Re: Education of Boys

Donna Woodka (
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 10:36:57 -0800 (PST)

On Thu, 26 Mar 1998, Robert Weverka wrote:

> Did you catch the last part of the Washington Post series on gender?
> It is about boys and education.
> On suppression of efforts to help boys:
> Researchers into boys' behavior fear they will be tagged as anti-
> female, and they tread cautiously into the politically and
> emotionally loaded field of gender study.
> This last comment I find particularly apropos. Attempts to raise gender
> equity issues for boys on this list have been met with hostility and ridicule.

Thanks, Robert. I appreciate both the articles you posted today.

I really think the issue isn't so much gender, but rather how we raise
*all* children with a set of expectations, stereotypes, and societal
values that create dysfunctional systems and damage self esteem. The
problem is, people get caught up in one aspect or another of these issues
and lose sight of the whole picture. When you raise "the opposite side" of
the issue, those on "the other side" get annoyed, as if you are dismissing
their feelings. Instead of seeing everything as having two sides, we
really have to look at how complex and intermingled these issues are. If
we're raising boys to project a certain macho image and limit displaying
their sensitivity, the flip side of that is insensitivity and repressed
anger that comes out in some very harmful ways, often towards women. But
if you look at the society as a whole, that's a different issue than "look
what we're doing to boys" or "look what we're doing to girls". Perhaps
what we need to promote is an equality for individuals, to be seen and
treated and respected as individuals, rather than as a stereotype.
That is the kind of equity I hope to see develop.

Donna Woodka | "Books are like lobster shells, we surround | ourselves with 'em, then we grow out of 'em
| and leave 'em behind, as evidence of our
| earlier stages of development."--Dorothy Sayers

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