Long before we begin thinking about boy/girl brains and role models, we need to first think in more complex ways about the very real differential treatment of boys and girls from infancy. We are missing out really big in two ways. We must see how our genetics models have become too rigid in terms of learning and ability and we must learn to see our average stress in a very “new way”, one that is made up of “many maintained layers of mental work”, which accumulate, taking away real mental energy from thinking, learning, motivation, reducing reflection time, and hurting mental/emotional health. By seeing average stress in this way, we can then see much better how the very real differential treatment boys receive from infancy, greatly affects thinking, learning, motivation and mental health. Only then we can perceive how this problem increases greatly as we move down the socioeconomic ladder. This differential treatment is also causing middle-class boys to fall behind their female peers collectively.
How Society Forces Males to Lose Their Potential
We must understand the old belief “boys/men should be strong” and very aggressive, less supportive treatment by society including parents and teachers is causing us to lose Male potential, ability, and productivity in the information age. We are losing generations of Male potential and creating much more violence, even more fatalistic violence today. This will grow out of control unless we take immediate action by providing the same, kind, stable, *verbal interaction, and mental/emotional support we as girls are receiving from infancy through adulthood. We must end this differential treatment in the information age if we wish for boys and men to compete equally with girls and women.
The Male Crisis is growing due to much differential treatment from infancy. We need to remove our genetic models and see how differential treatment from infancy is creating the Male Crisis. The genetics models greatly favor individuals in higher socioeconomic environments, who then falsely justify the plight of less affluent persons not as intelligent or simply not working hard enough. They do not say how Female students in their areas are doing better collectively than their Male peers from their same socioeconomic environments. The myth of genetics and sheer effort is greatly hurting students in lower socioeconomic areas who have also been told the myth of genetics and hard work. They are totally ignoring how individual environments greatly affect their thinking, learning, motivation, reflection time, and their mental health.
A New Way to Look at The Average Stress
I have developed a learning theory that sees average stress in a much more comprehensive way. This shows our average stress as made up of many maintained, unresolved layers of past, present, future – experiences, circumstances, needs, fears, preparation for defense, along with many weights and values we have developed over time that may act as magnets for other accumulating layers of mental work or conflicts over time. This shows stress as more complex and is maintained by our minds as many unresolved mental conflicts. Each of those layers takes up real mental energy, which leaves us with less mental energy for thinking, learning, motivation, shortens our reflection time and hurts our mental health.
This shows us just how our individual environments and differential treatment, “not genetics”, greatly affect our abilities over time. This begins in infancy. I have developed a learning theory, which provides children and adults with tools to continually change and improve their lives over time. Without such tools, it requires long-term stability and a nurturing of knowledge and skills to be successful. Higher average layers and much less support create a much harder road to travel. My theory helps to understand and more permanently reduce those layers of mental work to make it easier to think, learn, and extend reflection time (higher average stress shortens reflection time).
Various Differential Treatments to Boys
The Male Crisis has not been looked at in terms of much differential treatment, which increases greatly as we go down the socioeconomic ladder and more time in those environments. If we look in different socioeconomic areas we cannot help but see how the numbers of Male problems diminish greatly as we go up the socioeconomic ladder. Even in higher socioeconomic areas, those Male students are also falling behind their Female peers. As we go down the socioeconomic ladder, the number of Males failing and turning to many harmful escapes greatly increases. We need to look at much differential treatment of boys and girls beginning from infancy through adulthood. It is amazing to me that such differential treatment has not been looked at by the researchers. I imagine there are two reasons:
- The false belief in genetics has blinded the researchers to the great social, environmental causes of learning and motivation in academics.
- There is the present, very improper view of average stress, which sees stress only as occurring from some immediate situation, event, or work. We need to see how our average stress is made up of many layers of past, present, future layers. We can see this by drawing an upright rectangle representing our full mental energy, then drawing in from the bottom and upward, many innumerable, layers of unresolved mental work, all of us are acclimated to – to some degree – and also places all of us at some environmental disadvantage from others. So, all of us suffer from some amount or layers of maintained, unresolved mental work, which limits our leftover mental energy for thinking, learning, reflection time, and mental health.
As we can see the problem involving differential treatment and learning is much more complex than school curriculum or boy chemistry. We need to stop looking at where boys are in life, character, and behavior and begin seeing how boys are treated, very differently from us as girls, from infancy by parents, teachers, peers, and society all to make them tough. This is creating the activity, less maturity, more learning problems, and more fear and dislike for authority figures.
The belief, boys should be strong allows more aggressive treatment as early as one year of age, designed to create more layers of anger, fear, and tension, so they will be prepared to fight, defend, and be tough. This is coupled with “much less” kind, stable, (very little kind of verbal interaction) and much less mental/emotional support, knowledge, and skills for fear of coddling. It is this more aggressive, less supportive treatment, which creates the toughness or extra maintained layers of average stress: anger, fear, preparation for defence, anxiety, etc. These layers remain in the mind and take away real mental energy from academics so those boys will have to work two or three times as hard to receive the same mental reward for mental work expended.
The result of the Differential Treatment
This more aggressive, less supportive treatment along with less verbal interaction creates more social/emotional distance/distrust of others – parents, teachers, peers, and others in society. It creates lags in social vocabulary, less knowledge of syntax and other communication we as girls are given on a more continuous basis. It creates higher average stress, which creates more activity for stress relief (not genetics but environmentally created). The higher average stress also creates higher muscle tension, which hurts handwriting: more pressure on the pencil and a much tighter grip, hurting handwriting and motivation (too much pressure tighter grip causing early fatigue).
The total effect including less care and support creates much more failure and a feeling of hopelessness, especially with our false genetic models firmly in place. Also, to make it even tougher for boys is the granting of love and honor (feelings of self-worth) only on condition of achievement, status, or image. This was designed to keep Male esteem and feelings of self-worth low to keep them striving and even be willing to give their lives in war for small measures of love and honor from society. Males not achieving in school or other areas are given more ridicule and discipline to make them try harder. Support is not given boys for fear of coddling and false genetics models. Many boys (as you would expect) thus falling behind in school then turn their attention to sports and video games to gleam small measures of love and honor not received in the classroom. The belief boys should be strong and the false belief in genetics creates a blatant mental denial of the differential treatment, which is creating the lower academics, low esteem, and other problems many boys are facing today. So strong is the belief that there is an almost emotional cannibalism allowed upon boys and men who appear weak in some way by society: parents, teachers, others, even from many girls and women, especially in the media.
Note, this is not about showing feelings or openness from boys and men, it is about support, care, and respect for boys even when appearing weak in some way. Remember aggressive treatment is increased for any sign of weakness and the much wariness boys feel for parents and teachers who feel it necessary and more freely allowed to use more aggressiveness for any sign of weakness or vulnerability. This is condoned by many in the society today.
-By Lynn Oliver
About the Author
Lynn Oliver is a learning expert and is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in Education. She taught part-time for many years while caring for her family. From her college years, she has maintained her desire to provide tools for change and improvement for all students and adults. She is now retired from teaching but has maintained a very passionate desire to have her learning theory and its evolving applications accepted by educators and used in school as a method for the long-term need for everyone.
This women’s article is feminist non-sense wrapped in emotional color paper of showing care for boys’ issues. Complete Bull Crap… Like harder grip due to stress…
Partha, I guess you missed woods for the trees…
You need to prove your point with any research or knowledge that you have. Simply saying something is bullcrap, doesn’t make it any worse.
Hi, I completely agree with you. One needs to prove one’s point. In my case I wouldn’t need an entire 2 or 3 page article o prove my point. But before I try proving my point, I would urge you to apply the same standards to her article. She hasn’t proved anything that favors her new hypothesis or theory, while she repeats herself in a sort of tirade against something g she calls genetic theory, where as what she is referring to is evolutionary psychology and brain chemistry based proven stuff.
Now, look at how she talks about, social victim classes, and we all are victims of layered average stress levels. What do you expect ?? Does she expects that a child born in this world can be raised without any kind of stress ?? She talks about average levels of higher stress in boys impacting their grip affecting their handwriting… And in all these she keeps on denying difference in biology affecting brain wiring of boys and girls. She is also promoting “Nurture is the only differentiating factor” kind of theory, which straight away comes from discrimination and societal pressure based victim-oppressor class dividing ideology that is at the core of feminism and marxist-leftist worldview.
And in all that she wants to create a new victim class, that is boys & men.
I don’t understand this obsession of leftist and neo-marxist, post-modernist thinkers in creating a world that is completely equal and free of stress of any kind, yet while they cry hoarse about diversity and inclusion.
Hope now you would now consider my initial assessment of her article as a Bull Crap, repackaged feminism in new light.
Her point of refuting biology was restricted to treating boys as stronger gender and hence creating all other related discrimination around that. That adds to cruelty and hence mental stress. We can’t forget that this is an article on mental health and not physical health. Hence her refuting the biological model was to the perception that boys being stronger (physically) are forced to undergo mental trauma and hence perform badly. So, boys are given additional stress in any sociological strata and hence they can’t focus on academics and are always distracted. Hope I could make sense.
Thanks for the reply. See she wrote an article on mental health or not is not the point here. I understand that, over simplified models at understanding something as complex as Human biology or mind is not helpful, but sane us the case with over-complicated model. In her article she starts with the premise that boy brain or genetics model what she calls evolutionary psychology and brain function tested model as simplistic and urges to make the Model more complex. Then she offers a model of her own based just on some ideological and dogmatic notion that from infancy boys are given more stress by society. Then she looks at that in isolation and claims that it explains better the discrimination or rather the lower academic performance of boys and uses that as base to explain a lot of other stuff, like class divide, etc. Isn’t she over simplifying here and trying to wish away the evidences from biology that boys and girls are simply different.
She wanted ger model to be looked at as well as the other models (at least at the start of the article) and then slowly turn it 180 degree to refute other models without any shred if evidence. By the look of it I guess, it is some sort of popular science article kind of writing. May be she has written a detailed peer reviewed paper. I am not aware off. But her article here is driving feminist agenda for sure.
Don’t you think stressing on discrimination for almost everything and suggesting that practices of raising a boy and girl differently creates stress that forces poor academic performance reeks of equality of outcome brigade thinking ?? Why in the world world one has to bring in equality of outcome as the ultimate sacred goal for humanity to continuously stress ourselves for and for that sacrifice at the altar differences in individuals or sexes ??
Why is academic performance so important ?? If it is considered so important, why is that, the fact that almost all female teaching staff, and non-existing male role models are feminizing academia is not brought to light ?? Why fingers are not pointed towards women who are bringing up the next and next to next generation all by themselves because they are excluding makes from society by all means possible due to their hypergamy induced behaviour ?? Why is strength (physical or otherwise) of men deemed indicative and predictive of poor academic performance when independently and unbiased testing system shows that boys perform equally or better at 5 out of 6 domains compared to girls, except language skills ??
There are many such questions. But I would wish to digress. I didn’t intend to question her article. I read it in this blog, thinking that this is your article. But only after reading it fully I could confirm my suspicion that it was not written by you. So I started thinking that you might have missed seeing the slow and steady push of the feminist agenda in her article. And as I was hard pressed on time I wrote few sentence cautionary note.
Hope you understand. See I have given up dwelling in the acadeMic world long back. But if it is absolutely must I can go back into it, as I love the way academic mind work and would debate at length. Still, as I see the world through as many lenses possible while trying to keep myself practically happy, I wouldn’t debate further.
Apologies for asking uncomfortable questions to try and throw some light of my own on something that was not written by you. We both can and probably should agree to disagree.
Thank you for the detailed observation and yes she has a detailed paper that will be published here as a series.
I understand the evolutionary psychology is complex but your concern about ‘equality of outcome’ is not valid here. That is because she is not trying to bring random reservation or other feminist methods to achieve that. She is talking about ensuring equality of opportunity to ensure that. Contrary to popular feminist theories on ‘equality of opportunity’ to show how deprived females are in terms of ‘opportunity’ she puts it on another lens to show that in reality males are at disadvantage.
We also need to look at this issue of less average concentration of males wrt changing social norms. As she mentioned that in present information age the qualities required to succeed are different from erstwhile traditional society. The crux of this article is boys need to undergo more stress in different ways and hence has considerably less time and energy to indulge in activities to excel.
BTW..I like uncomfortable questions as those challenge me to learn new things and stretch my qualities. Please keep these coming.
The biggest issue that affects boys with learning, is that they’re often brought up with less personal independence here in India, and culturally have more things done from them at home as compared to the average girl. Families also expect less of them when help is needed around the house. Not always, because there are lots of exceptions.
But I’d say this is true for most Indian families. Of course, now that the girl child is starting to be valued, I see some families bringing their girls up this way too.