Amy March, Sister Bear, Lisa Simpson.....oh hell, just read

Over at Tenure, She Wrote today:

For although it is true that Amy is a bit of a conceited twit, I strongly object to the core messages in this little speech: don’t show off, even if that means no-one notices how awesome you are. It’s better to be overlooked than to be conceited.

Although I don’t remember Sister Bear being particularly braggy, a quick Google search turned up several hits for “Braggy Sister Bear,” including some actual pages of Berenstain Bear books.

As you may be aware, I have a nonzero number of mini-women in my household. As a parent who is around a fair number of both boys and girls in the elementary and secondary school ages I am constantly amazed. The level of organization, responsibility, on-task behavior....it is like they are different species. My wife or I remark to each other on at least a weekly basis "Why are men in charge again?"

The above mentioned blog entry may be relevant to the question so Go Read.

5 responses so far

  • zb says:

    Yes, that happens around our house, too. I have theories, first, that boys actually do grow up, and second that girls are particularly effective in situations where power is dispersed and not assigned. So, what we see on the playground, in group projects, in teams of children is that there is no assigned leader, so leadership has to be subtle enough that there is no rebellion and generous enough that there is buy-in. If power is assigned (lab head, "boss", etc.) these skills become less important.

    I fully expect to see more and more women in congress as time goes on (and, I believe, that's already true in other countries).

  • zb says:

    PS: And, of course, this is using broad stereotypes of gender, none of which can or should be applied in individual instances. I don't want to miss celebrating the team player/team leader boy when I see him. I think there might be one in my younger kids' class, a child who is known as being "a friend to everyone" and in a way that brings out the best in a group of boys who can be very competitive and aggressive.

  • Ola says:

    I guess it varies by geographic area, school district, parent "atuned-ness" (is that a real word?) As a parent of girls, I haven't seen any gender bias in the use of "shut up" and similar terms by teachers or anyone else. Maybe I'm just blind to this stuff, but I think if I saw someone calling out my kid in a non gender-neutral manner ("that's not very ladylike behavior" etc.) I'd be on them like a hawk.

    It seems this whole topic is a hangover from the "ban bossy" thing doing the rounds recently. Again, I've never seen that term used in a gender-biased way (if anything, it gets used far more against boys because they're the ones who are actually bossy most of the time).

    Wake me up when people (real ones with power, like teachers, mentors, parents, coaches) actually start using generic put-downs in a manner that specifically oppresses school-age girls. Not in HuffPo editorials, not on TV, or the internet, but in schools and other formative places in a child's life. I just don't see it happening. Maybe it really is geographical, and limited to the hyper-competitive tiger-mom cities in SoCal and the NE corridor? Here in the non-coastal small city non-reality-TV-obsessed world my family inhabits, this is a complete non-issue.

  • I'm not sure there is a real gender disparity in the whole "It is wrong to be proud for winning; be modest" meme. Just look at any awards ceremony. Nobody male or female says "Hell yeah, I deserved this!". Instead it is all this sickening false modesty bullshit "There are so many others who deserve this more", etc.

  • Jon C. Jensen says:

    @Ola: Wake up! As a math tutor at a two-year college in a largely "progressive" region I spend a lot of time doing damage control. It's not as blatant as "That's not ladylike", it's subtle and insidious.

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