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The Declining Significance of Homophobia: How Teenage Boys are Redefining Masculinity and Heterosexuality (Sexuality, Identity, and Society) Hardcover – 19 Apr 2012

3.3 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA; 1 edition (19 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199778248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199778249
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 2.3 x 16 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,469,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Despite the remarkable changes in attitudes towards homosexuality in recent years, a continuing stream of homophobia has often been detected, especially among young men. This important book demonstrates vividly that this need not be the case. Based on a close study of three contrasting schools, Mark McCormack documents the ways in which full acceptance of homosexuality not only makes life better for gay young people, but also transforms heterosexual masculinity. No longer dependent on affirming their masculinity through homophobia, heterosexual young men are freed to explore a more open and flexible masculinity. This is a heartening book that charts the profound and positive transformation now taking place in young people's culture, and makes one optimistic for the future. (Jeffrey Weeks, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London South Bank University, and author of The Languages of Sexuality (2011) Incisive, accessible and essential reading.)

One of the best books on male adolescents I've ever read, The Declining Significance of Homophobia documents a revolution, one in which gay youth are accepted and integrated alongside their heterosexual brethren, gay bullying is unacceptable, and heterosexual boys experience little fear about being emotional, soft, or non-violent. What has caused this revolution? McCormack argues it is the result of broader social changes regarding sexuality and gender, particularly among young people-the success of the gay rights movement, the declining significance of religion, and the reach of social media. Now the big question: Can this possibly cross the Atlantic? (Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Chair and Professor of Human Development, and Director, Sex and Gender Lab, Cornell University)

Through deep, careful study, McCormack unveils new possibilities for contemporary youth. His work challenges the longstanding assumption about contemporary masculinities that homophobia is a given. Learning from young people, his book foreshadows a new era in which youth lead the way in defining gender and masculinity in ways that aren't fundamentally exclusionary. It is important scholarship and offers a hopeful vision of the future. (Stephen T. Russell, Distinguished Professor and Fitch Nesbitt Endowed Chair and Director, Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families, University of Arizona)

The real value of this book isn't the way is rescues gay teens from victimhood, but in the revolution in masculinity it documents, about which many oldies are still in denial. (Mark Simpson, The Independent)

The term 'groundbreaking' is often bestowed too lightly, but it is richly deserved in the case of this book. Mark McCormack offers a pioneering and remarkably inspiring account of the declining significance of homophobia, and how teenage boys are redefining masculinity and heterosexuality (and homosexuality). (Philip Kemp, Times Higher Education Supplement)

Rather than giving way to confirmation bias and retaining a belief that homophobia exists and continues to blight the experience of many straight, gay, bisexual and/or transgender young peoplemuch as it did in his own school days as well as in countless books on the subject McCormack has dared to tell it how it is. And if, as the introduction outlines, the broad intention of this book is to provide a pathway towards developing a more intelligent discussion about sex, sexuality and relationships in schools, this is something for which he should be highly commended. Moving beyond cherished and celebrated theoretical positions, McCormack shows that we need to recognise social change as it occurs and be ready to adequately theorise its implications for adolescence. (J Youth Adolescence)

This book has probably the greatest interest to people researching sex or gay situation, but it is also relevant for child and adolescent psychiatrists, teachers and others who work with youth for the socially committed human it will be an interesting input about how society is changing and how we understand ourselves ... For me the book was current and gives useful knowledge of the situation regarding gender roles and the situation of homosexuals among youth of today. I also like the author's arguments that the classification based on sexual identity is useful, and he emphasizes that one no longer needs to look at gays as victims. (Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, April 2013)

About the Author

Mark McCormack is a Lecturer in Sociology at Durham University in England. His research focuses on the changing nature of masculinities among British youth. In this book, he examines how decreased homophobia has positively influenced the way in which young men bond emotionally and interact in school settings.

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5 June 2012
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