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Christina Hoff Sommers wrote in her book The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men that "it's a bad time to be a boy." Certainly, government curriculums in schools is misguided and flawed. You need not look any further than to the poor performance in education to know it. Boys and girls learn differently. But is there more to it than that? Are boys systematically being attacked? Are sexual politics trying to "feminize" boys? Has being a boy turned into a pathology to be eradicated? Should we be segregating children in school based on gender, and just let boys be boys? How can we help boys?


In fact, it's my view that boys have been disenfranchised from education…

By the time they reach 11 or 12, the idea that they aren't as good as girls has been reinforced - and the result is lack of confidence and, quite often, a retreat into bad behaviour...

But who is to blame for this? according to the research, the answer is female teachers.

Admittedly, it focuses on primary school children and 90 per cent of their teachers are female, but we do tend to castigate boys for being 'silly' and for not 'sitting nicely' like girls. We tell them off for wanting to play with inappropriate toys like guns, rather than showing them how to play responsibly in a boyish way.

Boys in their early teens like to run about and play-fight. On duty in the playground, I've often shouted at boys to 'Stop running!' Once - to my shame - I even yelled: 'Stop kicking that ball so hard. Can't you just throw it nicely?'

...And yet my gender cannot shoulder full responsibility - changes within society are the root cause. These days we live in a culture that is risk averse. I tell boys off for running because what if a running child trips and falls? I might have some questions to answer.

Spiralling numbers of children are being brought up without fathers. Without any positive male role models in their lives, it's no coincidence vast swathes of young men are unemployable. Thousands of boys leave education every year without a single qualification, content to spend their lives on benefits.

In 2009, 50 per cent of girls went into higher education; only 38 per cent of boys did.

But what worries me most is the recent suggestion that the medical condition attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an example of excitable behaviour typically associated with boys.

In a culture that no longer tolerates masculinity, excessive boyishness may have been turned into an illness. ADHD is diagnosed in nine times as many boys as girls, and there were 461,000 prescriptions written out for Ritalin, the drug used to treat it, in 2007.

There is no blood test for ADHD - it's diagnosed through a checklist of symptoms such as fidgeting, an inability to concentrate and running around...

Traditionally male characteristics such as strength, competitiveness and authority are invisible in modern children's literature because they are not valued in our society...

It's time to stop the senseless castigation and denigration of boys. Ultimately, it harms us all.

Why do women teachers like me treat being a boy as an illness?


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Sep 5, 2010 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=315

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