Successful Boys and Literacy: Are "Literate Boys" Challenging or Repackaging Hegemonic Masculinity?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



The National Assessment of Educational Progress statistics show that boys are underachieving in literacy compared to girls. Attempts to redress the problem in various Global North countries and particularly Australia and the United Kingdom have failed to make any impact. However, there are boys who are doing well in literacy. The aim of this article is to explore how high-status constructions of masculinity are maintained alongside "successfully literate" identities. Using existing studies of successfully literate boys and data collected from an investigation into high achievers and popularity, the article will show how a "real boy" construction of masculinity is being reworked by some groups of academically successful boys to produce "Renaissance Masculinity." The argument here is that tackling the gender gap in literacy requires attention to social success and aesthetic factors as much as to the structural variables of gender, social class and "race."


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-479
Number of pages24
JournalCurriculum Inquiry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011