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suchascrying among the boyswasstrongly ridiculed. John(SR)described, “Yeah, then
the story goes around that this person cried. Everybody hears that this person cried. I
hear stories about people crying over everything.” Dave (SR) suggested that, “Rockport
top of the demands that the teachers put on you, the students subconsciously put pres-
sures on other students.” He described pressures that “include making sure your tie is
not considered a 'gay' tie because of its coloring, or that the car you are getting out of
is up to the standards of a [local wealthy] community.” He explained that on days when
they don't have to wear their uniform “there is the added pressure of wearing a certain
pair of jeans that won't be considered tough enough, or [worrying] the saying on your
sweatshirt is as 'gay' as the pink tie you wore two days ago.”
Student researchers suggested that their peers frequently held sexist and also hetero-
sexist attitudes. Paul (SR) explained, “I think people definitely talk about women a lot
differently when they are not around. Yeah [sort ofdegrading]. Just like it is almost nor-
mal. Yeah like 'she was being such a bitch yesterday.' You hear that all the time.” Dave
(FR) connected it to masculine performance by commenting that “It is the manly thing
to do.” A common putdown among the students as explained both by the student re-
searchers and the faculty researchers was to call someone “gay” or “a girl.” Steve (SR)
said, “It's a word you use so much.” The faculty researchers were very aware of how
often the students used it in their discourse. Greg (FR) explained, “'You're gay, that's
gay'—that's something I hear all the time.” Sara (FR) agreed, “I hear that all the time,
you're gay, you're a girl.… So many teachers that we interviewed said they commonly
hear that one of the biggest put downs is 'that's gay.'”
The female faculty researchers suggested that their experiences with sexist jokes and
other inappropriate verbal comments about women—not only by students but also male
faculty—reinforced the male-oriented culture. Jill (FR) explained, “Yeah, the women
been around on a couple of those days.” Sara (FR) reported that one of her male inter-
viewees admitted, “We are totally insensitive to what we say about females in the pres-
ence of female teachers.” For example, all of the faculty researchers told of gender in-
sensitive e-mails forwarded by male faculty and administration that were intended to be
“humorous.” Sara (FR) suggested some prominent adult males in the community such
as administrators have given what Jill (FR) called “tacit approval” around sexist atti-
tudes, “Oh things that are said in assemblies that kids are allowed to say, remarks that
thekids,thatliterally malefacultyandadministrators willlaughatinsteadofstoppingit
or saying that's inappropriate to say.”
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