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Fag Discourse

Homophobic attitudes, practices, and jokes are central to the making of contemporary U.S. adolescent masculinity. Homophobic teasing and harassment often characterizes masculinity during youth and early adulthood. These anti-gay insults tend to be directed primarily at other boys. C. J. Pascoe's concept of a “fag discourse” elaborates on the gendered nature of this homophobia, illustrating that it is as much about regulating masculinity as it is about renouncing same-sex sexual desire. That is, “fag” is not only an insult directed at gay boys, but an insult that is regularly directed at heterosexual boys to discipline them into normatively masculine behaviors, dispositions, and self-presentations. The fag epithet may or may not have explicit sexual meanings, but it always has gendered meanings. When a boy calls another ...

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