Morris, E.W. 2008. ‘Rednecks,’ ‘Rutters,’ and ‘Rithmetic: Social Class, Masculinity, and Schooling in a Rural Context.

Morris, Edward W. 2008. “’Rednecks,’ ‘Rutters,’ and ‘Rithmetic: Social Class, Masculinity, and Schooling in a Rural Context.” Gender and Society 22(6): 728-751.

Gender gap in urban, predominantly minority schools has demonstrated that girls often do better in educational settings; how does rural contexts shift or shape this phenomenon? Underachievement is shaped by social class and ideations of masculine dominance. Combinations of race, class and gender enhances academic underachievement in response to perceived social and educational discrimination. Resource limitations and problems of space may impact rural schools similarly to urban ones. Questions the ‘boys as disadvantaged approach’ as it has often come from literature that poses boys at risk or in conflict with ‘feminized’ schools. Masculine privilege, however, is root of academic gender gap, along with race and class privilege. Different behaviors are used by boys and girls in the performance of gender (Bettie 2003, Butler 1999, Pascoe 2007, and West and Zimmerman 1987). Expansion of hegemonic masculinity – the construction and tension in practices of masculinity, highlights the costs of some men in their participation within patriarchy. Hegemonic Masculinity is accepted as an ideal, and other masculinities are stratified in relation – few men are able to embody gender practices of HM, assigning status and multiplicity of masculinities. HM: as “ideologically legimate[s] the global subordination of women to men” (Connell and Messerschmidt 2005, 832 here 731). RCSO help construct masculinities, as well as other factors – constructions aid to position them within overall masculine hierarchy. Pyke 1996 – obtaining rewards and expressing masculinity through alternative forms of aggression, physicality, control – “Thus, men who are marginalized in other ways can be complicit in accepting and expressing many hegemonic characteristics associated with ‘being a man’” (731). Masculinity’s demonstration and assertion as building from sociocultural and historical contexts. Effort and sexuality seen as feminized, reasserted with sexual-slurs, construing immasculine behavior as othered, and lower-statused. Masculine representations of working-class fathers and blue collar work as constructing masculinity, where academic and economic striving was considered effeminate. Traditional family structures based upon masculine providership and economic privilege interrelated to how boys constructed their lack of effort. Redneck as a masculine (Shirley 2003), and white implication, though opposed to middle and upperclass iterations of whiteness (Hartigan 2003), as an embrace of uncouth, macho masculinity and rebellion. However, this differs from ‘rutter’ which was a class-based insult of whiteness (white trash equivalent). Physical toughness and endurance prided as a form of masculine representation, in contrast to non-useful, often effeminate academics. “Class privilege and gender privilege can be considered two separate, but interconnected systems of hegemony, further complicated by different (local, regional, and global) levels of practice” (746).

***See methods section for example on proposal.


Bettie, Julie. 2003. Women without Class: Girls, Race, and Identity. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Butler, Judith. 1999. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge.

Connell, R.W. and James Messerschmidt. 2005. “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept.” Gender and Society 19:829-859.

Hartigan, John Jr. 2003. “Who Are These White People?: ‘Rednecks,’ ‘Hillbillies,’ and ‘White Trash’ as Marked Racial Subjects.” In White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism, edited by Ashley W. Doane and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. New York: Routledge.

Pascoe, C.J. 2007. Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Pyke, Karen D. 1996. “Class-Based Masculinities: The Interdependence of Gender, Class, and Interpersonal Power.” Gender and Society 10: 527-549.

Shirley, Carla D. 2003. “’Rednecks’ and ‘White Trash’: The Gendering of Whiteness.” Paper Presented at the Southern Sociological Society Meetings, New Orleans.

West, Candace and Don Zimmerman. 1987. “Doing Gender.” Gender and Society 1:125-151.


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