Boys Will Be Boys

July 26, 2000

The latest feminist debate has been about boys. Will boys be allowed to be boys? Or should they be trained to act more like girls?

That question is surfacing in many ways. Christina Hoff Sommers says in her new book The War Against Boys that "we are turning against boys." She argues that boys need guidance and discipline but that they donít need to be pathologized. The book provides lots of documentation of anti-male attitudes in the public schools.

At University High School in Pacific Heights, California, boys must sit quietly through a "Womanís Assembly," in which women are celebrated and men are blamed. Boys in one San Francisco class are taught to enjoy traditional female pursuits like quilting while listening to girls venting their anger at males.

In his book, The Decline of Males, anthropologist Lionel Tiger says women have taken charge of the public dialogue on gender and used it to their advantage. Through the 1990s there have been bogus reports of schools shortchanging girls when the reality is that boys are the ones in trouble.

Boys are more likely than girls to have problems with schoolwork, repeat a grade, get suspended, and develop learning difficulties. In some schools boys account for up to three fourths of special-education classes. And they are four to nine times more likely to be drugged with Ritalin.

The latest U.S. Department of Education report on educational equity documents that the so-called "girl crisis" doesnít really exist. Schools are not "failing at fairness" toward girls. But authors like Christina Hoff Sommers show that they may be failing when it comes to boys.

Boys are full of energy and often have difficulty sitting and listening. If the public schools today have a bias, it is toward girls not boys. And most of the latest books and studies provide ample documentation for that obvious fact.

Iím Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and thatís my opinion.