Bodies in school: Young men, embodiment, and heterosexual masculinities

Kehily, Mary (2001). Bodies in school: Young men, embodiment, and heterosexual masculinities. Men and Masculinities, 4(2) pp. 173–185.



This article considers the relationship between sexuality and schooling and draws on data from an ethnographic school-based study. It considers the ways in which sexualities are shaped and lived through pupil cultures that are often marginalized or overlooked by teachers and rarely find their way into the official curriculum. It discusses the normative power of heterosexuality in schools and, particularly, the relationship between masculinities and heterosexuality. Themes of embodiment, physicality, and performance play a part in the ways in which informal groups of students actively ascribe meanings to issues of sex and gender. Through interviews with young men in school, it is suggested that school processes produce sites for the enactment of heterosexual masculinities that suggest the normative presence of heterosexuality and the fragility of sex/gender categories. The article aims to contribute to an understanding of sexual majorities by focusing on the processes that are constitutive of dominant practice in school arenas.

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