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Issues of power, masculinity, and gender justice: Sally’s story of teaching boys
journal contributionposted on 2007-03-01, 00:00 authored by Amanda KeddieAmanda Keddie
Despite calls for a more nuanced approach to issues of gender and equity that recognizes how broader relations of gender and power continue to produce injustices for many females, essentialized accounts expressing concern about boys’ poor educational performance remain the most common refrain in dominant equity discourses across Western contexts. This common refrain characteristic of current large scale gender reforms, such as Australia's parliamentary inquiry into the education of boys, Boys: Getting it right, is driven by a standards rather than social justice focus and thus creates silences around issues of gender injustice, power, and constructions of hegemonic masculinity. In this paper, I present “Sally's” story as a disruption of these silences. Sally is a young English teacher at “Penfolds College”, an all boys Catholic school in a large urban centre in Queensland (Australia). Her story, in illustrating how particular boys draw on broader discourses of masculinity to sexually harass and intimidate her, highlights the inadequacies of dominant public and policy discourse in terms of its failure to locate boys’ educational issues within broader contexts of inequitable gender relations.