There is a media frenzy lately over the whole issue of girls versus boys in school. Rumour has it that if boys succeed, girls are somehow pushed back. There is talk of creating girls’ schools (to all of you for whom this is new, there have been gender-based schools for millenia) to keep up with girls’ poor performance in school. Since girls are now being compared to boys and apparently found lacking, it is now appearing in news articles and magazines that all the resources have gone to the boys.
Every time I think that I might decide this week not to write about gender, or maybe find some way to avoid a gender discussion, stupid talk like this comes up. And, well here is the result. The most frightening thing lately is the fact that others seem to believe this stuff. All of a sudden, this is a new crisis in education.
Of course, we don’t talk about African American girls, who have been suffering in schools for decades. We aren’t talking about other minority groups either, at least not specifically. When the gossip comes out, watch for an illusion to race. It’s missing. Now it seems that little white girls not be performing on standardized tests, and the media goes wild.
Forgive me for sounding brash and obnoxious, but this is certainly no emergency. There is no dire prediction for the girls that is any more fear-mongering than saying that they won’t grow up to be good women. We have legions of men in prison, and suddenly everyone is worried about test scores? Hmm, seems a little irrational to me. In addition, Ladies and Gents, I have a wonderful book to sell you that has perfect instructions about raising a woman. (I also have a snake oil and property in Florida to sell you too.)
While this is going to be too short to offer any sorts of predictions or fixes, I would say that we have to look beyond the test scores before we panic about what kind of women we will have in 10 years. Human growth is a lot more plastic than test scores. I am worried about school performance, but perhaps this one more area of female underachievement shouldn’t be blamed on the boys. Because, for once it seems, the boys are doing fine, and it has nothing to do with the girls. Hell, if beating girls at reading scores gets boys to places of power, this would have worked years ago. Too bad Dudes, looks like you will have to look elsewhere for your toehold into the arena of politics. Little boys have long scored higher than girls on reading and verbal tests, but no one ever thought that meant girls were in danger before. Hmm, maybe President Summers has a commentary???
What you just read was Boys Doing Poorly in Schools Because of Girls? by Broke H. Grad, with a slight adjustment; I switched “boys” with “girls” and vice versa. Nothing really changed, it’s still a callous, pitiless, dismissal of children struggling in school. Only the sexism and lack of compassion is more obvious.
If I were to say “Girls make up 80% of the highschool dropouts,” then follow it up with “but who cares, really? It just means guys are doing well. What’s the damn problem?” I would be rightfully chewed out by anyone with a functioning brain.
This reminds me of something Glen Poole mentioned in his TEDx Talk: He pointed out that when looking at gender equality, we often do three things;
- We see women doing worse than men (in specific areas like health, education, income, etc) and say “Booo inequality! Let’s fix this!”
- We see women and men doing equally well and say “Yay! Equality!”
- We see men doing worse than women and say “Yay! Equality!”
But that’s not how equality works, is it? When the scale is tipped the other direction, we must yet again speak out against the imbalance (Exhausting, isn’t it? Sheeit).
When we see stats showing that women now receive 60% of masters degrees in the US (source), we gotta ask “Well what is the problem with the men?”
Feminists, if you want to present yourselves like you care about everyone, you need to stop downplaying the problems men face. I’m not saying cover their problems within your circles (feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights); I’m saying when someone points them out, it’s not your duty to mock the very idea that men’s lives aren’t these magnificent balls of perfection that ooze victory.