"Fag talk" and Feminism
C.J. Pascoe investigates the way straight young men enforce the rules of masculinity with what she calls "fag discourse"--using the term "fag" to label behavior that is out of the norm for young male expectations. As she points out, a lot of "fag talk" has nothing to do with gay men, but is a pervasive way for young men to exert dominance and control over one another. In the end, she points out that several states have taken legislative action to prohibit this kind of language in high schools. But she thinks what is needed are not disciplinary measures that will just pull another power play over the young men (after all, "fag talk" is about power and pulling rank over others), but finding a way to show them the dynamics that are involved in this kind of behavior.
This excerpt from Robert Jensen's new book, Getting Off: The Pornography of Masculinity, reveals the dangers of letting "fag talk" go unaddressed. He provides three very chilling examples from his real life about the way grown men continue to exert dominance over one another in a variety of social settings. Jensen says he feels trapped by the masculine roles that he himself partakes of, and then realizes there is a way out: feminism. Its a fascinating read and tries to outline the remedies called for by Pascoe.