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Girls Minus Boys: Challenging Heteronormativity

The assumptions of "the absent boys" explanation combats what many gender-segregated girls’ schools hope to accomplish—girls as powerful agents of their lives, their bodies, and their futures.

These assumptions are tackled in this book chapter in Gender and Sexualities in Education: A Reader edited by Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson (Peter Lang, 2014). "These explanations around the absence of boys are built on the assumptions of heterosexual tensions involved in girls desiring boys, or vice versa, and are thought to compromise the school’s learning environment with sexual distractions. This explanation leaves little room for the consideration that girls and boys may be homosexual, transsexual, queer, bisexual, or questioning their sexual identities, and, considering this, sexual distractions could be present in coed or sex-segregated schools" (p. 378).

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Related resources

Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinities and Sexuality in High School by C. J. Pascoe (University of California Press, 2007)

Learning Together: A History of Coeducation in American Public Schools by David Tyack and Elizabeth Hansot  (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992)