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Gender and Sexualities in Education

A Reader

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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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9. Masculinities on The O.C.: A Critical Analysis of Representations of Gender

Gender and Television Comedy

Extract

Chapter 9

Masculinities on The O.C.

A Critical Analysis of Representations of Gender

Elizabeth J. Meyer

Reprinted from Meyer, E. J. (2007). Masculinities on The OC: A critical analysis of representations of gender. In S. Steinberg & D. Macedo (Eds.), Handbook of Media Literacy (pp. 454–462). New York: Peter Lang.

In the winter of 2005, I was teaching a course on Media, Technology, and Education to a group of undergraduate teacher education candidates, and our class discussions often included references to popular TV shows and other media. It became clear early in the semester that virtually every student in the room was familiar with and had an opinion on the primetime Fox series The O.C. (DeLaurentis et al., 2003–present). References to this show elicited passionate discussions about the plot, characters, actors, fashion, and commentary on how they were being influenced by and interacting with the show. This is not surprising because the first season of The O.C. was popular from the moment it aired on August 5, 2003. After its first season, it cleaned up at the Teen Choice awards in 2004, winning in four categories: Best TV show, Drama/Action Adventure; TV Breakout Show; TV Actor, Drama/Adventure; and TV Breakout Star, Female (Haberman, 2004). The Nielsen ratings also reflected the success of this series’ impact on teen imaginations. The O.C. ranked in the top three for both 12- to 17-year-old girls and boys after its second season (Council,...

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