Dude, you’re a Fag
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 at El Capitan. 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 in high school. Using Pascoe’s analytic methods along with D’emilio, freedman and weeks methodology and terminology I will compare my high school to River High that Pascoe analyzes in this ethnography.
Throughout reading Pascoe’s book I found myself constantly replacing the names of the students at River High with the names of the students at my high school almost matching everyone perfectly. El Capitan also being a racially diverse working-class high school in California I found it compelling to relate to that of River High. However, there were some definite on the surface differences such as our schools great devotion to our agriculture department and cowboy heritage with seasonal Rodeos. Using Pascoe’s analysis of the word fag used in high school I instantly related it to the cowboys at our school, who wore button down t shirts, cowboy hats and tight jeans. Even though our school was prided for its cowboy background, using Jeffrey Weeks cultures of resistance or a history of opposition and resistance to moral codes it finally made sense why they were constantly the target for this demeaning attempt to weaken their masculinity(9). I never understood this because at River High the African Americans got away with the cool...
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