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Bullied: Youth, Gender, and Homophobia

On September 24, 2015 at 6:00 PM, the Gray/Wawro Lectures in Gender, Health and Wellbeing resumed with CJ Pascoe, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon.  The lecture took place in the Hudspeth Auditorium at the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, with a reception co-sponsored by PFLAG-Houston, OutSmart Magazine, and the Young Invincibles.

Pascoe book cover

Popular and academic discussions often frame bullying as something a high-status homophobic young person directs at another lower-status young person, frequently with devastating results. This talk unpacks some of the assumptions undergirding these discussions. Analyzing homophobic bullying among teenage boys suggests that bullying is less about individual pathology and more about gender socialization and boys’ reproduction of gender inequality. To fully understand bullying, we need to focus on interactions between young people, rather than individual qualities of bullies and victims. We should investigate the various relationships in which these aggressive interactions take place and flesh out a new vocabulary of bullying such that it is understood as a social problem that is not unique to young people and reflects larger social inequalities.

Pascoe headshotCJ Pascoe’s current research focuses on gender, youth, homophobia, sexuality and new media.  She teaches courses on sexuality, social psychology, deviance, gender and education.  Her book, Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School, won the American Educational Research Association’s 2007 Book of the Year Award as well as an honorable mention for the ASA’s section on Sex and Gender’s Distinguished Book Award.  By documenting the relationship between homophobic harassment, heterosexism and masculinity in high school, Pascoe suggests ways we might begin to redefine gender norms that are damaging to both boys and girls. Pascoe’s research has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Toronto Globe and Mail, American Sexuality Magazine and Inside Higher Ed.  She has appeared in the Frontline documentary “Growing Up Online” as well as on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” She is a blogger at Girl w/Pen and Social (In)Queery. Her new co-edited book with Professor Tristan Bridges is entitled “Exploring Masculinities.”