[In her previous article Lynn Oliver, a learning expert from Atlanta, Georgia has shown us how a differential treatment is leading to male children failing in all spheres of life that are leading to a male crisis. In this article, Lynn shows how this differential treatment is creating a sustained gender gap]
Why Boys Fail In Reading and Writing Skills
As for reading, we need high social vocabulary, much social interaction – experience with sentence structure and “lower average stress” to perform and enjoy the abstract skill of reading: decoding, visualizing, organizing, reaching into their social vocabulary/knowledge of words to learn new words in print, and enjoy the process. Boys are deprived in these areas due to much less care, verbal interaction, and much more aggressive treatment. As for writing, we also need much social vocabulary to understand, plan, and to put words into print. We also need lower average stress to create more ease of writing. The higher average stress creates significant higher tension, creates poor handwriting, early fatigue and kills their motivation to write, hence boys tend to write shorter sentences as they have less motivation.
I feel the shows of masculinity and misbehavior are pretty much copouts to both show separation from failure and also to generate small measures of love and honor from their peers. Their defensiveness from authority is really pretty straight forward, especially in lower socioeconomic areas where strength, power, and status hold very real currency in those areas. For those students, it is not just misbehavior but a real tug of war or fight for minimum feelings of self-worth from a continual fight they feel outside the classroom as well as inside.
The Suicide Menace
The suicide epidemic is the result of Males being deprived sufficiently from essential feelings of self-worth and so being denied love and honor from others. The more aggressive, less supportive treatment boys are given from an early age is creating much more failure and hopelessness in school, preventing many boys, later men from competing in the information age thus losing the means to secure legally, income, status, and power to earn love and honor from society. This creates more instances of aggressive, less respectful treatment, which slowly wears down their feelings of self-worth or desire to live right on to the point of suicide. I feel long before this point is reached, many more boys and men are already escaping in various harmful ways with video games and drug/alcohol abuse in an attempt to live despite the low feelings of self-worth they are feeling.
There is a wrinkle to this. There are a “very few boys” given more stable, correct support from some families which enable those boys to succeed in school. This enables those boys to do well and receive love and honor from others, which they must continually do to earn that love and honor. This then becomes a drug for those boys which drives them to continually achieve in different ways in school. Those very few boys will be driven to continue to achieve both in school and in society with much more success due to the drug of necessary achievement. However, the vast majority of boys do not receive that support and will not do well in school. Early on, they go into other areas to generate love and honor such as sports, military, other.
Sadly, indulgence pays in the information age, while less supportive, more aggressive treatment hurts development in the information age. As girls, we are treated much better and so enjoy much more hope and care from society.
Why Girls Win?
Since we as girls are given by differential treatment, much more continual, positive – mental, social/emotional support, verbal interaction from an early age onward, this creates quite the opposite outcome for girls when compared with the boys. We enjoy much more care and support from society, from infancy through adulthood and receive love and honor simply for being girls. This creates all of the good things. We enjoy lower average stress for more ease of learning. We enjoy much more freedom of expression from much protection that makes us look more unstable at times. Of course, we can also use that same tremendous freedom of expression to give verbal, silent abuse, and hollow kindness/patronization to our male peers with impunity, knowing we are protected. We enjoy much lower muscle tension for more ease and ability in handwriting and motivation to write. We enjoy much more positive, trust/communication from parents, teachers, peers, and more support for perceived weaknesses. We are reaping a bonanza in the information age.
The lower the socioeconomic bracket the much more amplified the differential treatment from infancy and more differentiated over time through adulthood. Now with girls and women taking over many areas of society, we are enjoying, even more, lavishing of love and honor from society, while the boys and men are now failing more so and are now given even more ridicule and abuse by society. Mind you, this is also now coming from many girls and women using our still very protected freedoms of expression and more so with false feelings of superiority.
No, Girls Don’t Appreciate Good Things
Sadly, this gross indulgence we experience each and every day has left many girls and women so saturated from indulgence, they are not able to appreciate many goodness and kindness which are given to them each day. Figuratively the goodness given, sails inside one very indulged ear and out the other very indulged ear with no appreciation. Even sadder, is their ability to truly feel is removed and all that is left is a very hollow, formalistic personality. The only real substance is when they are voicing some immediate feeling of irritation they are feeling at the moment, which goes against their usual state of indulgence. This collective indulgence for many girls and women has created a kind of social deafness for others especially for those who face more confrontations. What is worse, the modeling of a much aggressive posture by parents, teachers, peers, and the media have created a growing institutionalized acceptance of feelings of superiority and many vocalizations of more patronization/condescending speech toward boys and men today.
As for girls, there is a wrinkle, too. We are given love and honor simply for being girls. This allows us to choose less than top planes of success and still find wonderful planes of inner security. We are not as driven. However, as the middle class continues to drop, there will be fewer boys able to receive the bare adequate support to be successful academically. Also, more girls will begin “choosing to go into those higher fields by choice”. This will slowly allow women to begin taking over those higher fields just as they have already taken over the other fields.
The Existing Belief System
The belief boys should be strong is still here and this improper treatment is causing many boys and men to greatly fall behind in society. The belief girls, later women should be protected, is allowing for much more proper treatment for girls and women. This much better treatment is creating many more successful girls and women. There is – “some connection” with the growth of feminism and its effects on Male achievement and esteem.
The belief boys should be strong as this article shows, is already creating much lower real esteem and lower feelings of self-worth for boys and men.
For boys/men there is now a much lower feeling of self-worth and lower esteem along with much more wariness for future failure. This has made boys and men extremely more sensitive to any further derision from others for any more failures. This also enhances their sensitivity to more derision from girls and women which is already acutely high due to our very collective, more open, and yes more freely institutionalized, accepted, abrasive speech and who are now in greater numbers surging ahead of our male peers.
Realizing One’s Potential
Yes, everyone, both girls and boys, along with men and women fully realize this in our lives today. This is already creating a subtle but outright aggressive, patronizing, and overall, less respect toward boys and men by parents, teachers, peers, female managers, and even the average female office workers or supermarket personnel in stores and offices.
When boys and men are then thrown into a position of expectancy of further abuse from more appearance of some weakness, especially among girls and women, this then signals to boys and men they will receive, if only from memories, additional derision and ridicule when appearing weak in some way. This shows just how those many layers of hurt, anger, fear, and preparation for defense have created many harsh values within boys and men, which only amplifies their sensitivities to other present or future hurts and abuses which only add to their already present layers of hurt. This then creates more defensiveness and more preparation for defense as society knows only to provide more ridicule and derision for boys and men who are failing.
A Competitive Bias
This alone will cause more boys and men “not to compete where girls and women are involved” so as to not receive the double threat of both failure and “in their minds” more enhanced ridicule and derision “yes more ridicule from girls” on top of their already numerous layers of hurt, especially when their esteem and feelings of self-worth are already critically low, to begin with. This is something boys, later men have much experience with from mothers, female teachers, girls, and women today. This is increasing due to both greater feelings of superiority by women and more accepted modeling from teachers, the media, and many other women they see in society today. This has sadly become very common among many girls and women today.
This is the only connection with feminism tending to add more hurt to boys and men. This very great differential treatment over time is creating an ever-increasing gulf in academic and information age achievement. This is also creating a growing gulf in understanding each other by gender. Our reactions from distrust, resentment, and fear of events and interactions between girls and boys; men and women; can become much worse, even more, hostile over time. We must look beyond the very simple expressions and interactions and see much more deeply into how our individual environments, differential treatment, and the information age could create more devastating problems in the future for boys and girls, and later for men and women. With increasingly, more boys and men losing their feelings of self-worth on top of the already present abuse they are receiving, this could bring about more open verbal and physical abuse from both sides, with the two groups becoming even more distant and hateful toward each other in the future.
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 is her learning theory based on her professional experience.