Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Reader 1

Piya Chatterjee

Reader 2

Tomas Summers Sandoval

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This thesis examined how four Male Mexican American post-undergraduate college students constructed their views on what it means “to be a man”. The method of oral histories not only for it’s power but also for its ability to offer a different perspective than that given by theory. Oral histories offer a rich perspective that has the power to challenge dominant narratives. The thesis was set up to reflect the way that the past informs the future. Through beginning with the history of U.S.-Mexico border relations via NAFTA, the Bracero Program, and the Border Patrol, one grasps the contentious relationship between the two countries and is introduced to the idea of pluarlities. Due to the relationship of labor to masculinity, theories on masculinity, machismo, and macho were discussed. The last two chapters centered on the oral histories of each man. “Origins,” the third chapter examined the “history” behind each orator. Finally chapter four, examined what masculinity, machismo, macho, and “being a man” is to each man. It is through this foregrounding in theory that one is able to better understand lived experiences. Through the combining of both theory and lived experiences, one is able to see the both the disconnect and overlap between the two. Although the responses ranged on what it “means to be a man” if you could essentialize it, there were are few themes that reappeared. “To be a Man” is about taking responsibility for your actions, being there for one’s family, and having honor. The range of responses only goes to highlight the complexities of even one term and each term could certainly warrant its own dissertation. Based on my brief research, there is still much work to be done on each area of focus.