, Roberto. “Exploraciones históricas sobre la masculinidad.” La Ventana 8 (1998): 207–247.Find this resource:

                                    Miranda Guerrero, Roberto. “Género, masculinidad, familia y cultura escrita en Guadalajara, 1800–1940.” In Hombres y masculinidades en Guadalajara. Edited by Roberto Miranda Guerrero and Lucía Mantilla Gutiérrez, 189–249. Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara, 2006.Find this resource:

                                      Palomar Verea, Cristina. “El charro: Masculinidad y nacionalismo.” In Hombres y masculinidades en Guadalajara. Edited by Roberto Miranda Guerrero and Lucía Mantilla Gutiérrez, 157–188. Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara, 2006.Find this resource:

                                        Piccato, Pablo. City of Suspects: Crime in Mexico City, 1900–1931. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001.Find this resource:

                                          Piccato, Pablo. The Tyranny of Opinion: Honor in the Construction of the Mexican Public Sphere. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

                                            Sloan, Kathryn A. Runaway Daughters: Seduction, Elopement, and Honor in Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008.Find this resource:

                                              Speckman Guerra, Elisa. “‘I Was a Man of Pleasure, I Can’t Deny It’: Histories of José de Jesús Negrete, a.k.a. ‘The Tiger of Santa Julia.’” In True Stories of Crime in Modern Mexico. Edited by Robert M. Buffington and Pablo Piccato, 57–105. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2009.Find this resource:


                                                (1.) R.W. Connell and James W. Messerschmidt, “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept,” Gender & Society 19 (2005): 846 (829–859).

                                                (2.) Ibid., 838 (829–859).

                                                (3.) On bandits as the “constitutive outside” of the modern nation-state see Juan Pablo Dabove, “Introduction,” in Nightmares of the Lettered City: Banditry and Literature in Latin America 1816–1929 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), pp. 1–40. On elite concerns about urban rateros see Pablo Piccato, “The Invention of Rateros,” in City of Suspects: Crime in Mexico City, 1900–1911 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001), pp. 163–188.

                                                (4.) By 1992 Carreño’s Manual de urbanidad had gone through 47 editions. Elsa Muñiz, Cuerpo, representación y poder: México en los albores de la reconstrucción nacional, 1920–1934 (México: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 2002), p. 29. See also:Victor M. Macías-González, “Hombres de mundo: la masculinidad, el consume, y los manuales de urbanidad y buenas maneras,” in María Teresa Fernández Aceves, Carmen Ramos Escandón, and Susie Porter, eds. Orden social e identitdad de género. México, siglos XIX y XX (México: CIESAS/Universidad de Guadalajara, 2006), pp. 267–297; and Valentina Torres Septién, “Manuales de conducta, urbanidad y buenas modales durante el Porfiriato: Notas sobre el comportmento feminino,” in Claudia Agostoni and Elisa Speckman, eds. Modernidad, tradicción y alteridad: La Ciudad de México en el cambio del siglo (México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2001), pp. 271–289.

                                                (5.) Manuel Antonio Carreño, Manual de urbanidad y buenas maneras (México: Librería de la Vda. de Ch. Bouret, 1920), p. 5.

                                                (6.) Raquel Barceló, “El muro del silencio: Los jóvenes de la burguesía porfiriana,” in José Antonio Pérez Islas and Maritza Urteaga Castro-Pozo, eds. Historia de los jóvenes en México: su presencia en el siglo XX (México: Instituto Mexicano de la Juventud/Centro de Investigación y Estudios sobre Juventud/Archivo General de la Nación, 2004), pp. 114–150.

                                                (7.) Macías-González, “Hombres de mundo,” pp. 280–285.

                                                (8.) Elisa Speckman Guerra, “Las tablas de la ley en la era de la modernidad: normas y valores en la legislación porfiriana,” in Claudia Agostoni and Elisa Speckman, eds. Modernidad, tradicción y alteridad: La Ciudad de México en el cambio del siglo (México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2001), pp. 241–270.

                                                (9.) Author unknown/José Guadalupe Posada (illustrator), “Nuevos y divertidos versos de un valiente del Bajío a sus valedores” (México: Antonio Venegas Arroyo, 1902). Courtesy of the Jean Charlot Collection, University of Hawaii (JCC.JGP:V47).

                                                (10.) On the charro as national symbol see Cristina Palomar Verea, “ El charro: masculinidad y nacionalismo,” in Roberto Miranda Guerrero and Lucía Mantilla Gutiérrez, eds. Hombres y masculinidades en Guadalajara (Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara, 20069, pp. 157–188.

                                                (11.) On the social meaning of sports in Porfirian Mexico see William H. Beezley, Judas at the Jockey Club and Other Episodes of Porfirian Mexico (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987), pp. 13–67.

                                                (12.) Although social reformers looked disparagingly on “blood” sports such as cockfighting and bullfighting, the Díaz regime lifted an earlier ban on bullfighting in 1886. On the competing masculine styles of Mexican matadors see María del Carmen Vázquez M., “Charros contra ‘gentlemen’: un episodio de identidad en la historia de la tauromaquia mexicana ‘moderna,’ 1886–1905,” in Claudia Agostoni and Elisa Speckman Guerra, eds. Modernidad, tradición y alteridad: la Ciudad de México en el Cambio de Siglo (XIX–XX) (México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, 2001), pp. 161–193; and Patrick Frank, Posada’s Broadsheets: Mexican Popular Imagery, 1890–1910 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), pp. 129–165.

                                                (13.) Juan Pablo Dabove and Susan Hallstead, “Pasiones fatales: consume, bandidaje y género en El Zarco,” A Contracorriente, 7.1 (Fall 2009): 174. The article also deals centrally with unproductive female consumption in El Zarco.

                                                (14.) Steven B. Bunker and Víctor M. Macías-González, “Consumption and Material Culture from Pre-Contact through the Porfiriato,” in William H. Beezley, ed., A Companion to Mexican History and Culture (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), p. 72.

                                                (15.) Pablo Piccato, The Tyranny of Opinion: Honor in the Construction of the Mexican Public Sphere (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), p. 83.

                                                (16.) Pablo Piccato, The Tyranny of Opinion: Honor in the Construction of the Mexican Public Sphere (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 88 & 95.

                                                (17.) For useful overviews of the history of the word macho, see Carlos Monsiváis, Escenas de pudor y liviandad (Mexico City: Editorial Grijalbo, 1981), pp. 103–117; and Matthew C. Gutmann, The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 221–232.

                                                (18.) “Consecuencias,” El Diablito Rojo, April 2, 1900. The original poem has an internal rhyme scheme that gives it a charm lacking in translation. See Robert M. Buffington, “Towards a Modern Sacrificial Economy: Violence Against Women and Male Subjectivity in Turn-of-the-Century Mexico City,” in Víctor M. Macías-González and Anne Rubenstein, eds. Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2012), p. 166.

                                                (19.) Ego, “Consejos,” El Diablito Rojo, March 4, 1901. See Buffington, “Towards a Modern Sacrificial Economy,” p. 179.

                                                (20.) See especially Jennifer S. Hirsch, A Courtship after Marriage: Sexuality and Love in Mexican Transnational Families (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

                                                (21.) Cited in Roberto Miranda Guerrero, “Género, masculinidad, familia y cultura escrita en Guadalajara,1800–1940,” in Roberto Miranda Guerrero and Lucía Mantilla Gutiérrez, eds. Hombres y masculinidades en Guadalajara (Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara, 2006), pp. 213–214.

                                                (22.) See William E. French, A Peaceful and Working People: Manners, Morals, and Class Formation in Northern Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996), pp. 63–85.

                                                (23.) Cited in William E. French, The Heart in the Glass Jar: Love Letters, Bodies, and the Law in Mexico (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2015), p. 182.

                                                (24.) Dr. de Belina, “Influencia de altura sobre la vida y la salud del habitante de Anahuac,” Boletín de la Sociedad Mexicana de Geografía y Estadística 4.4–5 (1878), p. 303. Cited in Robert M. Buffington, Criminal and Citizen in Modern Mexico (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000), p. 146.

                                                (25.) Justo Sierra, The Political Evolution of the Mexican People, trans. Charles Ramsdell (Austin: University of Texas, 1976), p. 368.

                                                (26.) See for example, the Posada illustrations in Rafael Barajas Durán, Posada mita o mitote (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2009), pp. 216 & 242–244.

                                                (27.) Robert M. Buffington, “Homophobia and the Mexican Working Class, 1900–1910,” in Robert McKee Irwin, Edward J. McCaughan, and Michelle Rocío Nasser, eds. The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, c. 1901 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 202.

                                                (28.) See especially Víctor M. Macías-González, “The Bathhouse and Male Homosexuality in Porfirian Mexico,” in Víctor M. Macías-González and Anne Rubenstein, eds. Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2012), pp. 25–52.

                                                (29.) “The Nefarious Ball,” El País, November 22, 1901, in Robert McKee Irwin, Edward J. McCaughan, and Michelle Rocío Nasser, eds. The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, c. 1901 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 23.

                                                (30.) Carlos Monsiváis, “The 41 and the Gran Redada,” in Robert McKee Irwin, Edward J. McCaughan, and Michelle Rocío Nasser, eds. The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, c. 1901 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 139–167.

                                                (31.) Mexico: Librería de la Vda. de Ch. Bouret, 1920.

                                                (32.) México: Librería de la Vda. de Ch. Bouret, 1901.

                                                (33.) México: Tipografia “El Fénix,) 1904.