Please read the article “Becoming Mr. Cougar” and then respond to the questions below.
1) C.J. Pascoe, the ethnographic research in this study, identifies a gap in current research dealing with sexualized adolescent identities. What is the potential gap he identifies and how does his research fill this gap?
2) How does River High participate in “institutionalizing heterosexuality and masculinity,” according to Pascoe? Please include at least 2 different examples of how Pascoe uses observations from the school to demonstrate this.
3) Early in the chapter Pascoe discusses some of his frustrations with starting to conduct his research. He mentions the “twin assumptions” schools tend to make regarding teenagers. What are these “twin assumptions” and why does this frustrate Pascoe?
4) Pascoe discusses an interesting juxtaposition between the “official” and “unofficial” gender/sexuality curriculum at the school. Please provide an example of an official and an unofficial part of this curriculum. Does it seem like River High was open to changing any of the “official” policies? Why or why not?
5) Pascoe describes encountering a “cultural object” in his classroom observation with Ms. Mac. How does Pascoe describe the importance of this cultural object and what seems problematic about the teacher’s reaction to this object?
6) In addition to reinforcing heterosexual identities through teaching, Pascoe suggests the teachers also reinforce these behaviors in a more passive way as well. Discuss one or two ways that teachers reinforce masculinity.
7) Discuss a school ritual where the students seemed to be performing gender. How was this a performance that reinforced traditional ideas of heterosexuality?
8) Pascoe talks quite a bit about gender differences in how male and female students are treated by each other and by the school administration but the rules are very different for black students. How do some of these rules differ and why?
9) What was your impression of this study? Was there anything you really agreed or disagreed in terms of Pascoe’s findings?