Contextualising and Utilising the 'What about the boys?' Discourse

Year: 1998

Author: Lingard, Bob

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This papers seeks to understand the rise of the 'What about the boys?' discourse in the media and educational policy circles. It does this through a contextual analysis of the impact of feminism on men and public policy, as well as in education and in educational policy, set against an increasingly globalised economy. Analysis is also provided of masculinity politics and media constructions of 'backlash'. The paper also seeks to deconstruct arguments about men as new victims and boys as the new vistims of schooling. It does this by looking at academic and social performance data. The paper works from the stance that discourses are both productive and repressive. As such, it considers ways in which the 'What about the boys?' discourse can be used for 'progressive educational policy and practice ends within a (pro)-feminist politics.