The concept of pachuquismo is too readily equated with the better-known concept of machismo. They share certain ideological traits, such as an aggressive sense of power and bravado, but the two concepts come from different sets of social definitions. Whereas machismo can be defined in terms of male power and sexuality, pachuquismo predominantly derives from ethnic, generational and class based aspirations, and is less evidently a question of gender.
The name Pachucos derived from what is described as pachuquismo life.
Pachucos are regularly described as Mexican Zoot-Suiters, but the truth is that pachuquismo existed long before the Zoot-Suiters came of age, and continues to survive to this day in both Chicano and Mexican cultural society.
The name Pachuco was not the name for the Zoot-Suit. For the suit the pachucos had the name “TACUCHE”, along with a name for everything associated with the suit, from hat (tandito) to shoes (calcos).
Therefore Pachuco is a name which was first ascribed to the Mexican Zoot-Suiters by others in the Mexican community -but then later adopted it for themselves, taking it out of that mindset and attitude related to “PACHUQUISMO” that exists in the rebellious spirit of the mixed-blood offspring of the Spaniards & Native Peoples.
Pachuco or Chuco in its diminutive form, is a name given to a class of Mexican people by the more well-to-do aristocracy and urbanites with the implication of being a low-life and undesirable, much like the name cholo or nigger came to be used by Europeans on people of Indian or Negro blood. It later became associated with the poor immigrants fleeing the chaos of war during the Mexican Revolution. The throngs of people were a motley crew of peasants, artisans, cowboys, ex-soldiers of both Mexican & French blood, along with the wandering bands of Gypsies that fled Mexico because of the turmoil that engulfed the Brown Nation.
The pachuco then became associated with Marijuana users and with people living in the borderland towns like El Paso, where they became notorious for their participation in the underworld. Thereafter, pachuquismo became synonymous with the Mexican-rebel outlaw and trafficker. Many times a mother would be heard telling her children to behave or the Pachucos (boogeyman archtype) will come get them. Later it became a coined name used to describe Mexican youth, with the implication of being gang members and criminals.
But pachuquismo is in all Mexicans and Chicanos, so the question remains WHAT IS PACHUQUISMO?
Pachuqismo is a split image between European & Indian.
The European aspect was imposed on the Indians thru Catholicism and the Spanish language, but the restless nature and symbolism of the natives remained in his heart. The merger of the two peoples metamorphosed into a spirit that thrives in festivity, language, vitality and picturistic visualization of life to be displayed in everything from dress to art.
Pachuquismo exist in the vulgarity and openness expressed in everyday speech of the Mexicans & Chicanos, it is a very significative pluralistic form of cultural expression of liberal independence. It is a savage creativity of word play, which rejects the practicality of the Spanish or English languages. The labyrinth and myriads of words such as LA CHINGADA have an all-encompassing significance or none at all.
Pachuquismo is a mode of resistance to the description of things by the established system. It exists in everything from language, religion, to festivities and symbolism.
Pachuquismo is always sumerged in celebrations, which in itself, the celebration is a symbol of the triumph of life and happiness over death and gloom. In Pachuquismo every occasion can be used as a celebration of sorts.
Pachuqismo is an exaltation of one’s own life, with the focus on showing through defiance that life is not worth anything “LA VIDA NO VALE NADA” as Mexicans tend to remind themselves of in their bravado and in such things as music, and with it comes an expressive spiritual form of laughing at tragedy.
Pachuqismo is noble & savage in its ability to synthesize its ways with those of any culture it comes in contact with, from Christianity to Yankeeism.
Pachuquismo goes on to possess all those Mexican-Americans who do not wish to be neither American nor old-Mexican, rejecting both societies that have discriminated against them. It goes on to cultivate and maintain the nostalgic identity of being original and independent, continuing to express itself in frame of mind & attitude and into a multitude of visual forms descriptive of its uniqueness which allows it to exist within a foreign society.
The pachuquismo attitude manifests itself fully in everything associated with the individual in a “pluralistic” form – from family to neighborhood, from attire to cars, from language to art. Everything becomes an outer expression for the precious treasure that the spirit of the individual carries within his/her rebel soul.
Pachuquismo assimilates everything it comes in contact with, but to everything it touches – it modifies it – thus creating something new.
Pachuquismo then would be better described as a pluricultural way of doing things by deforming foreign cultures and inventing a new one.