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Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School Paperback – June 4, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Laced with evocative stories based on ethnographic observations and interviews with high school kids, Dude, You're a Fag tells gripping stories of life in high school, while helping to extend the cutting edge of scholarly theory on gender and sexualities. C.J. Pascoe has contributed a highly readable and extremely insightful book that will be required reading for students and scholars of youth and the construction of sex and gender in schools."—Michael A. Messner, author of Taking the Field: Women, Men and Sports

"This is a strikingly original study of schoolboys renegotiating class, gender, and ethnicity, along with the labeling as 'fag'. Here homophobia is at work in a path breaking study, which is also a highly readable must-read."—Ken Plummer, University of Essex, and editor of Sexualities

"We know that schools are a central site for the construction of gender identity, but until C. J. Pascoe's careful and compassionate ethnography, we haven't known exactly how gender conformity is extracted from a slurry of humiliations, fears, and anxieties. Boys will not be boys unless they are made to be, by violence, real or implied. A troubling, thoughtful work."—Michael Kimmel, author of Manhood in America

"Pascoe's thoughtful analysis of the rhetorical and interactional processes that constitute the field of masculinity for young, high school men coming of age is rich and engaging. With fresh insight and careful observation, Pascoe sheds new light on the complex interplay of masculinity, homophobia, sexuality, and the body, compelling us to rethink the formation of gender identities, collective gender practices, and the reproduction of gender inequalities."—Amy L. Best, author of Prom Night: Youth, Schools and Popular Culture and Fast Cars, Cool Rides: The Accelerating World of Youth and Their Cars

"In this superb ethnography of daily life in a contemporary high school, C. J. Pascoe highlights the sexualized dynamics of youthful masculinity. With vivid detail and perceptive analysis, she examines the 'fag talk' which pervades boys' conversations; the convergence of gender, sexual, and racialized practices in school rituals like the 'Mr. Cougar' contest; and the experiences of girls who display themselves as masculine. The result is a book that breaks fresh ground in masculinity and gender studies-and is a very good read!"—Barrie Thorne, author of Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School

About the Author

C.J. Pascoe is Postdoctoral Scholar with the Digital Youth Project at the Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of California, Berkeley.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520252306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520252301
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R B VINE VOICE on November 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book for a class required by my undergrad, so I may have a different mindset than one who read it for fun.
Pascoe spent several weeks in a NorCal high school, studying the impact and influence of gender and sexuality with these kids. Their personal interviews are surprisingly insightful and self-reflective. The big, stereotypical star football player is very aware of gender roles and double standards. There is another popular female athlete who dresses as a drag queen for halloween, and finds it riotously funny. Many parts of this book are less-than objective, which is understandable when dealing with this part of anthropology.
But, the setting (public high school) and the layman's language makes this book something a person from any area of study can read to help open his mind to new ideas (or even just the study of them).
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. Pascoe does a good job providing a detailed description of masculinity within a variety of social settings at Riverton High School. Unfortunately, she spends more time on specific spaces (such as auto-shop) and certain groups of students (like the Basketball Girls), than on the school as a whole. I wonder if she would have gotten slightly different results had she focused on more generic spaces such as 'the classroom'. Still, Pascoe does a great job explaining how masculinity is at work in these settings. Some of her explanations go against what the students said, which makes some of her claims somewhat suspicious, though I found most of her arguments in these cases convincing. I particularly appreciated Pascoe's use of Butler's idea of the specter, which she applied to the term/identity/idea of 'the fag'. I applaud Pascoe for including race analysis in this work, though it is only a minor part and doesn't go into great depth, I still think she used it well.

My big complaint about this book is that there isn't anything amazing in her conclusion. I was so happy to see that she included both 'theoretical implications' and 'practical' implications. However, her suggestions in the conclusion were not ground-breaking.

Finally, Pascoe extends 'the fag discourse' further than I would have expected. She includes not only times when students explicity say 'fag' as discourse, but also times when these students (male) imitate effeminate behavior. While I think it was appropriate to do so, I was disappointed in her lack of ability to see the radical potential in the effeminate imitations. She chalked up these imitations to be purely anti-fag.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read this book the freshmen year of my college trying to make sense of my high school experience and the title then grab my attention as a must read. I was stunned reading it because I thought she was describing my high school. The boys were so similar, if not exhibit the same characteristics, and so were the girls. That book gave me the validation of what I felt was so problematic with our education system, and how homophobia is a learned behaviors, and that those who participated in it are rewarded by not being the one left out. And of course, someone is always left out. And this is the system that we live in and reinforced each day by not speaking up against it. "No child left behind" my ass.

That was about 4 years ago now and as I am writing this review now, I was curious to see what other reviewers said on Amazon. I was really stunned by the many low reviews. Looking through it, I must say I'm not surprised that many (if not all) of them were by men, who accuse her of her "feminist agenda." It gets ugly when folks doesn't want to be called out, and doesn't want system to change because they don't think something is wrong with it when they benefit by participating and not speaking up against it.

The saying "Boys will be boys" rhetoric is spoken in all these reviews, which serve as a reminder, why this book is so needed in the first place. Check out "[...]" which serves us a reminder why words are more powerful than we'd like to give them credit for.

I think Pascoe gets a bad rep because she is a woman, and a lesbian, and I just wonder if the author was male, if these reviewers would attack her credibility so much. Regardless, I thank her for a research, well-done.

4.5
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If you are interested in a qualitative perspective of homophobic language, this is the book to read. Reading this book was an insightful and painful flashback to high school and the scary interplay that happens as people exercise their masculinity. Well written, smart, funny, and ultimately deeply powerful.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally purchased this book for my Sociology class in college. This book not only helps to inform and educate, but is also a huge eye opener to me. I never originally planned on reading the rest of the book after my class had ended. This book itself was so shocking that it literally changed my views on masculinity and femininity for who knows, maybe my entire life. I'll admit that I wish this book wasn't assigned, but its something I recommend to those who wish to take a stand against bullying in the education system when it comes to masculinity and other issues such as this. Its a good read, just was hard for me personally.
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