Hombres y Machos Handout

Presenters: Iris Foley and Patrick Murphy

About the Author, Alfredo Mirande

Mirande’s explanations for Mexican hypermasculinity

1. result of the Spanish conquest

2. brought over by the Spaniards

3. the masculinity was already present in the natives

Basics of the Spanish Conquest

Expansion on explanation #1

-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

-Men became overly protective and untrusting, protective of their women

BSRI/MSRI studies

BSRI (Bem Scale) is a scale that measures masculinity and femininity, the two measures do not affect each other. It is possible to be both feminine and masculine, one or the other, or neither.

-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

– For example, 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.

-MSRI is a measure created by Mirande and is an alternative to the BSRI. Looks at conceptions of masculinity and femininity in a collective sociocultural context

-It studies traditionalism, toughness, and sensitivity in men and their effects on happy marriages, household roles, and interaction with children.

-Findings show that men with professional occupations are more traditional, men who are less professional are usually tougher but also more sensitive

-Overall, the MSRI is found to be a more accurate and appropriate measure than the BSRI

-Findings show that certain conceptions of masculinity that have been assumed to be unvarying and universal are actually variable and culture specific


1.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?
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