Dr. Edson Cruz
As many young adults now encounter “emerging adulthood,” a critical period of identity formation (Arnett 2000), the models of masculinity that men use to guide their transition into manhood during this life stage have yet to be investigated. Connell (2000) illustrates a “flexible, calculative, egocentric” masculinity as hegemonic today; however, as intersectional theory indicates, the means to achieving dominant cultural models are complicated by the relation between our diversity of identities and accessibility to resources (Crenshaw 1990). Stereotypes of Asian men being especially feminine reveal the unique position they hold to hegemonic masculinity. This research project asks, How do emerging Asian-American men utilize the resources available to them in an attempt to embody transnational business masculinity? I explore this through 12 qualitative interviews of working and middle class Asian-American men between the ages of 20 and 24, finding that although socio-economic status provides similar class resources to each group, their within-class responses to TBM are varied. For some working class men, opportunities that they encounter propel them toward the TBM ideal. For other working class men, the lack of these opportunities deter them from pursuing this ideal. For middle class men, TBM is an achievable pathway, given their class resources. However, their financial security also provides the freedom to choose something different, as their masculinity has already been secured by economic stability. With TBM being the most powerful masculinity, a common route for Asian-American men to pursue this ideal is through STEM careers because of stereotypes of Asians in STEM, but also because of stereotypes that keep them from being promoted up corporate ladders. My research adds to the literature on transnational business masculinity, exploring how race and social class create differences between men and how they view themselves and their lives. Future research will examine the intersectional experiences of other working- and middle-class racial-ethnic groups. Studying how women experiencing emerging adulthood feel about transnational business masculinity is also a topic for future research that will yield insight into the delayed family-formation patterns found among early 21st century adults.
Tam, Corinne, "“Is My Package Big Enough?”: Emerging Asian-American Men and Masculinity" (2020). SURF Posters and Papers. 6.