2009 June 16 Tuesday
Boys Hit By Bigger Problems Than Girls

Lots of bad things happen to boys.

According to Judith Kleinfeld, boys get the raw deal. Compared with girls, American boys have lower rates of literacy, lower grades and engagement in school, higher drop-out from school, and dramatically higher rates of suicide, premature death, injuries, and arrests. Boys are also placed more often in special education. Girls on the other hand are more likely to have different problems including depression, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders.

The researcher argues that although there have been numerous federal, state, school district, and foundation programs aimed at addressing issues faced by girls, led in part by the strong feminist movement, the same cannot be said for the problems encountered by boys. In her view, they have been largely neglected.

Does it matter that girls get more attention?: Yes, in one sense: the sorts of environments that appeal to boys are denied to them on the theory that boys need taming and conditioning to embrace female values. School becomes far more boring for boys because less teaching is devoted to subjects which appeal to boys.

Why do boys have so many problems i the first place? One reason is just 1 X chromosome per cell. Recessive mutations on X chromosomes might be supressed in girls. But not so in boys. Also, boys were selected for to be more masculine and aggressive. What boys need are hobbies and school course work that appeals to boys. Military history rather than social history. Novels about adventures and exploration rather than novels about complex family relationships. Boys need guns, archerty, sports.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 June 16 11:07 PM  Human Nature


Comments
OneSTDV said at June 17, 2009 6:30 AM:

"The researcher argues that although there have been numerous federal, state, school district, and foundation programs aimed at addressing issues faced by girls, led in part by the strong feminist movement, the same cannot be said for the problems encountered by boys. In her view, they have been largely neglected."

For this statement, I imagine Professor Kleinfeld will be blackballed from all sociological conferences. This type of discourse is downright sacriligious amongst academics.

James Bowery said at June 17, 2009 7:14 AM:

No, what boys need is replacement of sports and "hobbies" with adult-directed training with tools for construction of a little one-room dwelling with a wood or corn burning stove, composting toilet and on-property supply of water on a little piece of land with enough food production to support them, a wife and 2 children -- all owned free and clear by the age of 18. If they want to sell or rent it to a retiring boomer and move on to college or trade school, they can.

theGomezSymbol said at June 17, 2009 9:22 AM:

When I went to school, we just had 'History', and it encompassed the military, the social, the political and everything else. Is History now being tailored to show only one of these aspects?

Also, boys like science. Or at least, those who are smart enough to understand the math behind it.

Jeremiah Whitmoore said at June 17, 2009 1:21 PM:

http://neopaleocons.blogspot.com/2009/06/recession-impacts-kids-summer-plans.html

Maybe its because of our present generation of "spreadsheet kids?"

coldequation said at June 17, 2009 3:24 PM:

The title of this post rubs me the wrong way. Most of these things boys are "hit by" are self-inflicted. Blacks also have higher rates of most problems, but nobody in the Steveosphere would announce that with the title "Blacks Hit By Bigger Problems Than Whites," unless they were being ironic.

Randall Parker said at June 17, 2009 8:59 PM:

coldequation,

I can't always think of a pithy title that precisely conveys what I'm trying to say.

Self-inflicted: Do we have free will? I'm skeptical.

Hit by bigger problems: People with less ability to understand reality will make worse mistakes and wind up in more trouble. People with urges and impulses that cause them to mess up their lives will end up in worse shape.

This is not an argument for making others shoulder the resulting costs.

Randall Parker said at June 18, 2009 12:02 AM:

coldequation,

I can't always think of a pithy title that precisely conveys what I'm trying to say.

Self-inflicted: Do we have free will? I'm skeptical.

Hit by bigger problems: People with less ability to understand reality will make worse mistakes and wind up in more trouble. People with urges and impulses that cause them to mess up their lives will end up in worse shape.

This is not an argument for making others shoulder the resulting costs.

The White Detroiter said at June 19, 2009 7:43 AM:

Having more same sex schools would likely make it easier to provide boys with a more appropriate curriculum. Similarly I support tracking by ability so each child is getting the best education suited to his/her talents. It simply is more difficult to provide a good education to a class with diverse abilities and interests. I recommend reading "Why Gender Matters" by Leonard Sax to learn more about the benefits of same sex schooling.


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