School Bullying & Homophobic Harassment
Table of Contents
• Homophobic Name-calling, Peer-groups and Masculinity (2015)
• Bullying, Homophobic Teasing and Sexual Violence Perpetration In Middle School (2015)
• Factors influencing masculinity ideology among Latino men (2009)*
• Boys learn that being cool means being violent (2009)
• Masculinity not enough -- Boys must believe violence is ok to bully (2009)
• Gendered bullying is different (2008)
• Race affects definitions of bullying (2008)
• Boys use "fag" name-calling to prove manhood (2007)
• Masculine traits in both boys and girls predict bullying (2006)
• Bullying contributes to gay male youth suicides (2006)
• Stereotypically feminine girls more prone to social aggression (2005)
• Masculinity and femininity predict bullies and victims (2004)
• Random” school shootings --- Links to homophobia and manhood (2003)
• Masculinity and good grades don't mix: Boys work to avoid ridicule, bullying (2001)
• Less television and video game playing equals less aggression in children (2001)
• American Academy of Pediatrics: entertainment violence and children (2000)
• Female breadwinners threaten manhood (1999)
• Violence in sports validates boyhood(1992)
*=at-risk or disadvantaged populations
Homophobic Name-calling, Peer-groups and Masculinity (2015)

Individual belief in gender norms, as well as peer’s beliefs in gender norms, set the stage for homophobic bullying and harassment.  Homophobic name-calling and harassment during early adolescence is strongly influenced by the beliefs and behaviors of peers.  When peers believe in traditional notions of masculinity and engage in homophobic bullying, individuals are likely to also perpetrate bullying.  Addressing these behaviors in adolescence necessitate programs that address peer social networks rather than just individual behaviors.
TITLE: "Homophobic Name-calling, Peer-groups, and Masculinity: The Socialization of Homophobic Behavior in Adolescents"
AUTHOR: Michelle Birkett and Dorothy L. Espelage
JOURNAL: Social Development YEAR: 2015

Bullying, Homophobic Teasing and Sexual Violence Perpetration In Middle School (2015)

Perpetration of homophobic bullying and harassment is a precursor to the perpetration of sexual violence later in life.  Young men who perpetrate homophobic bullying in early middle school are more likely to perpetrate sexual harassment in later middle school.  Addressing homophobic bullying is a crucial step toward preventing sexual harassment.
TITLE: "Longitudinal Associations Among Bullying, Homophobic Teasing, and Sexual Violence Perpetration Among Middle School Students"
AUTHOR: Dorothy L. Espelage, Kathleen C. Basile, Lisa De La Rue, Merle E. Hamburger
JOURNAL: Journal of Interpersonal Violence YEAR: 2015

Factors influencing masculinity ideology among Latino men (2009)
Hyper-masculinity is an exaggerated form of traditional masculinity embraced by many Latino men. Buying into hyper-masculinity is linked to ethnic identification and exposure to gender stereotypes at home. That is, the more strongly a man identifies with his ethnic group, and the more he is repeatedly exposed to narrow ideas of manhood at home when he's growing up, the more likely he is to embrace hyper-masculinity as an adult. This is important because hyper-masculinity is linked to the perpetration of bullying.
TITLE: "Factors influencing masculinity ideology among Latino men."
AUTHOR: Pedro A. Saez, Adonaid Casado, and Jav C. Wade.
JOURNAL: Journal of Men's YEAR: 2009
DIGITAL RIGHTS: available for free from
Boys learn that being cool means being violent (2009)
Learning how to "be a man” from the media leads boys to question whether they are cool enough, funny enough, strong enough, or violent enough. Boys see images everywhere that encourage partying, pimping, slacking, and bullying. In order to be cool, boys must be the bullies, the narcissistic athletes, the "dogs,” and the "players”. If someone ever crosses them, boys learn to be violent and seek revenge. This teaches boys that being powerful men is more important than being respectable people. Parents need to have productive conversations with their sons that question what "being a man” is so that boys can just be who they are.
TITLE: "Packaging Boyhood: Saving our Sons from Superheroes, Slackers, and Other Media Stereotypes."
AUTHOR: Sharon Lamb, Lyn Mikel Brown, Mark Tappan.
YEAR: 2009 by St. Martin’s Press
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available for $17.15 from
Masculinuity not enough-Boys must believe violence is ok to bully (2009)
Beliefs about masculinity as defined by strength and aggression as main factor behind bullying. Boys who participate in typically masculine behaviors (such as those involving physical strength and competition) are more likely to fight and participate in social aggression – such as homophobic taunting, rumor-spreading, and ostracism
But strong beliefs about masculinity aren’t enough. To bully boys also had to believe that that physical aggression and using violence to solve problems was okay. Very masculine boys who believed that physical aggression was wrong were not likely to bully.
TITLE: "The Moderating Effects of Support for Violence Beliefs on Masculine Norms, Aggression, and Homophobic Behavior During Adolescence.”
AUTHORS: Michael Kimmel, Paul Poteat, and Riki Wilchins
JOURNAL: (Manuscript under Review) YEAR: 2009
URL: (Submitted Manuscript)
Gendered bullying is different (2008)
It is important to distinguish between bullying based on the victim’s gender performance and bullying based on other factors. Boys who are bullied because they are accused of being gay or not masculine enough experience more physical violence and more psychological trauma than boys who are bullied for other reasons.

These boys feel less safe at school and feel less in control of their own lives than their peers who are not bullied or who are bullied for other reasons. Challenging traditional male gender norms to broaden acceptance of boys who are not traditionally masculine is an important step in preventing some of the worst forms of bullying.

TITLE: "'You're So Gay!'; Do Different Forms of Bullying Matter for Adolescent Males?”
AUTHORS: Susan M. Swearer, Rhonda K. Turner, Jami E. Givens, William S. Pollack
JOURNAL: School Psychology Review YEAR: 2008
Race affects definitions of bullying (2008)
Codes of manhood result in boys from different racial groups defining bullying differently. Asian and black boys are less likely than their white peers to label some behaviors as bullying because they have received different messages about what behaviors are normal for real men. These differences in what is labeled as bullying result in some boys who are experiencing bullying not seeking help. Challenging traditional notions of masculinity that frame violent behaviors as normal or acceptable is an important part of bullying prevention.

TITLE: "'Examining Ethnic, Gender, and Developmental Differences in the Way Children Report Being a Victim of 'Bullying' on Self-Report Measures”
AUTHORS: Anne L. Sawyer, Catherine P. Bradshaw, Lindsey M. O'Brennan
JOURNAL: Journal of Adolescent Health YEAR: 2008
Boys use "fag” name-calling to prove manhood (2007)
Boys are so afraid of being perceived as gay or "girly” that they call each other ‘fag’ to prove and claim their masculinity. The slur is most often directed at straight boys who seem feminine or simply less aggressive. Being called ‘fag’ is not about one’s sexual identity, or even sexual experiences, but about being non-manly; ‘fag’ is quickly becoming synonymous with ‘feminine.’ As one high school boy put it, guys get called ‘fag’ for "anything . . . literally, anything.” This "fag discourse” within American high schools supports a valuing of masculine traits over feminine traits among boys so that "whatever they did, whatever they became, however they talked, they had to avoid becoming a faggot”. Such harassment is central to boys’ identity, but not to girls (you don’t see girls walking around calling each other "dykes”). Boys need to rethink ideals of masculinity so that their manhood is not constructed by homophobic bullying.
TITLE: "Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School.”
AUTHOR: C.J.Pascoe
YEAR: 2007 by University of California Press
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available for $14.93 from
Masculine traits in both boys and girls predict bullying (2006)
Adolescent boys and girls who describe themselves as courageous, strong and noisy tend to be bullies. These traits are considered more masculine than feminine. Boys and girls who describe themselves in a more feminine way such as being shy, sensitive, and a chatterer are picked on by bullies.
Children who bully are more likely to run into trouble with the law as teenagers, and can have problems socializing with peers in the future.
TITLE: "The Role of Masculinity in Children's Bullying."
AUTHORS: Gianluca Gini and Tiziana Pozzoli.
JOURNAL: Sex Roles. YEAR: 2006
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available online from the Università di Padova at no cost.
Bullying contributes to gay male youth suicides (2006)
Many studies have shown that gay male youth have higher rates of suicide than their heterosexual peers and the higher suicide rates may be the result of bullying. Gay male youth who have been repeatedly bullied are far more likely to contemplate or attempt suicide. Young gay men are often the victims of intense bullying because they violate traditional gender norms. Addressing gender-based homophobic bullying is an extremely important in preventing suicide among gay male youth.
TITLE: "The impact of gender-role nonconforming behavior, bullying, and social support on suicidality among gay male youth"
AUTHORS: Mark S. Friedman, Gary F. Koeske, Anthony J. Silvestre, Wynne S. Korr, and Edward W. Sites
JOURNAL: Journal of Adolescent Health. YEAR: 2006
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available online from the Journal of Adolescent Health for $30
Stereotypically feminine girls more prone to social aggression (2005)
Gossiping, exclusion, and other types of social aggression are a type of bullying that girls often prefer over physical aggression. Girls are more likely to participate in these activities if they are stereotypically feminine as measured by traits like "affectionate" and "gentle," and masculine, like "independent" and "forceful."
Interestingly, this is more common among white (non-Hispanic) girls than African-American girls even though both groups of girls have similar "feminine" identities.
TITLE: "Navigating Power, Control, and Being Nice: Aggression in Adolescent Girls' Friendships."
AUTHORS: Laura M. Crothers, Julaine E. Field, and Jered B. Kolbert.
JOURNAL: Journal of Counseling and Development.YEAR: 2005.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from American Counseling Association, $20.
Masculinity and femininity predict bullies and victims (2004)
Boys and girls with high masculine characteristics and low feminine characteristics are more likely to be bullies. Kids who agreed with masculine statements such as "I stand up for myself,” "I am a leader,” and I am tough” and disagreed with feminine statements such as "I am kind,” "I care about others,” and "I am gentle,” were more likely to report bullying other kids. This study also found that boys who enjoyed stereotypically feminine activities were more likely to get bullied, have less male friends, have low self esteem, and be depressed.
TITLE: "Adolescent Bullying, Relationships, Psychological Well-Being, and Gender-Atypical Behavior: A Gender Diagnosticity Approach.”
AUTHORS: Robert Young and Helen Sweeting. YEAR: 2004.
JOURNAL: Sex Roles.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: SpringerLink, $32.
"Random” school shootings --- Links to homophobia and manhood (2003)
Over 95% of major school shootings in the past 20 years have one thing in common: a clear link between masculinity and homophobia. Almost all were White kids from rural, "Red state” communities where codes of manliness were very harsh, bullying to enforce manhood was tolerated, and there was easy access to powerful guns – assault rifles, automatic weapons, etc. All the assailants were relentlessly teased, called "faggot” and attacked for not being manly enough. Because they were interested in music or theatre, uninterested in sports, or simply "dweeby” outsiders who lacked aggression they were harassed and attacked for not living up to masculine stereotypes. As a last resort, victims resort to severe risk taking and violence to prove their manhood. Assailants take other people’s lives to deal with feelings of shame, fear, humiliation and inadequacy. Attacks on masculinity and the use of violence to cope with constant homophobic humiliation is a consistent theme in each of two decades of school shootings, and therefore the (overlooked) key to stopping them.
TITLE: " Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence: Random School Shootings, 1982-2001."
AUTHOR: Michael Kimmel, Matthew Mahler
JOURNAL: American Behavioral Scientist. YEAR: 2003.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Sage Journals Online for $25.
Masculinity and good grades don't mix: Boys work to avoid ridicule, bullying (2001)
Boys learn early on that being studious, working to get good grades, and being academically successful are not compatible with being masculine. Boys who are perceived as studious and concerned with good grades are often teased, ridiculed, ostracized by peer groups and publicly labeled "geeks," "nerds," and "dorks." Because being quiet, studious and grade-oriented is also seen as feminine or gay, they're likely to have their sexual orientation publicly questioned and called "sissy" or "fag."
Two-thirds of boys went to great lengths to avoid studious behaviors -- especially high achievers who used a number of different strategies, to hide or downplay their achievement, including being the class "joker," dramatically understating grades, or isolating themselves from potential bullies. Improving boys' academic achievement includes not only having better teachers and schools, but challenging the culture of masculinity that can hold them back. This culture must be addressed early on, when they first begin school, when children first begin forming firm ideas about boys' roles.
TITLE: Learning the 'Hard' Way: boys, hegemonic masculinity and the negotiation of learner identities in the primary school
AUTHOR: Emma Renold
JOURNAL: British Journal of Sociology of Education YEAR: 2001
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available free online in PDF
Less television and video game playing equals less aggression in children (2001)
By the age of 18, U.S. children witness around 200,000 acts of violence on television alone. When children in elementary school receive a classroom intervention with a curriculum designed to reduce television, videotape, and video game use by, their levels of physical aggression on the playground are more significantly reduced than their peers who do not partake in the curriculum. As a result of the intervention, children also engage in less verbal aggression with their peers, and are less likely to believe the world to be a mean and scary place.
TITLE: "Effects of Reducing Children’s Television and Video Game Use on Aggressive Behavior.”
AUTHORS: Thomas N. Robinson, MD, MPH; Marta L. Wilde, MA; Lisa C. Navracruz, MD; K. Farish Haydel; and Ann Varady, MS
JOURNAL: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine YEAR: 2001
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available free from ArchPedi online.
American Academy of Pediatrics: entertainment violence and children (2000)
Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts and are more likely to assume that acts of violence are acceptable behavior. Viewing violence can lead to an emotional disconnect towards violence in real life and decrease the likelihood that a person will help a victim of violence. Violence as entertainment feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place, and as a result increases fear of becoming a victim of violence. This causes people to mistrust others and want to protect themselves more. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not as exposed to violent media.
TITLE: "Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit.”
AUTHORS: Donald E. Cook, Clarice Kestenbaum, L. Michael Honaker, and Dr. E. Ratcliffe Anderson, Jr.
JOURNAL: American Academy of Pediatrics YEAR: 2000
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available free from AAP online.
Female breadwinners threatens manhood (1999)
Boyfriends and husbands feel like their masculinity is threatened when their girlfriends or wives make more money than them. Boyfriends tend to hit, slap or beat their girlfriends in order to feel a sense of control over their breadwinning girlfriend. Making money (or rather, making more money than their girlfriends or wives) is one of the main ways men construct their masculinity. When that is taken away from them, they try to dominate them through various forms of abuse. Now that women have the opportunity of higher education and well paying jobs, they still need to worry about the bruised egos of their male counterparts. We need to reconsider how boys are learning gender roles so that they are rooting for women to succeed, not punishing them for it.
TITLE: "When She Brings Home the Bacon: Labor-Force Participation and the Risk of Spousal Violence against Women”
AUTHOR: Ross MacMillan and Rosemary Gartner
JOURNAL: Journal of Marriage and the Family YEAR: 1999
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from JSTOR with subscription
Violence in sports validates boyhood (1992)
Boys turn to violence on the athletic fields as a way of claiming their masculinity and rejecting the "feminization” of the world around them. As women are gaining more rights and authority in their personal and professional lives, boys are finding fewer spaces that are strictly masculine and allow aggression. Many boys see the social advances for women as threatening, and take out their frustration by being excessively aggressive on the football or soccer field. If some young men feel that they are losing the power and privilege they want in the office or at home, they find comfort in the all-male teams which legalize aggression and violence. Violence in sports is a large part of the "triad of men’s violence” which consists of violence against women, violence against other men, and violence against one’s self. Breaking this "triad” is crucial for gender equality, and can only be done when boys are held morally accountable for their violence, even if it is "legal” on the playing field.
TITLE: When bodies are weapons: masculinity and violence in sport
AUTHOR: Michael A. Messner
JOURNAL: International Review for the Sociology of Sport YEAR: 1992
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Sage Journals Online for $25.00



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