Dude You’re a Fag ; school experience Comparison



Dude, You’re a Fag; school experience Comparison

Pascoe’s literature work is a clear mirror through which everyone can observe and see various instances of sexuality and masculinity in Secondary Schools as well as other places of work and all variety of learning institutions. The author has identified the high school as an important area where the subject of masculinity is continuously asserted, defined and defended and often this is passed from one generation to another.

The exploration of daily life in high school by the book shows how male students repeatedly do assert their masculinity by a way of attacking those who are not endowed with it, referred to as ‘fags’, and this illustrates how current ideas are interwoven to the heterosexuality. Pascoe has revealed how construction and upholding of masculinity are of paramount importance in not only the learners but to the learning institution itself, helping in fostering an environment that permits homophobia, sexual harassment, as well as gay bashing.

Pascoe’s literature work sheds a clear picture of experiences of gender interaction issues I had in my high school times and even today in my place of work. Heterosexuality is a common thing in nearly all the places I have worked, especially currently as a banker. It is unfortunate that some bosses use it to illustrate and manifest unethical behaviors within the workplace and the more their target prey gives in the more chances of promotion and other related things. In high school, this was no different in nearly every part of the routine, ranging from sports to academics and all other co-curricular activities in the institution. This essay paper will compare various instances brought out by Pascoe with relation to the experiences I had in my high school days, as far as sexuality and masculinity are concerned (Pascoe, 2006).



Pascoe took around one and half a year in studying and researching life in high school, in a small working class within suburban environment in north-central California.  His literature material weaves interviews conducted on students with the ethnographic observations of the author, which ranged from highly gendered times such as rallies, school plays, and Gay/Straight Alliance meetings (GSA) to everyday classes. This was intended to bring out practices and ideas that both the society and the individual students held to constitute masculinity and stereotypes norms so related. Pascoe has used interdisciplinary perspective into the subject and starts the book with a brief and clear review of literature on the gender, feminist evolution, and thereafter studies of masculinity and highlights its intersections with racial and queer theories that are critical.

The book does reconstruct high school life from the one characterized by non-sexual to an institution which is greatly invested in rituals that strengthen gender norms, stereotypical perceptions of masculinity and heterosexuality. The book has tried to extract students’ ideas and taking as to what they call ‘gay’ or ‘fag’, as they commonly do in nearly all their daily interactions. It has been noted that in many instances students would punish one another through what the author terms as ‘the fag discourse’. One student explains that being termed a fag is the highest form of insult one can be called. Similar to my high school days, some student would find themselves in a tussle that would probably end up into fight due to cases of similar nature.

This would happen especially when students are out for outdoor activities like sports competitions. When cheering their team, a student could throw such words to their rivals, and the sentiments were so irritating that it would at times breed chaotic atmosphere. In particular games like rugby, masculinity was considered a necessity and the male students could analyze each player on the basis of their body posture and strength and this was also used to evaluate the ability of the particular student to attract girls for sexual desires.

While in Pascoe’s book these would be generally referred to as ‘fags’,  in our case we called this kind of boys ‘income’, which is a short word for incompetent and meant to refer to a boy who is impotent. In the case of Pascoe, the behavior by students by far enhanced the continuity of stereotyping the concept of masculinity among the youth. it is worth noting that the boys who were not physically strong enough were not given much credit in sporting and this to some extent brought a seed of discrimination in learning institutions. Just like in the case of Pascoe’s book, this sort of discrimination aroused breeding of indiscipline behaviors like harassment (Pascoe, 2006).

It is seen that in River High School, teachers were less concerned with fostering ethical discussions amongst the students and ensuring the culture has changed for the good of the students and the society at large. While teachers in that particular institution claimed that they never took part in discussing matters of sexuality with their students, it is clear that they both, directly and indirectly, contributed in enhancing the behavior through enabling a favorable atmosphere.

For instance, we are told that teachers in River High highly recognized heterosexuality to an extent that they would ask students about dating, and engaging in issues of heterosexual repartee as well as extreme use of linguistic tools like metaphor and symbolism in class work that directly encouraged the spread of the culture. Again, the school is seen to have a curriculum that was largely used to foster heterosexuality and as a means of passage of the culture to the newly admitted students.

This case gives my brain a nostalgic memory of my high school days, wherein the second week of admission into the institution, a big bash would be organized by the administration and dedicated to all fresh students. Innocently, this looked like a warm welcome into the institution. In this night bash, ceremonies like dancing and serving of delicious meals were done overnight. Dancing and sharing marked the climax of the event, and as I recall, all fresh students were to integrate with the continuing in the dancing event.

While this sounds a good welcome approach for the students, it requires critical analysis for one to tell that it was meant to enhance the heterosexuality and continuity of the culture. It is clear that teachers facilitated this in this kind of informal curriculum and through it, the culture was embedded into the newcomers. These points out a similarity with River High where teachers encouraged heterosexuality through such means like making heterosexist and sexist jokes, and by invoking heterosexual metaphors. The only difference with my High School is that there was a strict rule on dressing code and students, unlike River High where gay students would wear clothing that was gender-queer. However, this case of outdoor meetings for gays is similar in my place of work, and nearly every other organization (Pascoe, 2006).


Pascoe’s Dude you are a Fag has demonstrated how our high schools breed and enhance continuity of a culture of sexuality and sexual harassment and stereotyping of masculinity in the society. This book, highly termed as insightful by many reviewers, is a clear similarity of what used to happen in my High School. Pascoe has tried to reconstruct the perceptions of masculinity in this book and the challenge is because it is the teachers themselves who partly contribute to its spread (Pascoe, 2006).



Pascoe, C. J. (2006). “Dude, you’re a fag”: masculinity in high school. California: University of California.


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