The War Against Boys: Chapter 3: Guys and Dolls (Part I, page 73-86)

by NeW Staff on September 15, 2010 · 0 comments

Chapter Three addresses the resocialization of boys. Sommmers quotes Dr. Nancy Marshall, a senior research scientist and associate director of the Wellesley Center:

” According to Marshall, a child’s sexual identity is learned by observing others. As she noted, ‘When babies are born, they do not know about gender.’ Since babies know very little about anything, Marshall’s comments are puzzling. They don’t know their blood type either, after all, buy they still have one. Marshall explained that gender, which is indeterminate at birth, is formed and fixed later by a process of socialization that guides the child to adopt a male or a female identity.”
Sommers asserts that Marshall and her colleagues are mistaken, gender roles are not a learned identity: 
“A recent special issue of Scientific American reviewed the growing evidence that children’s play preferences are, in large part, hormonally determined. Doreen Kimura, psychologist at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, writes, ‘We know, for instance, from observation of both humans and nonhumans that males are more aggressive than females, that young males engage in more rough-and-tumble play, and that females are more nurturing. . . . How do these and other sex differences come about? . . . . It appears that perhaps the most important factor in the differentiation of males and females is the level of exposure to various sex hormones early in life.'”
Resocialization of our young men has already begun. Students across our nation are forced to embrace opposite gender roles and are reprimanded if they embrace typical male preferences. Sommers gives the following example:
“The pressure for social egalitarianism are unremitting and take various forms. Alex Longo, a second-grade boy in East Windsor, new Jersey, was not allowed to  pass out invitations to his birthday party; he had invited only boys, and his teacher and school principal deemed this sexist and discriminatory. Alex still does not understand his offense. Incidents such as this rarely become publie, but in this case the father complained, and the story got into the press. When reporters asked the little boy how he felt about the episode, he said, ‘I went in the cloak closet and cried. I felt really bad.'”
Professors at some of our most prominent universities are heading-up the cause to re-educate boys, freeing them of gender stereotypes: 
“Shaping the gender identities of schoolchildren is a heady enterprise. And it is inspired and informed by the ideas of gender experts in some of our great universities. Preeminent among these is Carol Gilligan and colleagues at Harvard Graduate School of Education. They see themselves as participating in a profound revolution that will change the way society constructs young males. Once boys are freed of oppressive gender roles, they foresee a change in boys’ play preferences.”
In closing, I would like to challenge the idea that being “male” is bad. I believe, the problem does not stem from male gender roles and will never be solved by female gender roles. The root of the problem is human nature. We need to teach our children the difference between right and wrong, to pursue love and kindness, and to always treat others with respect. Boys need to be taught how to be gentleMEN, not how to be women. 

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