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Nov 06 2005

Secrets Of Female Success Revealed!

This educator dude says too many college graduates are female, worries that boys are getting the shaft in school, and observes that the American classroom has been "set up for a female brain." He also notes the tendency among schoolgirls to "taunt victims" with "cyber bullying."

Now we know why boys grow up to be such abysmal failures in all aspects of human endeavor.

36 comments

  1. kate.d.

    oh my god, i am so sick of this chicken little noise about boys and school. you can’t skip a stone without hitting a semi-hysterical article about how we’re leaving boys behind. well you know what? even if that were true, which it’s not, girls have been left behind in schools (when they’ve been let in at all) for hundreds of years, so i say tough nuts.

    people would strip me of my post-post-post-feminist credentials for that statement, but when people refuse to listen to all other logical arguments about feminism and how it actually benefits everyone, i just want to say, “yeah, so? what if boys are getting the shaft now in every conceivable arena of life? let’s see how they like it for a change.”

    and then i sound like a crazy person, but ah well. dueling with the patriarchy will do that to you, i guess.

  2. Liz

    Kate D, you mocketh “post-feminism”?

    Next thing you’ll be suggesting that feminism is alive and well, and there’s no post- about it until we live in a post-patriarchal age.

  3. Iggie

    As a teacher in the obviously patriarchal public school system, if “they” continue wanting children to be standardized-tested until their fingers bleed, they’re going to have to deal with the fact that kids in school need to be able to keep their traps shut, sit still, and pay attention in order for teachers to get through all the state-mandated curriculum, and so the children test well. Even though that seems to be crushing the spirits of little boys everywhere, evidently. I guess it doesn’t matter for the girls, according to this guy.

    I’d like to see him teach a class full of boys who each have a potential projectile (i.e. the plastic squeeze ball) in hand. That’s a winning idea, for sure. But I guess if they’re taking frequent walks, he’ll only have to worry about a few beaning him in the back of the head…

  4. Ms Kate

    As a mother of two school age boys, I would say that the school system’s biggest contributions to both patriarchy and lagging male scores come from the dearth of male teachers and the near absence of female administrators.

    In the primary grades, male teachers are isolated and marginalized unless or until they are recruited into administration. This is bad news on two fronts: women don’t get pushed into administration like men do AND all the boys AND girls ever see are female teachers and male administrators.

    I’m not saying this to say “oooh, the poor men”, but to point out the role this bullshit plays in perpetuating the patriarchy. It reinforces gender roles in the daily lives of our children for too many formative years. It also means that the boys do not have caring and nurturing yet essentially male role models to relate to – something my older son thrives on.

  5. Nancy

    Some of the successful techniques used on boys include letting them to draw things out before writing, allowing them to walk around during the school day and giving boys plastic squeeze balls that help keep them mentally active during long periods of sitting.

    So what does this mean? By virtue of having a penis, some children will have special walking around and drawing privileges over others? What kid wouldn’t want to walk around during the school day?

    Clearly this is just another way to give boys advantages over girls, now that girls’ parents can’t be counted on to cripple their daughters intellectually and aspirationally as they once did.


    Girls, he said, generally have closed the math and science gap, but still lag in computer science.

    At least this guy, tool of the Patriarchy though he may be, is able to acknowledge what Steven Pinker refuses to – test scores are changing in a less than evolutionary time-span, in spite of Pinker’s (and his prize student Lawrence Summers’) belief that females are just inferior to males in math and science.

  6. Anonymous

    “The whole system has been set up for a female brain, it’s more verbal and emotive, sitting still and taking notes. It’s a better fit for girls.”

    Whereas before, when boys weren’t so oppressed, reading was taught while… I don’t know… playing tackle football?

    And how is sitting still & taking notes “verbal and emotive”?

    My female brain just doesn’t get it.

  7. Reality Check

    Abysmal failures? That sounds like quite a statement. Failure in what way? Anyway, I think American education fails everybody more or less. As for boys, there aren’t a lot of male role models in our schools that are there to teach the guys how to channel male strength and courage productively. As a teenager, I found school boring. I wanted to be outside, running around and kicking ass. I was 6’4″ and 170 lbs., and I had a lot of physical energy my body wanted to release. I didn’t give a shit about what my quivering middle-aged English teacher had to say. I am better off for it too.

  8. Twisty

    Poor Reality Check. If you had paid attention in school, perhaps you would be smart enough to understand my blog.

  9. Reality Check

    Of course, a personal attack. What a surprise. How will I live on with the knowledge that I will never be as enlightened as you?

    What is your background by the way? Age? Race? Education? Location? I am just curious.

  10. buxom broad

    Now, now RC, if you wanna make out with Twisty, you gonna hafta wait in a very looooooong line!

  11. Reality Check

    Nah, I was’t hitting on her. I just would like a brief bio of the person behind this blog. But if she is hot, I am willing to overlook her views.

  12. robin

    She IS hot, and probably perfectly willing to disregard your views.
    I take it your views include the opinion that English teachers should have their employment terminated the day they are no longer sexually stimulating to big hunky teenaged boys?

  13. Reality Check

    Ha ha. I actually got a B.A. in English Lit in college. Sad really. It ruined my taste for fiction. I stick mainly to non-fiction now. Actually, I think Professors of Literature serve a good function. But like most academics, they are not as important as they think they are. I did have one Professor that was hot. She was petite, slim, and had vibrant skin. I guess that degree was worth it then.

  14. manxome

    Ah, girls closing the math and science gap = boys are being left behind. Quick, hire more hot professors!

  15. Jenny

    ‘Vibrant Skin’, Reality Check? Really? That BA in English Lit has served you *reeeeal’ well, has it not?

    The reason Twisty mocked you, you dol, is the same reason I do. It wasn’t that you diusagreed with her views, it was that uou utterly failed to understand the tongue in cheek nature of he final line of her post.

    You say school was ‘boring’ – I agree that the trad school system comprehensively fails the non-academically gifted.

  16. Dr. Brazen Hussy

    Gurian also said that the education system is starting to leave boys behind after decades of concern about girls not faring as well. “Boys are in worse shape than girls in all 35 industrialized counties,” he said, citing statistics that show the majority of college students and graduates are female.

    You know, when females were doing worse in school, that was considered evidence that boys were just naturally smarter than girls…

  17. Twisty

    Oh dear. Another painful attempt at comic ribaldry by an English major who can’t write. These are godawful enough when undertaken by English majors who can write.

    Buh, as I believe the idiom goes, bye.

  18. Twisty

    Jenny, “vibrant skin” is from a Noxema commercial.

  19. tisha

    Generally, if I attempt to contribute to these blog-debates it’s to point out that, regardless of our feminist idealisms and desires, we should at LEAST acknowledge that men and women have measurably different cocktails of hormones coursing through their bodies, and that horomones can affect the way men and women learn, think and behave(and for the record, to pre-empt any hostile accusations, just because I am happy to acknowledge genetic differences between men and women doesn’t mean I approve of any resultant harmful social effects).

    My take: It should be OK to adapt teaching methods to accomodate the learning styles of BOTH boys and girls. That said, I think most of this patriarchal whining is just that, the whining of a white-male-power-elite accustomed to privelege, and bloody PISSED at how times have changed.

    Once upon a time rich white boys could goof off in high school, get into prestigious universities on legacies, major in binge-drinking, farting and fucking, and emerge four years later with transcripts full of gentleman C’s and high level jobs with corner offices waiting to be blessed with their holy rich male whiteness.

    (Less rich white boys used to be able goof off in school because they counted on decent blue-collar jobs to give them decent standards of living. Most of these jobs are gone.)

    The new economy can no longer afford well-paid blue collar workers OR pinstriped blowhards who do little to contribute to a company’s bottom line. So brainy women and brainy non-whites are beginning to crowd out the priveleged class by getting into the best schools on merit, and taking many of the best paying new jobs (which pretty much all require college degrees). It’s still an upward battle with glass celings to crash, but if we weren’t making headway, this whiny article would have never made it to press.

  20. delphyne

    I always thought the reason boys didn’t bother to do well in school was because they knew when they left they’d earn at least 30% more money than the girls who were trying so hard. Who cares about exam results when the salary is already in place?

  21. Xavier Harkonnen

    Aren’t all these “girl-centered” teaching methods patterned after British boarding schools? You know, the ones that only had boys? The not talking, the taking of notes. I don’t think this is some kind of new feminist-inspired fad.

  22. Dim Undercellar

    “You know, when females were doing worse in school, that was considered evidence that boys were just naturally smarter than girls… ”

    Ooh! Zing on the Patriarchy!

  23. Chris Clarke

    Jenny, “vibrant skin” is from a Noxema commercial.

    True Fact: the registered trademark “Noxema” is a portmanteau word made by combining the words “noxious” and “edema”.

  24. Hattie

    Heh, Chris. How I love the Twisty blog and all you great women.

  25. SarahM

    Quoth Jenny: “I agree that the trad school system comprehensively fails the non-academically gifted.”

    !!! I just have to interject that the trad school system, with its “mainstreaming” and other lowest-common-denominator tactics, most certainly does not serve the academically gifted student population well. I don’t want to turn this into “my sub-group is more oppressed than your sub-group,” which usually happens when someone brings up gifted education. I just don’t think the current public school system works particularly well for any group of students. What do you expect, though, when education policy is written by test-prep companies?

  26. Donna

    Tisha, Tisha…

    It’s been my experience that people don’t usually belabor the idea “that men and women have measurably different cocktails of hormones coursing through their bodies, and that horomones can affect the way men and women learn, think and behave” unless they are also proponents of the idea that the “resultant social effects” (harmful or otherwise) are inevitable and immutable. You do approve of them, otherwise you wouldn’t go to such lengths to protect the patriarchy with dubious “science”.

  27. Nancy


    You do approve of them, otherwise you wouldn’t go to such lengths to protect the patriarchy with dubious “science”.

    Well said!

  28. Jenny

    *face burn*

    The great Twisty kindly set me straight on this American ‘vibrant skin’ thing (still think it sounds stupid!). And yet I befouled her blog by posting in haste and riddling it with typos and errors! Why do I never proof-read! Why?

    *slinks away in shame*

  29. tisha

    (dang, how to I put this in italics?) QUOTE ” . . . “unless they are also proponents of the idea that the “resultant social effects” (harmful or otherwise) are inevitable and immutable. You do approve of them, otherwise you wouldn’t go to such lengths to protect the patriarchy with dubious “science”.”

    Belabor? Nah, just acknowledge. Inevitable and immutable? I don’t believe that at all!

    (I remain the Ultimate Authority on what I personally believe, and what I approve of or don’t, but thanks anyway for trying to read my mind?)

  30. Joolya

    My second grade teacher: “Joolya has a difficult time staying on task; her handwriting is messy; she has trouble staying in her seat and talking out of turn. Of course, if she were a little boy, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion . . .”

    My mother: [Sigh] “So how about I put her in overalls and strap a dildo on her and we can stop having this conversation?”

  31. tisha

    (giggle) Flashback: My daughter has always been an excellent student, but her first grade teacher used to made a big deal of the fact that she was “messy.”

  32. Ron Sullivan

    Not only do men and women have “measurably different cocktails of hormones coursing through their bodies,” but individual men and women have different cocktails in different proportions (in fact, I do believe I recall that proportion is the supposed, generalized difference between sexes to begin with) and each individual has different proportions at different times andthe whole thing is further complicated by the barely predictable actions of individuals’ receptors for those various cocktail ingredients. And the effects of all this on various learning styles are even less predictable.

    So of all the generalizations that get made in discussing this subject, that one has got to be among the least useful.

    BTW, Horray for Joolya’s mother!

    And Hattie, the great women here turn up in the most unexpected places.

  33. emjaybee

    I was constantly in trouble as a young girl for leaving my desk, talking a lot, not paying attention, and doing other such “boyish” things. Yet I remained a girl!

    Later I learned I could get the same satisfaction by sitting at the back of the class and making wisecracks. My teachers, thoroughly indoctrinated by the patriarchy, never understood that I was the one causing the disruption; I was female, after all, and fairly demure looking. So maybe school did privilege me, but only because it assumed a girl wasn’t capable of being so unladylike. Hardly my fault…

  34. littlem

    Last I heard, the boys were complaining because they weren’t even attending college anymore – or they were dropping out because of this purported “female-centered” curriculum theory.

    My own thought is that the curriculum itself is actually placing a premium on those verbal-based skills which current capitalist employers with patriarchal hierarchies REQUIRE from their employee-gnomes in the evolving hyperspeed information-based economy, and the “emotive” skills required when those hierarchies are “flattened out” – below the most senior management level of course – in the course of “rightsizing” (another result of the capitalist system attempting to push itself toward an ultimate zero sum).

    In other words, this patriarchal system is coming back to bite some of its own supporters in the butt.

    To paraphrase an upthread analysis, college is pretty much becoming a glorified trade school. (I should know – I have a law degree.)

    Put yet another way, the same Darwinism through which those patriarchal adherents rationalize some of their own basest behavior is turning on them.

    Adapt or die. Bwahahahahahaha!

  35. littlem

    I just realized the last bit might sound a bit heartless. As in many other areas of our lives today, as we attempt to foster equality between the sexes, I just want them to STOP WHINING and LEARN SOMETHING.

  36. samanta

    you are only some parasits of the life in this world. Why you don´t do some thing beside talking. any thing which you have has been made by men. Go to make some thing useful. If all the feminists of the world get together, they can not make a simple thing, when they should not use what is made by men. Why you donßt try it? Then we will see how “intelligent” you are LOL.

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