Tag Archives: boys

Throwing like a Girl? The Case for Gender Similarity in Sports

12 May

Source: Nathan Rupert (SD) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Finally, it’s almost summer. And as the weather gets better, more and more social life in my neighborhood shifts outside to the street. As I was sitting at my desk the other day, I noticed two kids playing in the street, a boy of maybe 10 years and a girl, maybe 8. The boy was practicing his basketball skills, dribbling the ball between his legs, moving backwards, sidewards, spinning around, all while keeping perfect control over the ball. The girl on the other hand was listening to music and practicing dance moves from the latest music video (needless to say, both kids were far more skillful in their respective activity than I ever will be). Then something interesting happened: The kids started teaching each other their respective activities. And while the boy did quite a good job of learning the girl’s dance moves, the girl struggled when it came to dribbling the basketball: Whereas before as she was dancing, she was able to move extremely smoothly and elegantly, now her body became stiff. Her eyes fixated on the ball so as not to lose control, her upper body moved up and down parallel to her hand awkwardly and in a very choppy way; and she kept losing the ball repeatedly after every dozen or so dribbles. Is this little anecdote proof then that girls are just naturally less adept at ball games than boys [spoiler alert: it’s not]?

Continue reading

Advertisements

Obama’s Initiative for Young Men of Color & the Rhetoric of Individual Responsibility

26 Mar

[By Pete Souza (White House Flickr Account) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

A few weeks ago, President Obama announced a new initiative designed to increase opportunities for young Black and Latino men. Acknowledging that Black and Latino men lag behind other groups in educational achievement and employment, while outnumbering white men in jails and prisons, at first glance, the President’s “My Brother’s Keeper” campaign seems like a much needed and timely project. However, when examining Obama’s rhetoric more closely, the initiative falls short of addressing the root causes and structural reasons for racial disparities in the US and instead perpetuates a neoliberal language of individual responsibility.

Continue reading

Talking Masculinity on International Men’s Day

20 Nov
Symbol for International Men's Day  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Symbol for International Men’s Day (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday, November 19th, was International Men’s Day.  Michael Kaufman and Gary Barker already wrote a terrific piece for the Huffington Post on what makes this particular day problematic and why we should, instead, use all the days of the year to talk about and support gender equality.  According to Kaufman and Barker, “why do we need an International Men’s Day when we’ve already got the whole year.”  Point well taken.  For the same reasons that we don’t need a “White History Month” we don’t need a Men’s Day.  But, what if, in the spirit of International Men’s Day, we took a day to talk about the ways in which many formations of masculinity are harmful to both men and women and what we can do about it? Continue reading

Want to Help Marginalized Students Improve in Schools? Stop “Stop and Frisk” (and other punitive practices, too).

4 Nov

Protest against police brutality

Source: Fibonacci Blue (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a previous ruling that had determined that New York City’s controversial “Stop and Frisk” practice constituted a civil rights violation, thereby placing any reforms (or the outright abolition of “Stop and Frisk”) on hold. In addition to being a highly ineffective police strategy, extremely questionable from a civil liberties perspective and undeniably a case of racial profiling, this policy might also impact marginalized students’ educational outcomes. Sociological research suggests that the interplay between constructions of masculinity and punitive criminal justice (and school) policies ends up harming marginalized boys’ educational prospects and channels them into crime – and ultimately the criminal justice system.

Continue reading

How not to talk about Gender and Education – Is the ‘Boys Crisis’ in Education a Reality?

29 Oct

By Unknown, not credited [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

In her latest piece for the Atlantic, Christina Hoff Sommers – author of “The War against Boys” – continues to make the case that boys are losing out in education, are being disadvantaged by schools that supposedly cater exclusively to girls and are thus in need of remedial help in order to catch up to girls educationally. Arguments like hers are still going strong in public discourse, although a vast amount of research has shown the situation to be much more complicated than she makes it sound. Instead of falling back to anti-feminist and gender-reinforcing ‘solutions’ – such as those proposed by Christina Hoff Sommers and others – an intersectional feminist analysis of gender and education is much more useful in accounting for the inequities in educational outcomes between different groups of students.

[This article first appeared at SociologyLens]

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: