Is the changed perception of homophobia an example of people’s ability to adapt to the developing social norms?
A shift in perception of homophobia and the remaking of heterosexual boundaries in school is one example of how social norms are challenged.
According to McCormack and Anderson (2010), they found that boys at Standard High rejected the idea of homophobia which contradicts the normative understanding that boys must distance themselves from gay students and exercise their homophobia attitudes to maintain their masculinities. Instead, the boys use tools such as ironic recuperation which is a ‘satirical proclamation of same-sex desire’ to defend their masculinity without invoking homophobia (McCormack and Anderson, 2010, p. 846).
This example suggests that hegemonic masculinity is situational and men can choose to adopt the attitude or distance themselves from it. This illustration also shows that identity is not a social process but also involves the contribution from the individual’s agency.