“Us Boys like to Read Football and Boy Stuff”: Reading Masculinities, Performing Boyhood Journal Article uri icon



  • In this qualitative study, I explore how one group of fifth grade African American boys performed masculinity through classroom reading practices. I focus on two aspects of boys' experiences with masculinity: first, how reading practices made visible some of the ways that masculinities were performed in the classroom, particularly how boys defined themselves in relation to each other and to girls; and, second, how boys' performances of masculinity were disrupted through a particular reading experience in which they were required to read texts that they had previously rejected on the basis of gender. Interest in masculinity has recently increased, both in literacy and other humanities and social science fields. Yet, few studies have examined the intersection of masculinity and literacy in classrooms, particularly for boys of color. This study grounds boys' practices of masculinity and reading in recent discussions of masculinity in the popular press and theories of performance, critical and poststructuralist theories and scholarship on the intersections of race and gender. Drawing on interviews, fieldnotes, and transcripts of small group discussions, I show how the boys' performances of masculinity, particularly the relationship between dominant and subordinated masculinities and dichotomous notions of masculine/feminine, both shaped and were shaped by boys' choices of what to read and their conversations about books. These boys' experiences point to the complexities and possibilities of engaging masculinities in literacy classrooms and encouraging boys to adopt a different discourse of masculinity that is less reliant on defining itself in opposition to femininity and other masculinities.

publication date

  • December 1, 2002

has restriction

  • bronze

Date in CU Experts

  • January 29, 2015 6:42 AM

Full Author List

  • Dutro E

author count

  • 1

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1086-296X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1554-8430

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 465

end page

  • 500


  • 34


  • 4