Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The difference between boys and girls

I'm studying for a Praxis test (fun!) and one of the flashcards deals with gender discrimination. Yes I'm using flashcards - don't judge me.

I stopped and reflected on each point from this densely worded card, to see if I'm guilty:

- teachers give boys more attention and approval than girls. not guilty

- boys are better at math; girls are the writers / creatives. not guilty, I seem to think the opposite is true, because ...

- girls are more docile and passive; boys are more assertive and active. guilty

I've witnessed several quiet, focused girls working away on their science and math problems. They seem better able to sit quietly and focus - so yes, I bought into the above stereotype that boys are naturally more rowdy.

But aren't they?

Without wading too deep, and over my head, into the waters of nature versus nurture - and gender as a social construct - I will just say that little boys generally seem to have a greater tendency to blow things up and cause chaos than do little girls.

I welcome thoughts on this topic, and again I point out the word "generally."


- boys are more often asked to assume leadership roles. not guilty

- boys are punished more harshly for breaking the rules. partially guilty

- in general, boys are reprimanded more frequently for behavior, whereas girls are criticized for skill deficiency. partially guilty

Were it not for this set of flashcards I'm suffering through, I'd have never reflected on this important issue. At least, I wouldn't have tackled it in time to raise awareness and make adjustments for next year.

Thank you, Praxis. I may just be a small fraction more enlightened than I was moments ago!

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