Anti-Machismo in Colombia

Group Teaches Men How to Redefine Masculinity and End Machismo

Camilo Bohorquez grew up watching his father abuse his young mother. He attempted suicide several times, led a life of crime, and at one point tried to kill his father. Today, he is standing naked in a room as a group of young men and women paint onto his back and chest. Asked to express their emotions, they write "commitment," "union," "trust." A member of the Men and Masculinity collective in Bogota, Bohorquez and his peers are exploring new ways of becoming men. Over the years, he started to question the Colombian ideal of machismo, seeing it as a "toxic way of life that kills any affection." 

With nearly 76,000 reports of domestic violence in Colombia last year, psychologists like Javier Omar see young men as the key to stemming this abuse: "Without involving men, you can't reduce pervasive patriarchy and cycles of violence. It means working with boys to change their views of masculinity, of what it means to be a man in our society."

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