delusions of gender

The so called ‘traditional wisdom’ has it that ‘little boys will be little boys’ and so by extension, ‘little girls will be little girls.’ How I have always resented, if not deeply hated the set of unjust assumptions and squirmed whenever such statements were uttered by folks who should know better… But, whatever little that I could do – either in my class or elsewhere –  and whenever I see a hint of this asinine stereotyping, I try my best to debunk it.

In fact, I would say with arrogant conviction that, the girls in my classes tend to eventually outshine, outsmart, outmaneuver and outclass the boys  – this would be in ALL subjects. It is also due to the fact that I intentionally demolish any signs of stupid attitudes like  – boys are good in math, they think – and girls are good in creative activities, they ‘feel’ etc.  I try to encourage the girls and the boys to think beyond stupidities such as ‘pink is for girls.’ (I am not saying that boys are generally less endowed, though that would be tempting for me! In any case, I feel that the boys receive too much of unjust ‘gender biased’ encouragement from their parents than what a few inches extra that they have on them would demand and merit.)

Again, I keep pointing to the anomaly that in our particular cases of mammals, we seem to be having far too many males than needed. May be emperor penguins also have this almost 1:1 mapping. In any case, there are NOT too many of such species.

Anyway, at the possibility of a guy sounding like one going for gender cleansing (actively advocating lesser number of (lesser)men and (lesser)boys than what they are at present) – I would just point out the one question that every self respecting boy and girl should think about and reflect on:

In the case of mammals like us, what can the Female gender cannot do that can be done by a Male gender form? Primarily it would be only about fertilization. I think, this one difference does not merit any major inherent difference in capacity – intellectual or practical. On the contrary, what are the things that males cannot do, that only females can do. That list is endless!

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about recommending a book: Thanks to Sowmya, I chanced upon this excellent , erudite and passionate book. I strongly recommend ‘Delusions of Gender’ by Cordelia Fine.

Grand Dame Fine systematically demolishes the myths regarding a host of stupid assumptions masquerading as ‘sceintific wisdom borne of indisputable proofs’ – especially about brain related mythologies – that females are differently wired. That they have different capabilities. That they can NOT do certain things – etc etc. Bah!

It is good to read a book, that confirms one’s convictions – peppered with acidic sarcasm and wit.

Thanks Cordelia, for this fine book.

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