Academic journal article The Journal of Men's Studies

The Inventory of Subjective Masculinity Experiences: Development and Psychometric Properties

Academic journal article The Journal of Men's Studies

The Inventory of Subjective Masculinity Experiences: Development and Psychometric Properties

Article excerpt

Gender has been described as "one of the central organizing principles around which social life revolves" (Kimmel, 2000, p. 5). From an early age, men learn to view their lives through gendered lenses. Therefore, when men use statements such as, He needs to man up, As a man, I need to be the breadwinner, and That was pretty ballsy, they demarcate certain aspects of their or others' lives as gendered. Although there is growing recognition by masculinity scholars that men play an active role in creating meanings of masculinities (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Addis & Cohane, 2005; Wong & Rochlen, 2008), quantitative research on this topic has been sparse.

Over the past 25 years, several quantitative measures have been developed to address different facets of masculinity, including ideology (Levant et al., 2007), norms (Mahalik et al., 2003), gender role conflict (O'Neil, Helms, Gable, David, & Wrightsman, 1986), and gender role stress (Eisler & Skidmore, 1987). However, one potential limitation of these measures is that they do not assess men's constructions of masculinities by connecting their life experiences to their gender. For instance, the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory (Mahalik et al., 2003) includes items that address the masculine norm of self-reliance (e.g., I hate asking for help). Yet, these items do not assess men's explicit attempts to connect self-reliance to their gender. For example, a Chinese American man might be very self-reliant but may associate his self-reliance with Chinese culture rather than with his gender. Research on men's active attempts to relate their life experiences to gender has been found mainly in qualitative studies (e.g., Hammond & Mattis, 2005; Hutardo & Sinha, 2008; Tatum & Charlton, 2008). These studies typically involve interviews with men on their subjective understanding of masculinity. A common theme from these qualitative studies is that men's subjective understanding of what it means to be a man tends to be more diverse than the facets of masculinity assessed in existing measures of masculinity. For instance, although several qualitative studies (e.g., Diemer, 2002; Hammond & Mattis, 2005; Hurtado & Sinha, 2008) have found that for some African American and Latino men, family is a central component of what it means to be a man, there are currently no measures of masculinity that assess family-related constructs. The current study extends the work of previous qualitative studies (e.g., Tatum & Charlton, 2008) that examined men's constructions of masculinities. However, in contrast to qualitative research, our goal was to develop a quantitative measure so that findings on men's constructions of masculinities can be systematically replicated in future research. In the following section, we discuss the theoretical foundation for our new measure.

SUBJECTIVE GENDER EXPERIENCES

We present a new theoretical model, the Subjective Gender Experiences Model as the theoretical basis for constructing our measure. Our model is rooted in social constructionist perspectives on gender, which emphasizes that women and men are actively involved in constructing meanings of gender (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Wong & Rochlen, 2008). This process can occur in at least two ways. First, we refer to people's intellectual notions of what it means to be male or female as subjective gender definitions (e.g., It is important for men to be tough). One example of quantitative research on subjective gender definitions involves studies using the Hoffman Gender Scale. Hoffman and colleagues (2000) developed this measure which includes an open-ended question on women's and men's personal definitions of femininity and masculinity (e.g., "What do you mean by masculinity?"). Participants' responses are then coded according to categories of definitions of femininity and masculinity (Hoffman, Hattie, & Border, 2005).

Second, in contrast to subjective gender definitions, we propose that subjective gender experiences involve experiences of gender at the personally-relevant, experiential level (e. …

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