We are hearing a lot about the gender gap in education these days–the one that disfavors boys, that is. I suppose this is good, but for some reason I don’t think the experts are going to get things right this time either, unless they really examine the premises from which this new gender gap arose in the first place. One of these premises, for example, is that girls were terribly short-changed in education years ago, necessitating all the focus on the female side in recent decades, but that was simply not true. Education was better all around years ago, and girls did fine.
What happened is that feminism demanded that women appear equal, if not superior, to men in all ways. Education began to play to female strengths and to downplay what required more of the male qualities. That’s why there is more focus on soft subjects and less on the harder subjects like math and science. That’s why content has been downgraded altogether in favor of the softer idea of learning “skills,” programmed approaches at which girls do better. Girls were perhaps a little quieter in the old classroom, so ways had to be found to draw them out more. Group work, touchy-feely subjectivity, less competitiveness, more sitting in a circle and going around asking for everyone’s response rather than letting the kids shoot up their hands, absolutely no disagreement allowed that might threaten self-esteem, subtle and overt disdain for boys’ greater strength and aggressiveness, and so on. The classroom became thoroughly feminized and lost the edge that would keep boys more interested.
No criticism was permitted of girls or women at all; everything had to promote their strength and capability. At the same time, all the criticism in the world could be leveled at boys and men. Oprah once featured something that evidently some schools are doing as an exercise, in which the boys are seated and the girls walk in a line behind them whispering a series of insults and degrading comments at them, supposedly to give them a taste of what girls supposedly get from boys every day. Some of the boys broke down. If I were a mother at that school, I’d be looking for a neck to wring.
With all this, girls gradually became more and more prideful, pumped up, full of themselves, something you can see in commercials and movies where they are shown besting men in every way. They’re always smarter and often even stronger, even shown beating men up in the action films.
This was illustrated this very morning after Matt Laurer interviewed a couple of the people concerned with the poor performance of boys in schools. The handwringing session was immediately followed by a commercial in which a young woman seems to be walking out on a young man who pleads to be able to talk to her. She totally ignores him and sends him flying by absent-mindedly running into him with her car, her mind on more important things. How’s that for a metaphor for what our feminist-led society has done to boys?