Not really smack her. Or, at least, not much. Lover, not fighter, and all that.
But I did get a bit hot under the collar when my 14-year old son came home with this story.
His science teacher, Mrs. W. is a staunch feminist. Which is fine. I’m all about empowering women.
Unless it’s on the backs of men. Or, in this case, 14-year old boys.
Are Girls More Creative and Hard-Working?
Situation is a group project, Jake’s assigned group consists of him and three girls. Their mission is to build a cardboard house and design the electrical lay-out for it. Great project. I love when they do hands-on stuff.
When the group is finished, Mrs. W., pleased with their results, remarks to Jake, “See, in high school, remember to work with girls because they’re creative and they get their work done.”
Um. Generalize much? I mean, really? Really? You’re going to pull that kind of sexist crap with my kid.
Can you imagine if this were the reverse? A guy teacher telling a girl how much better boys are at projects. Yeah, not so much.
Look, I’m not a helicopter parent. After five kids, you learn to let the little stuff go. In the big scheme of life, this is nothing. Jake doesn’t lack confidence, and he has a strong sense of who he is, his strengths and weaknesses.
Is It Okay to Experiment with Kids?
But on a larger scale, I do wonder about how we’re raising our boys. We’ve actually engaged in an unprecedented social experiment where for the first time, boys are being trained mostly by women instead of by men, as has been traditionally done.
Think about it.
In the distant past, in tribal societies, boys were sent off with the men when they hit nine or ten-years old, sometimes younger. They learned traditionally male skills from men, and their masculinity was encouraged and molded. In the more recent past, education for boys was achieved through apprenticeships and learning from male role models.
It’s only since about the 1800’s that public schools were established. And toward the mid-1800’s that the balance shifted from the majority of teachers being male to most teachers being female.
It’s not like sexism in education is a new thing. I had two teachers, Mrs. P. and Mr. H., who were widely known for preferring boys. Boys could do no wrong in Mrs. P’s eyes, and Mr. H. spent a lot of time telling girls about the jobs they couldn’t do. One of my older sons had a teacher who absolutely despised boys. My guess is we all have a story like that.
Are Men Better Off Being Trained Exclusively by Women?
However, what I’m talking about is a bit different. We now have a whole system where one gender is taught almost exclusively by the opposite gender. I can’t think this social experiment is a good thing. How do men learn to be men when they’re taught almost exclusively by women?
My kid’s okay. He’s got three brothers, and a dad who spends a lot of time with him. There’s no shortage of testosterone in his life.
But not all, and probably not even most, boys have that kind of support system.
How does this type of comment affect them? How does it change and mold their masculinity? How does it make them view themselves?
It will take time to get all those answers.
In the meantime, though … Mrs. W., please keep your crappy social agenda out of my kid’s classroom. There’s simply no place for it there.