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Boys are Not Girls and Women are Not Men

No Matter How Hard We Try

Photo by Jon Tyson / Unsplash

Boys will be Girls

In hindsight, my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Taylor (not her real name) was one of the best teachers I ever had. With a paltry Catholic school salary as her reward, she put in what must have been hours of her own time to make class fun and educational, and she succeeded for the most part and was well-liked by the students and staff.

Mrs. Taylor had one flaw, however, at least in the minds of us boys. She clearly favored the girls in her classroom.

But why shouldn’t she have favored the girls? They were nice and well-behaved. As for the boys, we would get in ad hominem-filled arguments over football teams.

Much as Mrs. Taylor tried to understand us, she only had sisters growing up and she had no sons of her own.

This is evident as I look back. She was one of the few teachers I ever got in much trouble with. One time, it was for being too competitive with another student in the classroom. Another, and more memorably, I and my friends were playing an aggressive game of keep-away which included punching arms, and we were taken to the principal’s office.

“Slugging each other in the arm???” she said with disbelief in the latter case. It was a mutual misunderstanding: she could not understand why we would do such a thing and we could not understand what we did wrong.

My wife (not her real name) is an elementary school teacher. Witnessing the restlessness in her classroom, she introduced arm wrestling as a safe channel for her boys’ competitiveness and aggression. That is, until another teacher saw it, scolded the students, and banned it.

And we wonder why boys struggle in school.

We make them sit for hours in a classroom, five days a week, listening. This is difficult even for the most respectful boys and torturous to the others.

We expect thousands of years of hunter-warrior genetics to be quelled for the (oh-so) warrior-like multiplication tables.

We want them to wait for “their turn” to talk, absorb what they are taught, and take an interest in a discussion without any sort of environmental interaction.

We expect this restraint even during recess, where their competitive natures continue to be discouraged. I have heard cases where schools did not allow their kids to keep score in games. My former school banned “tag” because someone got hurt playing it.

Boys are just supposed to fit into environments that would be foreign to their grandfathers.

In short, we expect boys to be girls.

It is true that there are girls who struggle in school and boys who thrive in it. There are girls who display more masculine traits and boys more feminine.

But that does not make either of them less of a boy or less of a girl.

When my sister was given a lunch detention, she walked into a room of all boys. One of them saw her and asked the teacher in amazement, “What the h*** is she doing here?” I doubt I would have caused the same reaction if I were sent in her place.

And once the school system has had fourteen years to numb boys with banal lectures and ADHD medication while constantly affirming girls’ non-restless and agreeable attitudes, we ship them to college or the working world . . . rudderless.

Women Will be Men

In grade school, students are taught that girls can do anything boys can. In college, students are taught that women can do anything that men do.

It's absurd. Exhibit A: The WNBA.

Everyone knows it's absurd. That's why it's relentlessly shoved down our throats. Exhibit B: The WNBA.

But one of the most nefarious aspects of a culture of feminism is not only the idea that women can do anything men can do, but that they should do everything that men do. Exhibit C: The WNBA.

The desire to be a wife and mother is frowned upon. After we got engaged, she was asked why she was ruining her life.

It has been shown repeatedly that males typically enjoy objects and females enjoy people, yet there’s this insistence that women must make up 50 percent of STEM.

Look at female-led action movies. The women sas everyone, are portrayed as more competent than male oafs, drink like frat boys, and sleep with muscular men with sharp jawlines. (Exhibit D: She-Hulk, which is the film version of a WNBA "power" forward.)

How many women actually want this? Judging by Disney’s plummeting stock with their constant female-led failures, not many.

But we’re going to try anyway to make women what they are not: men.

For a culture that preaches self-acceptance, we have lost an appreciation for the mystery of the other.

The truth is, I will never know what it is like to be a woman and women will never know what it is like to be a man.

Accept Reality

I’ve heard people connect the phrase “Let boys be boys” to “rape culture.”

Dear me! I just want boys to be able to play with toy guns and roughhouse, even if they’re at school.

And I want women to be supported if they want to stay at home and be mothers.

This is not a novel idea. We've had enough novel ideas over the past 75 years.

We need to start embracing normal ones.