Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Gender Issues 34 (2017), pp 129–148.

doi 10.1007/s12147-016-9178-1


Copyright © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Used by permission.


Certain types of masculinity undergird gender inequality, but different contexts may encourage individuals to conceptualize gender in new and unique ways. Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) university courses support this for women, but less is known about men’s experiences. Through an analysis of interview data from 15 men who have taken WGS courses, we ask: What do men experience in the WGS classroom and how do men perceive that their experiences in WGS courses shape their conceptualizations of gender and gender relations? Men described developing their understandings of gender inequality after taking a WGS course and they applied this knowledge beyond the classroom. We address the different ways men negotiate gendered classroom dynamics, with some men articulating that their gender provided a unique position from which to participate and others reporting more discomfort. We discuss the findings’ implications regarding men disrupting or perpetuating hegemonic understandings of masculinity within educational contexts.