Marica, mariquita and maricón (could be translated to English as fag, sissy and faggot), all of them variations of the name of Mary (María), are the words most used in Spain to insult and point gay men. Nevertheless at present, these words are also used normally between LGBT people replacing the word gay. We self-defined as maricones, maricas and mariquitas leaving homophobia without one of his favorite insults.
In addition, marica is also a kind of magpie and mariquita a well known insect, the ladybug, as the mariposa (butterfly), which can also be a mariposón (big butterfly), words used also in Spain against gay men. The homophobia, following with applied entomology, also generates many worms that after his cocoon stage, draw the wings and get to fly to find a good pylon to pucker the lips, or become ducks (patos) or peacocks with a lot of muscle, testosterone and eyebrows plucked to paroxysm. Males, sissys, big ugly birds and insects. From where does all this? What is the origin of the word marica? The short version is that, according to a uncouth (or heteronormative) view of reality, a man who likes men is like a woman, so is called as woman, using variations of the name of Mary. If this seems too short and simple I will say that the origin of the slang term marica, is in the patriarchal identification, you have explained below in more extensive and complex form. Fair warning!
Patriarchy and categories.
Patriarchy is an ancient social system, although given the power to men because it derived from their greater physical strength, submits all people, men and women, in most human societies. This system imposes a certain vision of reality, which is simplified by the use of categories (man, woman, heterosexual, homosexual), and assign a number of functions to each people according to the category to which they belong. Thus patriarchy, supported by both sexes, decides what a man is, what is a woman and what are their roles in society and also in bed.
But this system, the categories and dichotomies do not include or explain all reality, and even fairly recent (and today) anything that does not fit should be transformed, destroyed and banished, lest the world was destroyed by the finger of a god in power, or an abyssal chasm was opened to swallow us all, or the established power was questioned. This system reduced the sexuality of women to procreation, and because of the power of men, allowed them to have sexual life outside of procreation and social norms. It also states that men "officially" only had sex with women, and that women only had sex with men, so a man who wanted sex with another was like a woman. This is what we call patriarchal identification.
Marica, a man that is like a woman.
The patriarchal identification assign feminine characteristics to men with homosexual behavior and masculine characteristics to women with homosexual behavior. In this sense patriarchy, in addition to saying what a man and what is a woman, it also says what is a gay and what is a lesbian, in addition to building them and mistreat them.
In this process of generation of categories and roles, is the origin of the word Marica and all its derivatives, as Mariquita and Maricón. From the names of women, María and Marica, gay men become in woman, calling them that way, and it is for this same reason that in front of a same-sex couple, society often asked or tried to guess, sometimes with morbid curiosity, who was the man and who the woman was.
This patriarchal identification besides getting all "fit" into these two categories has a second consequence, which is to allow "heterosexual" men have homosexual behavior without undermining their "masculinity", as it becomes the object of his desires in a woman.
Go beyond Marica, and know the meaning and origin of other expressions as
Check our gay dictionary to learn more about the categories of expressions; the different languages to learn more words; the search engine that you have to left on your screen to find the word you're looking for in any of the 68 languages; or our blog (in Spanish) for new points of view of human sexual diversity and relevant scientific information.