The War Against Boys: Chapter 3: Guys and Dolls (Part II, page 86-99)

September 21, 2010 | NeW Staff

The second half of Chapter 3, focuses on the fact that boys and girls are hardwired differently. In contrast to the facts, many feminists insist that society is to blame for the the male/female differences, they believe we are born ‘bisexual’:

“The feminist philosopher Sandra Lee Bartky speaks of many gender scholars when she says that human beings are born ‘bisexual’ into our patriarchal society and then, through social conditioning, are ‘transformed into male and female gender personalities, the one destined to command, the other to obey.'”
Sommers strongly disagrees with Ms. Bartky, according to research and factual studies boys and girls are different:
“This doctrine does not stand up well under critical scrutiny. A growing body of empirical data that is rarely if ever mentioned in the gender-equity training seminars strongly supports the experience of parents and the wisdom of the ages: that many basic male-female differences are innate, hardwired, and not the result of conditioning. In the past few years, there have been important developments in neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, genetics, and neuroendocrinology that all but refute the social constructionist thesis and point to certain inborn gender differences.”
Sommers goes on to point out if gender differences were merely social constructs then there would be other cultures where typical male/female roles were flip-flopped:
“If all gender differences were culturally determined, you would expect to find some societies where females are the risk takers and males play with dolls. There would be societies in which females, on average, would do better in math and young males would be more verbally adept than females. But where are they? The social constructionists have no plausible explanation for the distinctive gender differences in special aptitudes and characteristic behaviors that are grounded in biology, endrocrinology, and evolutionary psychology. Quite apart from the sexual difference in reproductive functions, men and women are innately distinguished in ‘gender.’ Mother Nature is not a feminist.”
Chapter 3 closes with a serious reflection on ‘How Did We Get Here?”:
“How did the legitimate cause of achieving educational equity in our schools get transformed into a mission to feminize boys? There was more than one step. But it all began with the assumption that our ‘patriarchal’ society conspires to favor boys and to keep girls down by depleting them of their self-confidence. If we had to choose one person most responsible for promoting the idea that our culture is targeting girls for second-class citizenship, that person would be Carol Gilligan, professor of gender studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Gilligan is the theorist who, almost single-handedly, initiated the fashion of thinking about American girls as victimized, silenced Ophelias. Her views on male and female development are beacons for gender-equity activists and teachers everywhere. She, more than anyone else, has inspired and given intellectual respectability to reformers’ efforts to reconstruct children’s gender identities. it is impossible to understand the war against boys without considering Gilligan’s unique role.”
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