girls and boys

“In general, there is more tolerance for active play in boys than in girls,” McClelland said. “Girls are expected to be quiet and not make a fuss. This expectation may be coloring some teachers’ perceptions.”

The Oregon State University article compares behavior in boys and girls in the US and in three Asian countries. In sum, Asian boys exhibit generally better behavior and impulse control than American boys, at least per the research and in the context of the research parameters.

What I found more intriguing was Megan McClelland’s statement, quoted above. Is it offensive to females (suggesting that society compels them to behave and not make a fuss), or to males (suggesting that they are less well behaved to the point of the expectation being lowered; or perhaps suggesting that they are oppressive of the behavior of females, you know, due to their “maleness”)?

My hunch is that few guys will get offended by the paragraph and will do a shoulder shrug, and the gals will nod their heads to each other, knowingly. In other words, in the experience of what I suspect is most people (in the US, but apparently not in Asia), they’ll concur with the idea expressed above, that girls are more demure and better behaved than boys.

What is more interesting though is that McClelland’s statement itself is loaded and revealing of her own bias. We could modify the word choice to “reverse” the bias by re-writing it to look something like this: “In general, there is more tolerance for uncontrolled behavior in boys than in girls. Girls are assumed to be better behaved and reserved and less likely to engage in exorbitant play.”

Written that way, the same idea takes a different meaning, more positive for girls and more negative for boys. But since when are writers impartial on such matters?

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