Had a very interesting conversation with a friend earlier who stated that the different choices boys and girls make as children, but even as adults, are predominantly as a result of Social Influence or even Engineering.
While this is a very popular thesis in modern Academia and particularly with certain political leanings, the evidence actually points more to genetics than Social Engineering.
Meaning boys, without the influence of their environment, TEND (key word) to play with “boys toys” and girls TEND (key word) to play with “girls toys”.
The paper, which I’ve linked below, highlights that both Genetics AND social influences play a part, but it definitely sticks a thorn in the side of those who believe that gender roles are socially engineered. Socially influenced is acknowledged – but generally speaking the genetic differences are down played – and according to this extract and summary;
“Despite methodological variation in the choice and number of toys offered, context of testing, and age of child, the consistency in finding sex differences in children’s preferences for toys typed to their own gender indicates the strength of this phenomenon and the likelihood that has a biological origin.”
The paper – which is a study of several thousand other studies concluded the above statement along with;
“Gender differences in toy choice exist and appear to be the product of both innate and social forces.”
Meaning that those who argue nature, can’t deny nurture, but more importantly those who argue nurture, can’t deny nature.
This, rather interestingly, lead me to wonder why it is that anecdotally, I’ve noticed that boys tend to not only develop academically later in school, but also struggle with traditional classroom based, learning environments.
It’s confused me because for generations, boys (due to social factors and often having better access to education than girls – especially in later teenage years) tended to study well into their twenties and achieve such great academic successes, compared to girls who were often robbed of a further education rather steered into courtship and bearing children – much to the detriment of society’s development!!
This begs the question, why now, that we have better equality than ever (please feel free to dispute me on this) are boys, specifically those aged between Early Years and Secondary School, experiencing specific reductions in academic achievements; and not only scoring worse on academic tests – but why is this trend accelerating?
In a word;
Why are boys’ scores in Academic tests getting progressively worse, and why are girls’ scores getting progressively better?
My assumption, based on evidence which I’m happy to provide, is that up until the last 20 years or so, children were given more free time to play under their own direction.
ALL children, both genders were ushered out to “go outside and play”.
Even in the playground, with one or two teachers supervising maybe 100 children, boys and girls were allowed to let loose and with the occasional separation of the odd fist fight (even split dare I suggest between boys and girls) – kids were left to their own devices.
Enter into the age of Health and Safety, computer games, television, media scares and whatever else has changed since Victorian times it is now either more dangerous for children or to equal effect, perceived as more dangerous for children to be allowed to simply go off and play on their own.
Children are now more controlled, more restricted and learning environments have reflected this.
“No running in the playground”
“No balls in the playground”
Now in essence you would assume this would apply equally to boys and girls right?
But any person knows – if you look in any playground – MOST, (key word) of the boys, TEND to be the ones wanting to play the more violent or “boisterous” games – clue is in the name here guys, and MOST girls, TEND to be the ones happy to simply run and play WITHOUT the now banned elements.
Let me explain this with a simple real life example.
Boys and girls played bulldog.
Boys and girls got injured.
Boys and girls took and gave heavy tackles.
Boys and girls both got into it.
But I would expect – MOST of the heavier, harder, more aggressive, more boisterous tackles were offered by the boys.
Now does this mean girls can’t tackle? Girls didn’t get hurt? Girls didn’t win?
No – of course not; it simply means at the extremes, boys TEND to be more boisterous!
And boisterousness is being discouraged by our schools.
This is no secret.
The effects of the extremes of gender aren’t a secret.
The prison system, violent crimes, physical social attacks, front-line soldiers, dangerous jobs, adrenaline junkies, etc etc – are all dominated by Men.
Does this mean women don’t go to prison, don’t commit violent crime, don’t attack people in public, don’t do dangerous jobs, aren’t adrenaline junkies??
NO! Of course women do these things.
But more men, do them, more of the time. And it’s because of Genetic differences that are instilled from birth – as per choosing “boys toys” over “girls toys”.
And the differences are demonstrated MORE in countries where the gender neutrality index is higher (i.e. Sweden and other Scandinavian countries alike) – indicating even more so that gender roles are genetically influenced as well as socially influenced.
To conclude, if you want boys to achieve better test scores in school, allow them access to boisterous activities, similarly to how school children would’ve played in yesteryear, so that when they’ve expelled all of the hormonal cues for boisterous behaviour, they won’t be tempted to misbehave or be frustrated by monitoring one’s actions and not able to concentrate as well in classes.
Let boys be boys again.