The Shouty Woman

June 13, 2006

Save the Boys

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 1:10 pm

You have to feel sorry for boys. I mean we all know the male sex is terribly hard done-by, what with feminism having Gone Too Far and all, but if things weren't bad enough, now they're expecting them to conform to castrating, feminazi ideas like, er, paying attention in class and handing in work on time. Can you imagine how the poor things must feel? Why don't we just make them all wear dresses and make-up and be done with it?

This absurd argument isn't new, of course – I seem to remember a similar panic about the 'feminisation of education' blowing up in the US a few months back. No matter how many times it's wheeled out, though, it's still both ridiculous and offensive to everyone involved.

Firstly, what does 'feminisation' actually mean? It's an unpleasant sounding word, and to my mind carries the implication that a female influence must always be a bad influence. It has echoes of the Christian Right's obsession with bringing their sons up in a 'masculine' way, to ensure they don't catch Teh Gay. I'd agree that it'd be nice to see more male primary school teachers, simply because teaching is a great profession and men shouldn't feel excluded from it, but this doesn't mean a female teacher must somehow lack the qualities needed to teach male pupils.

Secondly, it furthers the stereotype that all boys are tough, violent and argumentative, and all girls are quiet, tidy and co-operative. Boys shouldn't be expected to conform to basic standards of behaviour, because boys just aren't like that, the argument seems to run. It's quite amusing really, this – you can bet your bottom dollar that many of these 'save the boys' campaigners are the same people Daily Mail-reading types who whinge about lack of discipline in schools. How disciplined would a school be if no-one was expected to listen or hand their bloody work in on time?

Thirdly, for centuries girls and women had to be content with a second-class education or no education at all. Now we've finally acheived a sort of equality, why do we have this chorus of voices begging us to think of the poor downtrodden boys? If girls outperform boys in some areas, perish the thought that it's down to hard work and determination – no, it must be because the education system is too 'feminine'. After all, girls could never do better than boys on their own.

Frankly, if boys think 'organisation and attentiveness' are too feminine, then maybe school isn't the right place for them. I've got an suggestion. Let's set up a special 'masculine' school, free of these nasty feminist ideas, full of big, tough male teachers (none of those nasty gays of course), where boys can be as chaotic and inattentive as they like. We'll see who gets the best exam results.



  1. I hate these anti-women/girls men’s/boy’s-rights articles, and I hate that the mainstream media loves to publish these things without any sort of criticism or analysis. There is so much wrong with what this guy is saying, you’ve touched on some of it, but the anti-female views expressed are popular and continue to be presented elsewhere as having all the credibilty.

    Comment by somewhere — June 13, 2006 @ 1:40 pm |Reply

  2. Exactly. I find it extraordinary that this guy can make these claims without anyone questioning what he’s saying. I believe he’s made these comments at a conference though, so hopefully there’ll have been some debate there.

    Comment by Lucy — June 13, 2006 @ 1:48 pm |Reply

  3. In short, this guy is a tosser, an ignorant tosser at that. The real reason why boys are not doing as well as girls is that masculinity simply doesn’t work for them. Patriarchy isn’t working as well as it once was.

    Comment by Feminist First — June 13, 2006 @ 2:32 pm |Reply

  4. My x used to say i’d “feminised” my male cat, because he had a nice nature!?? Year right on Tiger, scratch every body’s eyes out and be a Real Man Cat.

    Comment by anna — June 13, 2006 @ 5:59 pm |Reply

  5. Wow, this is hilarious. On the one hand he’s saying the 1950s patriarchy has been challenged, but then goes on to support the v. patriarchal notion that the two sexes have biologically-determined behavouirs believing competitivness and leadership are male traits. What b*******! As for the qualities usually associated with girls e.g. attentiveness, this has nothing to do with a feminisation of the curriculum- haven’t kids always had to pay attention in class?!

    As for the curriculum itself, a lot of what children learn is male-centred. All the theories learnt in science, all the history that is taught focuses on men, the male scientists and inventors, the male leaders and politicians. Considering girls are not taught the history and achievements of their own gender, they still do well academically.

    And this guy gets paid to come up with crap like this?!

    Comment by Michelle — June 13, 2006 @ 7:47 pm |Reply

  6. Exactly Michelle. Nothing we get taught in schools is really linked to our own gender’s achievements when it comes to subjects like maths, science, geography, music, history (hmm should I go on?) precisely because we’ve been oppressed in achieving anything in those subject areas for so long, and indeed weren’t the old boys-only schools systems of beating etc way MORE disciplined than the mixed gender schools of today? And isn’t it telling that when boys were doing better than girls in school in the past (at the beginning of girl’s education) that nobody complained about that? That was considered normal… now there’s a big panic because girls can’t possibly be better than boys!! On my god that would be the end of the universe! Society would crumble! And more importantly, would mean that *men have been oppressing women for no good reason.*

    Comment by Purpleheart — June 18, 2006 @ 9:57 pm |Reply

  7. Exactly Purpleheart! Couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Comment by Lucy — June 20, 2006 @ 1:14 pm |Reply

  8. Dale Spender (an Aussie feminist) has covered this topic in her book, “Invisible Women – the Schooling Scandal”.

    Apparently, those poor little boys don’t do as well in an all-male classroom, and there has been a backlash to keep co-ed classes. The girls, in an all-female class, far outperform their male peers. So, *of course* we can have none of that!!

    There have been quite a few notable women throughout history, scientists, mathematicians, writers, but I’ll bet you were never taught about them in history – I certainly wasn’t.

    As an aside, I was in an all-male class during university many years ago (1980s) as an Industrial Designer (Product Design). In the engineering class, I was the top student. It was rationalised by my male peers as me *somehow* having favouritism with the (male) lecturer. I was also the top or near top of the Art History class (female lecturer). My *secret*? I took the classes seriously, did all the work and homework required, and handed in assignments on time. So shhh! Don’t pass on my *secret*!

    Quite frankly, I am surprised that females do as well as they do in a scholastic system that is so obviously stacked against us. Imagine what we could do on a level playing field? World domination anyone? No wonder Patriarchy is scared shitless.


    Comment by Stormcloud — July 24, 2006 @ 2:01 pm |Reply

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