HOMBRES YMACHOSMASCULINITY AND LATINO CULTURE PRESENTERS: IRIS FOLEY & PATRICK MURPHY
ALFREDO MIRANDE• Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Riverside• Born in Mexico City, came to the United States at age 9• Has degrees from Stanford University, the University of Nebraska, and Illinois State University• Fellow, Nation Research Council and Rockefeller Fellow • Research areas include Law, Race and Ethnic Theory, Chicano Sociology, and Race, Class, and Gender• Multiple published works
GENESIS OF MEXICANMASCULINITYThree explanations for the emergence of hypermasculinityamong Mexicans:1. “the most prevalent and the most negative explanation for the Mexican preoccupation with masculinity is that it is the direct result of the Spanish Conquest” (34)2. “the cultural emphasis on masculinity was a characteristic of Spanish society prior to the Conquest that was imposed on the native population” (35)3. “masculine displays may have had pre-Columbian origins that predated the arrival of the Spaniards” (35)
BASICS OF THE SPANISHCONQUEST OF THE AZTECS• Invasion began in 1519, was declared victorious in 1521• Only about 500 men led by Hernan Cortes overthrew the powerful, wealthy, sophisticated Aztec empire• First, Cortez made contact with coastal tribes and approached Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs• His men spent months living peacefully among them and won over their ruler, Montezuma. While Cortez was out of the city, his men massacred a number of Aztecs after they heard of a plot against the Spaniards. The Aztecs rose up against them and drove them from the city.• After being driven from the capital, the Spaniards ended their gradual encroachment and made plans for military action, allying with dozens of neighboring tribes• After a long and brutal siege, the Spaniards overtook the city of Tenochtitlan within a year and with it, the most powerful empire on the North American continent.
A RESPONSE TO THECONQUEST• The conquest was an event so devastating that it produced a form of “masculine protest,” an almost obsessive concern with images and symbols of manhood among Indian and mestizo men• Assumes that masculinity is a response to intense and persistent feelings of powerlessness and weakness• Feelings of inferiority stem from a the spiritual and moral downfall the Conquest caused – spiritual rape and conquest of Mexico• La Chingada – all Mexicans symbolically acknowledged as offspring of this single mother, a mythical, violated, metaphorical mother symbolized by the thousands of native women raped by the conquistadores
A RESPONSE TO THECONQUEST• The counterpart to La Chingada is Gran Chingon, the great macho. He is powerful and aggressive, wounding and penetrating, and distrustful of others.• Cult of machismo developed as Mexican men found themselves unable to protect their women• Native men became overly masculine and aggressive to compensate for deeply felt feelings of powerlessness and weakness• In this explanation, machismo is simply an attempt to mask a profound sense of impotence, powerlessness, and ineptitude.• The Mexican man is not actually inferior but he feels inferior
BEM SCALE (BSRI)• Scale that measures masculinity and femininity - the two measures do not affect each other. You can score high on both or low on both• Findings showed that certain conceptions of sex-appropriate behavior that have been assumed to be universal by the creators of the scale appear to be culture specific • Many Latino men score highly on the traditional masculinity traits (independence, assertiveness, leadership skills) but still remain sensitive to others, warm, tender, loyal, and affectionate – traditionally feminine traits.• These traits are more acceptable in Latino culture than they are in Anglo culture• Despite the popular media representation of the macho Latino man, it is actually more culturally acceptable for Latino men to cry, be emotional, and demonstrate feelings.• Overall, loyalty was a highly valued trait that is not sex-linked.
BEM SCALE (BSRI)• The study was also performed with a reversed scale that measured not only how masculine men were, but also how un-feminine they were.• It was found that hypermasculine men who took part in the study see themselves as being “self-reliant, self sufficient, and forceful, as defending their beliefs, and; because the items are reversed, definitely not as being shy, soft- spoken, or gullible.” (87)
AN ALTERNATIVEMEASURE: THE MIRANDESEX ROLE INVENTORY• Mirande found that the isolated traits the Bem scale measured were not the most accurate measure• Latino conceptions of masculinity and femininity are better understood in a collective sociocultural context • Response of the collective to your behavior • Issues of honor and integrity in the community • Cultural truths, sayings, and advice passed down from elders to the youth on how to act: • “The man should wear the pants in the family” • “A man’s word is his most important possession” • “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees” • “A real man has complete respect and authority in the family”
THE MIRANDE SEXROLE INVENTORY• Opposite sayings passed down to women • “A woman should always be faithful to her husband” • “Even if a man cannot provide for his family, he should still be the boss” • “A married woman should not dance with another man unless her husband gives her permission”• The MSRI has four components that it studies: • The double sexual standard for men and women • The idea that the male is or should be the dominant figure in the home • The importance of maintaining honor and integrity in the family • Toughness and the notion that men should be tough and not cry or be too emotional
MSRI/BSRI REGIONAL ANDSOCIOECONOMIC DIFFERENCES• BSRI • Men with professional occupations, higher incomes, and more education were actually more likely to endorse traditional masculine items • Socioeconomic differences in the measure of femininity were generally negligible and insignificant• MSRI • Men with professional occupations, higher incomes, and more education were less “traditional” • Toughness scores were higher among those with moderate or low incomes • Sensitivity scores were also slightly higher among those with moderate or low incomes
HOUSEHOLD CHORES, POWER,INTERACTION WITH CHILDREN, ANDMARITAL HAPPINESS DIFFERENCES• MSRI • Those who scored high on traditionalism were less likely to take part in household chores • Those who scored high on toughness were more likely to perform the chores • Those who scored high on sensitivity were less likely to perform the chores • Place of birth, language, education, and occupation did not significantly impact interaction with children or marital happiness, but income did. People with higher incomes were more likely to report that their marriage was happy or very happy. • Traditional and tough men were found more likely to interact with children than those who scored high as sensitive.• BSRI • “super-macho” men less likely to rate their marriages as happy • Those high on the BSRI femininity component were higher scorers on marital happiness
CONCLUSIONS• Conventional conceptions and measures of gender may have limited applicability as the BSRI and MSRI were somewhat conflicting• The findings show that the two inventories, BSRI and MSRI, are not equivalent measures of gender role orientation – many of the key variables turned out to be inversely related when using the two different measures• Findings show that certain conceptions of masculinity that have been assumed to be unvarying and universal are actually variable and culture specific
DISCUSSION1. Which do you think is a better measure of masculinity/femininity – the BSRI of the MSRI? Why?2. What impact do you think income, possessions, bilingualism, and career success have on masculinity? Do you think men with more power scored highly on the BSRI masculinity test because of these?3. Why do you think higher income led to “happier” marriages?4. Do you understand the impact the Spanish Conquest had on Mexican masculinity? Do you think that Mexican men today still identify with and are affected by the Conquest and all of its consequences?5. Do you see these defensive masculine traits in other cultures? Do male immigrants to the USA lose these qualities over time or do you think they are passed down?6. American culture is noted as being masculine and having “internalized dominant societal conceptions of masculinity and gender.” Do you think these conceptions have developed over time and are a combination of all the masculinities of different immigrant groups and cultures?