Monday, February 13, 2006

dream of men has been to not have to work anymore and spend time going fishing

dream of men has been to not have to work

Paddy O. said...

couple of thoughts to throw out there.
As regards to emphasis on verbal skills, I dare say this isn't new to our generation. Indeed, if there had been an emphasis on computational skills recently this is a historical aberrance.
The history of the world has been built with skills of writing and rhetoric and artistic contribution, well that and warfare. I think a survey of great literature would show there's not a gender gap in men's ability to write or communicate well.
To say that an emphasis on writing and communicating, that one time hallmark of an educated person, is the source seems off track. Would that anyone in our era write as well as men and women did prior to the 20th century.
Societies have always favored the verbally adept, and history isn't exactly awash in male oppression.
I also suspect there is bias in our early education settings because of the bias still apparent in the higher education settings. While women professors and PhDs are increasingly common, this is a fairly new movement.
This means that the context in which teachers are trained is reacting to one situation, which is entirely different than where the teachers will work. However, because the teachers of teachers are still, in essence, overcoming the gender gap they teach teachers to overcome that same gender gap, which then creates an imbalance of focus towards girls rather than boys.
Related to this is the reality that Baby Boomers especially tend to react to their own childhoods. Everything is viewed through the lenses of their developmental experience, thus if they found gender bias as a 6 year old in the 1950s and 60s, they fight to overcome their developmental challenges by addressing the same issue in this day. That this day is different is not seen or understood. This is true not only in education but across all sorts of societal issues. Baby Boomers are still trying to overcome their own childhoods and adolescence. Thus they fight a gender bias which, even if research suggest otherwise, they know exists.
Finally, I think boys, and thus men, are reacting to the strong women's movement of the last twenty or thirty years. Rather than fighting it, however, boys and men are saying, "Well, if you want to work so much, go ahead. I'll just sit back and hang out." Men, not having anything to prove, will give way to women who still feel they do have to prove something to soceity.
I think this latter point is an issue of ambition, not education or intelligence. If the dream of the feminist movement has been to drive women into work, the dream of men has been to not have to work anymore and spend time going fishing instead.

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