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Boys in Crisis or Children in Crisis?

March 29, 2010

I came across a very interesting post today with a title, Boys and Young Men: A New Cause for Liberals, that immediately caught my eye.

I come across posts by MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) all the time and usually simply roll my eyes at them. However, a post about boys and young men really drew me in. I’ve always felt that boys suffered as much from the patriarchy as girls do. Sure they’re going to end up benefiting from the institution but that doesn’t make the indoctrination any easier to live through.

The gist of the article is summed up in the quote below.

In case you haven’t noticed, America’s boys and young men are in trouble – not doing well in school, lacking ambition, often floundering. Not all of them, of course, but enough to take notice. There’s more and more in the news lately about the trouble America’s boys are in (“crisis” was the term used in a Newsweek cover story in 2006).

So I wanted to post my take on the crisis and pose some solutions from my point of view.

I think that what we really have is an education crises. Let’s face it, public schools pretty much suck in this country. Teachers barely make enough money to live on and often have to pay for the supplies they need themselves. They’re stretched too thin to show any student, regardless of gender, the personal attention that they need and deserve.

So why are girls doing better than boys in this environment? I would say that it’s probably their parents pushing them at home. I was taught all throughout my childhood that I had to study hard and make good grades if I wanted to compete with men. That because I was a girl, I would have to work twice as hard to even attempt to be on even ground with men.

Something I saw with my own parents was that the pushed me a lot harder than they did my brother. He got to slack off while I didn’t. I think that the parents of males, particularly white males, feel that they have ample opportunities so they don’t need to be pushed as hard.

So until we get the overhaul of our educational system that is so drastically needed, I think most of these issues lie with the parents.

As a side note, I had to reply to one of the comments to the post.

It is my hunch that when schools crush the freedom of boys, it is more detrimental to them than it is for girls, perhaps because they need to run around a lot?

I have to call bullshit on this. I was bursting with energy as a child and had so much trouble sitting still and not talking that I had a corner with my name literally written on it (do kids still have to stand in the corner in school when they get in trouble?). I could have ran all day long and never tired and been in total bliss. I don’t think there is a difference between girls and boys in this aspect, crushing the freedom of children is detrimental regardless of gender.

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