ERIC Number: EJ795529
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Masculinities and Resistance: High School Boys (Un)doing Boy
Kehler, Michael D.
Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education, v8 n1 p97-113 Spr-Sum 2004
In Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom there has been a resurgence in attention directed at boys and schooling. The media and public discourse describes it as a burgeoning moral panic. Mainly grounded in public concerns about achievement levels and violence in schools, the response has been to develop quick fixes and visible approaches. Such approaches however fail to critique traditional understandings of gender and particularly masculinity. Very little attention has gone into actually understanding or examining the practices of masculinities and how these are negotiated within school settings. For example, What does it mean to "do" boy and "undo" boys in this context? How do men challenge heteronormative masculinities? The failure to question how gender is implicated in schools significantly impacts how and to what extent educators can respond to the above mentioned concerns. This paper explores the ways in which four young men in high school unsettle dominant heteronormative constructions of masculinities through counter hegemonic practices. By building on past discussions that re-envision men as social allies the author furthers an argument for re-envisioning high school men as agents for social change. The article begins by considering current theories within men's studies and the kind of practical and theoretical import these carry for better understanding that "masculinity is not fixed but rather constituted and reconstituted over negotiated circumstances and time, consuming a great deal of thought and energy" (Frank, 1996, p. 115). It then explores specific bodily practices in a high school to illuminate both the context and the process by which some men opt out of heteronormativity. The final section of this paper focuses on the resistance young men face when they challenge heteronormative masculinity. The paper concludes by arguing that though the actions and words of these young men are rarely observed and/or reported compared to the studies of sexism, homophobia, and misogyny, their ways of doing masculinity nonetheless highlights a potentially powerful counter-current within a high school context.
Descriptors: High School Students, Males, Masculinity, Gender Issues, Resistance (Psychology), Sex Role, Sex Stereotypes, Social Change, Homosexuality, Social Bias, Intimacy, Antisocial Behavior, Verbal Communication
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A