“I Love You, Guys”

A Study of Inclusive Masculinities among High School Cross-Country Runners

in Boyhood Studies
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ABSTRACT

This empirical study examines sixteen- to seventeen-year-old heterosexual male cross-country athletes from a diverse, middle-class high school in California and how they express physical tactility and emotional intimacy in a culture of diminished homohysteria. Using participative and non-participative observations of the team, coupled with ten in-depth interviews, we find acceptance of gay men, and note a range of homosocial behaviors including bed-sharing, cuddling, hand holding, hugging, and emotional intimacy. We discuss the ways in which heterosexual boundaries and identities are maintained, and the process by which normalizing heterosexuality as the assumed sexual orientation contributes to heterosexism. Despite the reproduction of heterosexism, the relationships these high school athletes form with each other are not predicated on homophobia or hypermasculinity. Finally, we discuss adolescent expressions of masculinity in the transition to manhood and in the face of diminishing homohysteria.

Contributor Notes

Luis Emilio Morales graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in sociology with concentration on economics and public policy. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Winchester specializing in sociological research relating to gender, sport, race, and religion. He is also interested in research concerning pedagogy in higher education. E-mail: l.morales.16@unimail.winchester.ac.uk

Edward Caffyn-Parsons graduated from Wellington College in 2016 after which he soon became interested in qualitative research. He is spending the early months of 2017 volunteering in Kenya, and is interested in the study of East African masculinities. E-mail: edcp@live.com

Boyhood Studies

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