Popular and academic discourses frame bullying as something that one, often high-status, homophobic kid directs at another, often lower status, GLB young person, frequently with devastating results. This article unpacks current popular and academic discourses of bullying. In doing so it highlights the important role these aggressive interactions play in boys’ gender socialization. Using a case study of homophobic bullying among teenage boys in adolescence this article suggests that studying homophobic bullying is less important as an individual pathology and more salient as a form of gender socialization and a mechanism by which gender inequality is reproduced. An inequality focused frame for bullying would privilege examining interactions, rather than individual qualities of bullies and victims; would investigate the various relationships in which these aggressive interactions take place, such as friendships rather than presuming a peer power imbalance; and flesh out a new vocabulary of bullying such that it is understood as a social problem that is not unique to young people, but reflects larger structural inequalities.


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pp. 87-103
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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