Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Gender Matters

by Dr. Leonard Sax

Grade: 3 stars

Thoughts: For the most part, this was excellent and informative. Many of the biological differences between boys and girls which result in behavioural differences have been observed by me many times. It's especially noticeable in a large family like mine, where all the boys and all the girls have some key similarities, despite the fact that some of the girls are more tomboy-ish and some of the boys are less stereotypically boyish. And because we were homeschooled, we had none of the peer pressure to be more feminine or masculine. I, for instance, had no qualms about going into computer science in university. I don't think I thought that it was a particularly male thing to do. It's just what I wanted to do.
Which is similar to an interesting point he made. Apparently in most school bands, the flute players tend to be girls and the trumpet players tend to be boys. Similarly with the lack of girls in physics, math, and computer science. But this lessens dramatically in non co-ed schools.

However, there were a couple oddities about this book, especially some instances where he stopped talking about the scientific evidence for gender differences, and instead talked about how to deal with people who don't follow the normal pattern. I'm specifically thinking about his bit on anomalous males here. He basically said you had to get rid of all their anomalous qualities, and force them to participate in organized sports. Which seems quite a stupid generalization to me, although it might be appropriate in a few cases. For some reason he didn't have the same issues with anomalous females, although he didn't really explain why.


Star said...

Sounds interesting.

Forcing all boys to play sports would be pretty ridiculous! Some of the smartest boys are not very athletic but brimming with other types of intelligence. For instance, one of my great grandfathers was a famous theologian and philosopher, loved to read, and was terrible at sports.
I'm surprised some would still think that kind of thing. It almost sounds like an outdated book in some ways? Is it an old book?

RED said...

2006, so not too old. Mostly it's pretty good, as I said, and actually rather forward thinking for our time (considering so many people don't even want to admit there's ANY difference between boys and girls). So yeah...I don't know what he was on about with that. It seemed rather stupid to me. And he didn't have the same problem with girls! Why's that??
I guess.. Well, from what I remember, he seemed mostly to be talking about the awful problems kids have in school. And anomalous girls don't have as many problems as anomalous boys. But I still don't think forcing boys to play organized sports is at all the way to go.

Anyway, if you're interested in reading it, there may be a different chapter you might want to skip. Just to warn you.