'Stop feminising our schools - our boys are suffering'

I typed "leaving" instead of "living". Is that fraudian or what

Better keep the wife away from this forum now.

KaterinLHC wrote:
For example I don't go to football games ( Rugby for me please ). Does that mean men don't go to football games?

No. It means that the statement "All men go to football games" is false. And, as I mentioned before, the statement "Men go to football games" is too oversimplifying and vague to build much of an argument or theory around. It does not address which men go to football games, or whether women go to football games, or humans go to football games, or whether men go to other games besides football games, etc.

My only point was that using exception to imply that all is ok with how we treat young men, or men in general, is bunkum. Fact is that boys are getting poorer and poorer grades. Not static. Going down. Worldwide. On top of that the suicide rate is going up. The Daily Mail is tat but its right here. Finding one boy whose grades are going up doesn't change that fact.

I don't really know why its happening. I have a guess. Its so common at this stage that rugby games at underage level ( Under 18s or Under 16s ) are called off several times a season due to suicides. However its going on and its not really being addressed. Young boys are suffering under the socity we have created. Maybe not every last one but a lot of them are. Pigeon-holing someone would be of little concern to me in the short term.

Edit:Was showing this to my wife for the "leaving" comment . She is a teacher herself and she agrees with me that boys are struggling. She told me, as an aside, that a friend of hers was with his son in a hotel of the weekend. 2 women were fawning over the baby. One of them looked my wifes friend, the father, in the eye and said "He's so cute, isnt it terrible he will grow up to be a man?". Now imagine a young boy hears that.

I was not using exceptions to the rule to imply that "all is ok with how we treat young men". I was pointing out a logical flaw. What's with everyone reading more into what I've been saying?

*Edit: I agree, "It's a shame he'll grow up to be a man" sounds like a terrible remark to make to a child. Regardless of the gender. But it sounds like it was more a lament on how short-lived childhoods are?

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

I will not deny that male archetypes are very prominent in the media but have you seen shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens and According to Jim?

You can't really pull out that genre out of the rest of media imagery and make it representative. This is the same media that gave us four successful lethal weapon franchises and the mega-cultural hit that is the Sopranos. And even those shows are based more on the idea that men are supposed to be strong but stupid, rather than that they are feminized.

That's also really a separate issue and gets to celebration of physical strength over intellectual achievement, i.e., that maybe we're in a society that increasingly celebrates stupidity over intelligence.

KaterinLHC wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

Many men are being programmed to live as Bill Maher put it "lives of quiet desperation" where they are really controlled by their wives but put on a brave face and don't act it.

Actually, I think it was Henry David Thoreau who wrote that "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation." And it's very, very true, for both men and women.

I was going to correct that, too. Bill Maher is no Thoreau.

Are we all clear on gender (masculine, feminine, other) vs. sex (male, female, neuter, hermaphrodite) here? The first is how you fit within socially constructed categories. The latter is what kind of naughty bits you do or don't have. I believe that this discussion revolves more around gender differences than sexual differences.

KaterinLHC wrote:
Um, yeah, I'll just bow out then.

I'm not quite sure why you've decided to do that. As I said previously, I wasn't attacking you, accusing you, or even hinting strongly at you. I was asking you questions, to which I'd still love to hear your answers.

Well, thanks for that, Kat. I respect you and didn't want the discussion to go someplace uncomfortable. I'm not going to criticize women, it's not my place; if explaining myself requires that I troop through that territory, I'd rather not.

KaterinLHC wrote:

I ask because I do not understand the relevance of assigning gender identity to a strength, weakness, personality trait, whatever, since abstract ideas are genderless. A statement such as "competitiveness is a male thing" is an oversimplified categorization that ignores that possibility that it might also be a "female thing", or, indeed, a "human thing", or maybe just an "animal kingdom thing". Etc.

This is not a question, it's a logical position. Our entire discussion hinges on it too.

What are masculine strengths?

I'm talking about the basic generalizations I assume we've all heard - men are stronger, men stifle emotions, men are very direct, men are more focused. As Axon said, women multitask well. These are strengths if you make them strengths, weaknesses if you allow them to be. Being direct, controlling emotions, focusing, all can help you through a high-pressure situation where you must stay on course to succeed.

A statement such as "competitiveness is a male thing" is an oversimplified categorization that ignores that possibility that it might also be a "female thing"

Such a statement does not ignore this possibility, it acknowledges that competitiveness comes easier to men, it's a drive that we all feel strongly and have to deal with somehow. The competitive spirit differs from individual to individual, of course. However, when you view yourself as a "male", when you look at the things which make you male and others female, these differences jump right out.

Axon wrote:

... amazing amounts of good stuff...

Axon, I'm not nor have I ever suggested that boys aren't suffering. I have two boys of my own, and helped raise my brother-in-law. One of my boys is special needs, so he gets a double does of things.

That stupid bint who said that about that little boy should have gotten the coldest look imaginable, and an icicle-dripping "Don't EVER say anything like that around my son again!" With an option to push her hands away from him to reinforce it.

I wish her sick attitude was much rarer than it is. But that's not just at school, and isn't the fault of the school system. That big long mess I put up there earlier was to point out that you can live in a fairly gender-equal environment. And when you do, things even out quite signifigantly. But if you were to look at the suicide rate for rural Alaska and use that as your only yardstick you'd think something was wrong.

And something is wrong. Alcaholism is rampant with all it's attendant problems, the alienation of the Native cultures, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and all the problems that affect any small town amplified by isolation and distance.

There is a documented tendency for boys of a certain age to view suicide as a solution and to use more obvious and violent ways to do it. By itself it doesn't mean they're suffering more. It just means that they're using a more noticable way to manifest the symptoms. Girls tend to manifest that same drive internally, and you get eating disorders, disassociative and personality disorders, self-destructive behaviors like cutting, and addictions out of it. I'm at work and I don't have my references handy, but this and this might give you some good launching points for study and some good Google-fu terms if you're interested.

And what is causing this suffering? That laundry list of societal issues that cause wholesale isolation and marginalization of entire age groups. I mean, look at the abstract at the bottom of that second "this" link. That is our problem. That is why people are killing themselves. Not whether or not Miss Grundy doesn't like boys in her classroom because they play rough.

Does prissy Miss Grundy help. Heck no. But if all other factors are there as they should be to support the child she's a blip on the radar. And she's far more easily dealt with than going to school hiding bruises from her.

souldaddy wrote:
What are masculine strengths?

I'm talking about the basic generalizations I assume we've all heard - men are stronger, men stifle emotions, men are very direct, men are more focused. As Axon said, women multitask well. These are strengths if you make them strengths, weaknesses if you allow them to be. Being direct, controlling emotions, focusing, all can help you through a high-pressure situation where you must stay on course to succeed.

Right. You're giving examples of what you believe a "masculine strength" is, but you haven't actually defined the term yet. That's all I'm getting at. There must be some definition that applies to all the above examples. Maybe something like "A masculine strength is a personality characteristic advantageous to high-pressure situations" or something. I dunno, it's your term.

A statement such as "competitiveness is a male thing" is an oversimplified categorization that ignores that possibility that it might also be a "female thing"

Such a statement does not ignore this possibility, it acknowledges that competitiveness comes easier to men, it's a drive that we all feel strongly and have to deal with somehow.

I wonder if until you have been both a man and a woman, it may be impossible to have enough data to make such a claim. Likewise for any other 'masculine' or 'feminine' strength.

Thanks for answering my questions. Personally, I believe that what we assign as 'feminine' and 'masculine' personality traits are mostly cultural in origin, rather than innate. Since humans are such a social species, we take our cues on how to think and behave mostly from what our parents and community teach us, instead of our behavior being dominated by invisible, untraceable factors innate to gender. (It's an extension of the nurture over nature argument, with the acknowledgement that the main strength of humans is their ability to adapt whatever situation presents itself.) Thus, if men are competitive, it is because their society informs them that they should be so; if women are better multi-taskers, it is because their culture puts them into more situations favoring multi-tasking skills than men, etc.

That being said, it's almost impossible to distinguish the teachings of culture and society from the biological factors innate to gender. That's why I hesitate when someone assigns qualities that are inherently 'feminine' and innately 'masculine'. You can really never know for sure if that woman likes Manolo Blahniks because of female biology or because she has been socially conditioned to like expensive shoes.

The original article argues that boys are suffering in their education because the school system, which has eradicated merit-based evaluations, has been designed to best suit girls. I disagree. This claim assumes that girls prefer and perform better in situations where merit, competancy and ability are meaningless. That is a very sexist - and nonsensical - assertion indeed.

Instead, I'll echo Momgamer and say that children - of both sexes - are suffering in their education because the system has been watered down and bastardized. We have taught our children to fear failure, to lower their expectations of learning, and to only meet the lowest common denominator. So, if our school system expects much out of children, then much will be given. And so forth.

I might venture that since school-age children are doing so much adapting to everything else, school trying to change them could make things even worse.

axon wrote:

Multi-tasking is the best example of a female strength.

That's a particular stereotype I've often wondered about, and one that would very much play into the topic at hand. Just observing those around me I find that it is generally true, whether the reason is biological or social.

Assuming this stereotype were true, what should we do about boys that can't cut it in an educational system that is shifting away from clear cut objectives and towards an environment that rewards multitasking? (Assuming also that this shift is even happening.) I say civilization is that shift. Modern society demands the ability to juggle priorities, and if women have a leg up in that regard then good for them. Shouldn't the educational system mimic how the real world works? If the boys are left at a disadvantage then at least it's an honest one. To rig the system so that both genders perform equally would be a disservice to all students.

You're giving examples of what you believe a "masculine strength" is, but you haven't actually defined the term yet.

Masculine strengths = strengths related to, or stemming from, being male or masculine. The essence of male-ness is part biological, part cultural, and a whole lot of grey area Generally, males have larger hearts, lungs, and muscle mass in proportion to the rest of their bodies. Hence sports being inherently biased towards males. It has also been debated that women have a larger corpus callosum, which coordinates the two hemispheres of the brain, so the idea "women multitask/men focus" does have some basis in science. It's not total fantasy. I kept all of my examples in the realm of "physiologically possible" - emotions, multitasking, strength. Some studies have shown that women have a greater capacity to remember events based on emotion, that or perhaps they index events via emotion (emotions not meaning "emo" but real physical sensations in the body).

That being said, it's almost impossible to distinguish the teachings of culture and society from the biological factors innate to gender. That's why I hesitate when someone assigns qualities that are inherently 'feminine' and innately 'masculine'.

I agree, but I don't think it matters at all. Young people have to deal with these forces regardless of the original or logical validity. Individuals will recognize your wisdom at different points in their life. I remember puberty very well, philosophical comprehension of the underpinnings of the universe did not help me score the cheerleading captain.

You can really never know for sure if that woman likes Manolo Blahniks because of female biology or because she has been socially conditioned to like expensive shoes.

I'm pretty sure there is a Manolo Blahniks chromosome. It's the one wearing heels.

Danjo wrote:

Assuming this stereotype were true, what should we do about boys that can't cut it in an educational system that is shifting away from clear cut objectives and towards an environment that rewards multitasking? (Assuming also that this shift is even happening.) I say civilization is that shift. Modern society demands the ability to juggle priorities, and if women have a leg up in that regard then good for them. Shouldn't the educational system mimic how the real world works? If the boys are left at a disadvantage then at least it's an honest one. To rig the system so that both genders perform equally would be a disservice to all students.

How do you do that, Danjo? Damn fine post.

I would say that a society which makes all of its citizens healthy contributors will succeed better than one in which only half do.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:
axon wrote:

Multi-tasking is the best example of a female strength.

That's a particular stereotype I've often wondered about, and one that would very much play into the topic at hand. Just observing those around me I find that it is generally true, whether the reason is biological or social.

Its based in biology. Women have denser cross-hemisphere connections (on average) than men. And that equals stronger lateral thinking (aka multitasking).

Just your fun fact for the evening before I go to sleep.

Haakon7 wrote:
Danjo Olivaw wrote:
axon wrote:

Multi-tasking is the best example of a female strength.

That's a particular stereotype I've often wondered about, and one that would very much play into the topic at hand. Just observing those around me I find that it is generally true, whether the reason is biological or social.

Its based in biology. Women have denser cross-hemisphere connections (on average) than men. And that equals stronger lateral thinking (aka multitasking).

Just your fun fact for the evening before I go to sleep.

I've read that the corpus callosum theory behind the multitasking/focus divide is questionable at best. Some question that women even have a larger corpus callosum, saying that the size just varies from person to person and the original findings were in error due to too few observations. I'm having trouble finding any concrete research either way.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

I've read that the corpus callosum theory behind the multitasking/focus divide is questionable at best. Some question that women even have a larger corpus callosum, saying that the size just varies from person to person and the original findings were in error due to too few observations. I'm having trouble finding any concrete research either way.

According to my buddy who's in his Master's/PhD in neuroscience at UMSL, its as close as you can get to fact.
Obviously, its on average and in his words: 'We're more alike than we are different', but he didn't mention any serious questions over the research.

I love multitasking, but I could just as easily say that I developed ADD as an adaptive mechanism -- unless it's the other way around.

I'm bored with that line of thought!

Ok, so it's agreed that men/women are different, and while some question whether the differences are biological or cultural, they're still there.

Rigging public education so that both genders do well is bad. But if we can understand the differences in skills and motivation, should we attempt to use public education to encourage students in different ways, even if it means removing the standardized approach we take to education today?

The upside of standardization is that everything is supposed to fall within the mean, so that even the worst education should be better than it would have been otherwise. While I don't think that's working that way currently, I'm not sure how removing standardization fixes the problem.

Danjo wrote:

Assuming this stereotype were true, what should we do about boys that can't cut it in an educational system that is shifting away from clear cut objectives and towards an environment that rewards multitasking?

I recently read a professor's article that said that the stress on multitasking in work was terrible because so few people do it really well. People insist they do it well, but then most people assume they're pretty goodlooking and very interesting to other people (and we know that's not true). So there was a certain amount of self-bias in survey's about it. The guy's research indicated that it was much less efficient than people thought.

I don't offer this as fact, but it made me wonder about widespread assumptions that the world is really going to be oriented around multitasking down the road.

Funkenpants wrote:
Danjo wrote:

Assuming this stereotype were true, what should we do about boys that can't cut it in an educational system that is shifting away from clear cut objectives and towards an environment that rewards multitasking?

I recently read a professor's article that said that the stress on multitasking in work was terrible because so few people do it really well. People insist they do it well, but then most people assume they're pretty goodlooking and very interesting to other people (and we know that's not true). So there was a certain amount of self-bias in survey's about it. The guy's research indicated that it was much less efficient than people thought.

I don't offer this as fact, but it made me wonder about widespread assumptions that the world is really going to be oriented around multitasking down the road.

Screw down the road. I was going more for how civilization as a whole moves us away from the time when you really just had to worry about if you were going to eat, to the the present where I need to worry about that upcoming assignment, the oil in my car, preparing for the spring rush at work, go see grandpa, do I have enough gas for today, sh!t I forgot to eat!

I agree wholeheartedly that multitasking at work is a bad idea, but I'm a guy so maybe that's my problem.

Getting back to school, what would be best? Haakon's neuroscientist is good enough for me so I'll just run with the corpus callosum thing. There's nothing we can do about that so the best scenario for boys would be a practice environment, similiar to the real world in complexity, where they can practice prioritizing, scheduling, and all the tricks and skills that can manhandle all the swarming things-to-do into a nice little queue. That way we, the boys, can bring our strengths to bear despite an adverse environment; forcefully focusing on one item at a time when possible. Personally I didn't get much out of public education in straight-forward, learn how to do things sense; but as a pretend world where I had to learn how to keep track of BS it functioned well enough. EDIT: I imagine this was an accident.

So, grinders are more masculine? I thought they were just OCD.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

That way we, the boys, can bring our strengths to bear despite an adverse environment; forcefully focusing on one item at a time when possible.

I'd be happy if they just had a little more recess so they can run around a lot.

Recess was both the subject I enjoyed the most and the subject during which I received the most detentions.

Anything that discourages someone from taking post-elementary school/university seriously is a *good* thing.

University in its current incarnation turns peoples minds off. The social factor is nice, but the fact they cause people to quarantine learning as "boring" is sad.

Most large universities (especially public ones) have little positive feedback for teaching effectively. Sports team performance has a much larger effect on alumni donations than performance. And "teaching well" is neither measured effectively nor rewarded with $$$.

A "great" university may have earned that label long ago, and the label is perpetuated only because bright people are attracted to the reputation: not because the faculty necessarily remain competent.

Curiosity (a natural human trait) and necessity (ie real consequences) are the only things that result in non-short-term learning. Unfortunately, curiosity is killed and necessity a relatively abstract concept in most learning institutions.

If I have kids they will go to school/university, but I'm letting them know the learning aspect is a joke outside of getting the degree (the item society expects). The social benefits are the only redeeming factors. The rest of the time I'll try to insulate them from the curiosity-killing, mind-numbing effect of classes.

goat wrote:

Anything that discourages someone from taking post-elementary school/university seriously is a *good* thing.

University in its current incarnation turns peoples minds off. The social factor is nice, but the fact they cause people to quarantine learning as "boring" is sad.

Most large universities (especially public ones) have little positive feedback for teaching effectively. Sports team performance has a much larger effect on alumni donations than performance. And "teaching well" is neither measured effectively nor rewarded with $$$.

A "great" university may have earned that label long ago, and the label is perpetuated only because bright people are attracted to the reputation: not because the faculty necessarily remain competent.

Curiosity (a natural human trait) and necessity (ie real consequences) are the only things that result in non-short-term learning. Unfortunately, curiosity is killed and necessity a relatively abstract concept in most learning institutions.

If I have kids they will go to school/university, but I'm letting them know the learning aspect is a joke outside of getting the degree (the item society expects). The social benefits are the only redeeming factors. The rest of the time I'll try to insulate them from the curiosity-killing, mind-numbing effect of classes.

Still we have a university system that people come from all over the world to attend. It's not the university system that is a demon here, although it is operating under some mighty strange forces right now. No, it's K-12 that scares me. I hardly recognize it anymore. Aptitude tests? Not to go against the strain of the thread here, but I don't see that as productive for either sex.

souldaddy wrote:

Still we have a university system that people come from all over the world to attend. It's not the university system that is a demon here, although it is operating under some mighty strange forces right now. No, it's K-12 that scares me. I hardly recognize it anymore. Aptitude tests? Not to go against the strain of the thread here, but I don't see that as productive for either sex.

From what I've read and observed America's problem area seems to be specifically the 5-12 range. There's about a half dozen different factors vying with each other to be the main reason our secondary educational system is a failure. "Feminisation" is not one of them.

Universities are a crapshoot. There are high-dollar universities that only excel at getting students drunk and community colleges that couldn't be better in specific areas. The only way to tell for sure which is which would be to visit them and sit in on a lot of classes.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

Universities are a crapshoot. There are high-dollar universities that only excel at getting students drunk and community colleges that couldn't be better in specific areas. The only way to tell for sure which is which would be to visit them and sit in on a lot of classes.

I'll second Danjo's thought on universities here, while not necessarily agreeing with his first point. I've attended a gamut of universities, from community colleges to the world's best. There's certainly things that some community college do ever so well (better than any four-year/postgraduate institutions), such as aviation at the community college I attended.
There is simply no competition between those same colleges and the best of the world in the social sciences, and that's all I can vouch for.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

From what I've read and observed America's problem area seems to be specifically the 5-12 range. There's about a half dozen different factors vying with each other to be the main reason our secondary educational system is a failure.

I've seen the same. Our students remain competitive by an measure until puberty starts to hit, at which point we go into relative decline.

goat wrote:

Most large universities (especially public ones) have little positive feedback for teaching effectively. Sports team performance has a much larger effect on alumni donations than performance. And "teaching well" is neither measured effectively nor rewarded with $$$.

A "great" university may have earned that label long ago, and the label is perpetuated only because bright people are attracted to the reputation: not because the faculty necessarily remain competent.

Most large universities reward faculty based upon research first, and teaching second.

Man, I love my alma mater.

goat wrote:

everything he said

This sounds exactly like my University (U of Minnesota).

As far as "feminising" schools, this is ridiculous:
http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/01/30/70525

The article is basically saying "IT is discriminatory against women" when the fact is that most females simply are not interested in IT type fields. It's more an issue with our anti-intellectual culture, where if you're good at science you're a socially inept nerd that everyone makes fun of.

Shazam wrote:
goat wrote:

everything he said

This sounds exactly like my University (U of Minnesota).

As far as "feminising" schools, this is ridiculous:
http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/01/30/70525

The article is basically saying "IT is discriminatory against women" when the fact is that most females simply are not interested in IT type fields. It's more an issue with our anti-intellectual culture, where if you're good at science you're a socially inept nerd that everyone makes fun of.

I don't see women gushing over technology in their spare time. To me the majority of the problems I hear simply stem from "too many of them and not enough of us". It's the same thing as the "discrimination" in video games, the workforce reflects the audience. I would take any complaints in my workplace seriously but I don't feel this is a huge issue across the country.

It's funny because I worked in a job where I was the only man in an office of 35 women, and the sexist jokes and misandry flew left and right. I won't make any comments about the state of the country overall, but my personal experience has been overwhelmingly positive gentlemanly attitudes from men and more "variety" from women. In the Army, my coed units were far more sexist than the all-male ones. I don't blame women per say, it's just that men are policed more tightly than women. Like with anything else, a person's quality of character usually mirrored their behavior.