Dude You'Re a Fag

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John Denora

High school, the best years of your life with everyday shaping and molding you from a feminine boy to becoming a respectable masculine adult, in truth its surviving everyday without being called a fag. In C.J. Pascoe’s ethnography she examines the dynamics of masculinity carefully exploring gender conformity that’s extracted from a collection of humiliations, fears and anxieties among high school boys. Within the eighteen months that Pascoe tediously studied the students of River High, she opened my mind to reminisce about my high school years. From the pep rallies in the gym to the weight room discussions, however, Pascoe’s research expressed a deeper meaning to the formation of gender identities and masculinity in high school. Since high school remains to be an important ground in concretizing values, principles, and opinions, it is in here that gender associations are facilitated and realized by students accordingly (Pascoe, 2007). Pascoe outlines the behaviors, rituals, and discourses involved in the making of gendered identities. She argues that the majority of interactions going on daily in the school construct masculinity as being equivalent to heterosexuality and dominance over women. Pascoe spent time observing students in classrooms, which included “gender neutral” sites, the Senior Government class and traditionally masculine sites such as auto shop class. Pascoe writes of what she calls the fag discourse. She noted that the male students would often call each other a “fag” for no reason pertaining to sexuality, but more to do with masculinity. Girls never really used the word “fag” and were never called fags. When interviewed, both male and female students said that “fag” was the worst slur guys could direct at each other. According to this discourse, fear of being called out publicly as a “fag” is the primary driving force behind what Pascoe calls the display of “compulsive heterosexuality”....
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