The setting of the book is a high school environment that comprises of adolescents. The main theme highlighted in the book is masculinity and its impact on adolescents in high schools. The author explores the interactions of these students from different perspectives and how their actions affect each other. The author conducts a survey in the school to determine how these adolescents and their teachers often tame masculinity through heterosexual behaviors. The book also reveals the existing racism amongst students that determine their levels of interactions.
Title of the book: Dude, You’re A Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School
Author: C.J. Pascoe
Publication date: 2007
Publisher: University of California Press
Copyright date: 2007
Page count: 248
Masculinity is a term often used to portray the male dominance over their female counterparts. For Pascoe, however, masculinity entails various social habits amongst school-going teenagers that are slowly becoming new norms. The book title Dude, You’re A Fag draws significant concern to any audience that might come across Pascoe’s literary work. Perhaps this could be the author’s approach to ensuring that her message reaches as many people and societies as possible. The intention for picking the title is not to make the book controversial, but rather to trigger firm actions and responses from the readers. Some emerging habits in most learning institutions have adverse, unanticipated effects on the victims, yet these practices are being normalized gradually.
Pascoe identifies significant themes that she strives to highlight throughout the book by giving a specific example from her interaction with boys and girls from different backgrounds. The author spends time to interview students at River High School in California to establish how institutions are gradually taming sensitive gender-based issues. The term fag is usually used when referring to those who are perceived by their peers to be lacking masculinity. The 18-month survey establishes themes such as race, repudiation, homophobia, girls’ gender strategies, and confirmation. Pascoe explores the daily norms in high school setups that require urgent intervention, yet most administrations do little to discourage these habits. This is evident as boys, particularly the whites, believe that it is normal to demand sexual advances from ladies.
The book acknowledges that masculinity is an unwanted dominance that needs to be reconstructed by school administrations. Pascoe highlights the evolution of feminism to point out how it eventually relates to masculinity, which is mostly propelled by the male gender. The author’s primary objective is to explain how most school programs, teachers, and teenagers are cultivating adolescent masculinity through sexual orientations. The book criticizes the role of the school in promoting heterosexual masculinity through various extra curriculum activities.
During her research at River High, Pascoe acknowledges that school logistics are the most significant contributors to adolescents’ social habits. The school sets up clubs such as the Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) to imply that learners should defend their sexual orientation from an early age, even when they are not faced with significant provocations. The author shows their concern about adolescent masculinity by interviewing different students from various perspectives to draw a sound conclusion. Through her observation, Pascoe acknowledges that most adolescents fear to engage themselves in activities that are deemed to be of the opposite gender. During plays, boys that take up parody roles of acting like women are often branded feminist names as a result of their association. While Pascoe argues that this does not change one’s gender, the fact remains that there are victims who are continuously facing critics from their peers.
The book highlights how masculinity often appears to be launching insignificant attacks on innocent victims. The fag discourse compels students to discipline others for being associated with gays. This is a sensitive issue that Pascoe urges the school administration to act swiftly and ensure that no student falls victim to their sexual orientation. An excellent example in the book is a young man called Ricky, who faces the stigma of insufficient masculinity because he is gay. This identity subjects Ricky to constant harassment from other students as well as unfair treatment by the school administration. He is continuously compared and being associated with feminists by his colleagues that do not see him as a man.
Pascoe argues that masculinity is primarily asserted through male-female interactions, where boys often express their dominance over girls. Though the author fails to interview students concerning