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Gender and Sexualities in Education

A Reader


Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson

This volume is about the education of gender and sexualities, which is to say it explores how gender and sexuality identities and differences get constructed through the process of education and «schooling». Wittingly or not, educational institutions and educators play an important role in «normalizing» gender and sexuality differences by disciplining, regulating, and producing differences in ways that are «intelligible» within the dominant or hegemonic culture. To make gender and sexuality identities and differences intelligible through education is to understand them through the logic of separable binary oppositions (man-woman, straight-gay), and to valorize and privilege one normalized identity within each binary (man, straight) and simultaneously stigmatize and marginalize the «other» identity (woman, gay). Educational institutions have been set up to normalize the construction of gender and sexual identities in these ways, and this is both the overt and the «hidden» curriculum of schooling. At the same time, the «postmodern» times in which we live are characterized by a proliferating of differences so that the binary oppositional borders that have been maintained and policed through schooling, and that are central to maintaining highly inequitable power relations and rigid gender roles, are being challenged, resisted, and in other ways profoundly destabilized by young people today.
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2. Impossible Women: Saints, Sinners, and the Gendered Mythology in a Catholic School



Chapter 2

Impossible Women

Saints, Sinners, and the Gendered Mythology in a Catholic School

Kevin Burke

I had to go down to the office ’cause she decided to be a bitch and say I was out of uniform. Welcome to daycare, Dr. Burke.


Girls ruin school. ’Cause here we can just do whatever we want and not worry about it. I wouldn’t go to co-ed school.


‘Priests for Life’ is a ministry of life issues [that] works for liberty to express faith without the government remanding it…abortion is like a hurricane because it can spawn tornadoes…everyone under 37 years of age didn’t have the right to live in their first nine months…we live in a culture that says, ‘I’ll do what I please,’ and 97% of abortions are for convenience anyway.

—Fr. Denis

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