T Nation

Women and the School System


#1

http://takimag.com/article/notes_on_the_pussification_of_america_fred_reed#axzz2kdYpoy8j

An excerpt from the article below:

"women are making school hell for boys, that they have turned normal boyish behavior such as enjoyment of roughhousing into psychiatric â??personality disorders.â?? They are doping boys up, forcing them into behavior utterly alien to them, and sending them to psychiatrists if they donâ??t conform to standards of behavior suited to girls. The result is that boy children hate school and do poorly (despite, as Gnaulati, says, having higher IQs). This is no secret for anyone paying attention, but Gnaulati makes it explicit.

â??Women should not be allowed within fifty feet of a school where boys are taught.â??

As a galling example he cites one Robert, an adolescent responding badly to classes and therefore suspected by his teacher of having a â??personality disorder.â?? From the book:

She required all forty students in the class to design Valentineâ??s Day cards for each other. She was emphatic about wanting them personalized. Names had to be spelled correctly and compliments written up genuinely."

Agree or disagree? Thoughts?


#2

I worked in schools and 100% agree. Women are ruining education. I didn’t read the link so I can’t say whether or not I agree with his reasons but women are screwing things up. But it’s because there are fewer men involved to balance things out. So it’s not that women are the problem. It’s the lack of men that’s the problem.

My daughter is reading The Hunger Games. I asked her where she got it from and she said her teacher gave it to her to read. I know of a teacher that assigned Twilight to her kids. WTF? What happened to Mark Twain? Homer? So what happens is at home I have to force my kid to read stuff that isn’t crap.


#3

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
So it’s not that women are the problem. It’s the lack of men that’s the problem. [/quote]

I’d say it’s both. Women are great at handling their own sex, but terrible at handling males.

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
My daughter is reading The Hunger Games. I asked her where she got it from and she said her teacher gave it to her to read. I know of a teacher that assigned Twilight to her kids. WTF? What happened to Mark Twain? Homer? So what happens is at home I have to force my kid to read stuff that isn’t crap. [/quote]

That’s pretty crazy. The books I was assigned in high school English classes were Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, the Hobbit, Black Robe (Canadian book).


#4

I agree. If my kids did 10% of the shit I did in school, they’d make the local paper and maybe see the inside of a jail cell. Thank god they’re out of school.

I used to get calls from the deans and principals all the time when my youngest was in middle school. I got called down once, no idea what it was about. Winds up he cracked a fart joke in class.

Rob


#5

What was the percent of women as teachers in the 50s? And I think this type of thing is rooted as a society problem, its just kids spend a majority of their time in school so that will get most of the blame.


#6

"Along with nursing, teaching has been one of the traditional career options for women, but in the past four decades, many fields?medicine, law, business, the military?that had been largely reserved for men have opened up to women. With all these alternatives, how surprising is it to find that teaching has become even more female than ever? The proportion of teachers who are female has risen steadily, from 66 percent in 1980 to 76 percent in 2007-08.

This change in the occupation?s male-to-female ratio is not due to a decline in the number of men entering the field. The number of male teachers has risen by 26 percent since the late 1980s; at the same time, however, the number of women in teaching has grown at over twice that rate. This increase in the proportion of women is not spread evenly within schools. Elementary schools, long dominated by female teachers, have seen only slight increases. Rather, the increases have been concentrated on secondary schools, where male teachers dominated the classroom until the late 1970s.

What are the implications of this trend?

If the gender trend continues, teaching will become an occupation practiced largely by women, with more than 80 percent of all teachers being female by the year 2012. Many students will encounter few, if any, male teachers during their time in either elementary or secondary school. Given the importance of teachers as role models, and as surrogate parents, certainly some will see this trend as a problem."

http://www.gse.upenn.edu/review/feature/ingersoll


#7

Want to add: since the shift in gender demographics, girls have excelled in the school system.


#8

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
It’s the lack of men that’s the problem.
[/quote]

Agreed.

I do some volunteering on the weekends for little kids (all boys) with some other guys and the teachers are very happy to have us and have echoed similar statements.


#9

Not to hijack the thread but for those of you with kids, be afraid. If people really knew what was happening in our schools and the impact it will have on the future they would pay a lot more attention to their school boards. Things like No Child Left Behind, Common Core and Teach for America all sound nice but they are insidious. Education is being modeled after corporate standards.

Whether or not a school is deemed successful is not measured by whether or not kids have learned anything but whether or not they can get a certain score on a standardized test. Teachers don’t have to teach, they have to simply do test prep like some tutor or SAT coach.

It’s a myth that America’s schools were failing. They simply factor all the schools in a state together to skew results. So a school that was doing well has to change things because it needs to deal with testing. One of the arguments for the Common Core is that schools were teaching too much stuff. Yeah, stuff that cannot be reduced to a standardized test.


#10

Most of my co-workers are female.
Two thirds of them are totally unable to be discipline their male students, especially the muslim ones.
To them, my evil advice is always the same : “shut up and grow a beard”.

That being said, the last third could discipline anyone, at anytime, with little or no effort.
Those are female dragons.
Flee for your life if you cross one of them.


#11

I was lucky enough to go an all guys high school with mostly male teachers. Had one female teacher that claimed she worked at an all guys school because she felt like she was “fighting in the trenches.” As if males are inherently stupid.

Everything just felt much more relaxed when there were no girls around in classes. I could tell the difference between my high school experience and my friend’s who went to a coed school. I did not miss out on the social fun (partied every weekend and played a coed sport) but did not have to deal with the girlish drama during the week.


#12

I’m not sure I’d say women are the root of the problem, I think it’s a broader social issue, but regardless, it is definitely a problem.

Normal boy behavior is vilified. Traits like competitiveness, aggression/assertiveness, and just plain old rough housing are demonized. Things that used to be important in the development of boys. What happens is they get doped up with ritalin and turned into pussies basically. Then when they become adults so many of these guys find themselves wholly lacking almost all of the qualities that make a man a man. And ironically having spent their entire adolescence following the orders of women, when they grow up they find themselves totally unattractive to them.

Again I’ll say I wouldn’t put the blame solely on the shoulders of female teachers. I just think the school system as a whole needs to take a step back and look at how ridiculously far down this rabbit hole they’ve allowed political correctness to take them. If they can do that, provided boys have at least some kind of male role model or two in their lives, I think female teachers are fine.


#13

Anyone with an interest in this subject should read The War Against Boys by Christina Hoff Sommers.

http://m.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/05/the-war-against-boys/304659/


#14

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
"Along with nursing, teaching has been one of the traditional career options for women, but in the past four decades, many fields?medicine, law, business, the military?that had been largely reserved for men have opened up to women. With all these alternatives, how surprising is it to find that teaching has become even more female than ever? The proportion of teachers who are female has risen steadily, from 66 percent in 1980 to 76 percent in 2007-08.

This change in the occupation?s male-to-female ratio is not due to a decline in the number of men entering the field. The number of male teachers has risen by 26 percent since the late 1980s; at the same time, however, the number of women in teaching has grown at over twice that rate. This increase in the proportion of women is not spread evenly within schools. Elementary schools, long dominated by female teachers, have seen only slight increases. Rather, the increases have been concentrated on secondary schools, where male teachers dominated the classroom until the late 1970s.

What are the implications of this trend?

If the gender trend continues, teaching will become an occupation practiced largely by women, with more than 80 percent of all teachers being female by the year 2012. Many students will encounter few, if any, male teachers during their time in either elementary or secondary school. Given the importance of teachers as role models, and as surrogate parents, certainly some will see this trend as a problem."

http://www.gse.upenn.edu/review/feature/ingersoll[/quote]

I think women go into teaching in large masses for 2 reasons:

  1. they’re more likely to study majors that do not have many career options outside of teaching

  2. It plays to their nature.


#15

[quote]therajraj wrote:

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
So it’s not that women are the problem. It’s the lack of men that’s the problem. [/quote]

I’d say it’s both. Women are great at handling their own sex, but terrible at handling males.

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
My daughter is reading The Hunger Games. I asked her where she got it from and she said her teacher gave it to her to read. I know of a teacher that assigned Twilight to her kids. WTF? What happened to Mark Twain? Homer? So what happens is at home I have to force my kid to read stuff that isn’t crap. [/quote]

That’s pretty crazy. The books I was assigned in high school English classes were Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, the Hobbit, Black Robe (Canadian book).
[/quote]

Speaking from the perspective of someone who was an English major and who has read the Hunger Games because his daughter insisted it was good…its really not that bad. Its certainly written as well as the Hobbit and I’d argue the Lord of the Flies. She’s in AP English and its more rigorous than what you claim in that at her tested level she has to read “serious” works of fiction or nonfiction to get any reading credit. She reads less and sticks to the nonfiction as she finds many of the “Great Books” tedious and while I find value in works like Ulysses many great books are often a chore and reading needn’t be a chore. Sometimes its about telling a story and doing it well and there’s really not that many plots. If Suzanne Collins can get millions of kids reading anything there’s nothing wrong with that.

And often really great modern writers tend to get ignored to some idea that older fiction is better. And dangerous fiction often can’t be taught because it gets someone’s panties in bunch.


#16

[quote]groo wrote:

[quote]therajraj wrote:

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
So it’s not that women are the problem. It’s the lack of men that’s the problem. [/quote]

I’d say it’s both. Women are great at handling their own sex, but terrible at handling males.

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
My daughter is reading The Hunger Games. I asked her where she got it from and she said her teacher gave it to her to read. I know of a teacher that assigned Twilight to her kids. WTF? What happened to Mark Twain? Homer? So what happens is at home I have to force my kid to read stuff that isn’t crap. [/quote]

That’s pretty crazy. The books I was assigned in high school English classes were Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, the Hobbit, Black Robe (Canadian book).
[/quote]

Speaking from the perspective of someone who was an English major and who has read the Hunger Games because his daughter insisted it was good…its really not that bad. Its certainly written as well as the Hobbit and I’d argue the Lord of the Flies. She’s in AP English and its more rigorous than what you claim in that at her tested level she has to read “serious” works of fiction or nonfiction to get any reading credit. She reads less and sticks to the nonfiction as she finds many of the “Great Books” tedious and while I find value in works like Ulysses many great books are often a chore and reading needn’t be a chore. Sometimes its about telling a story and doing it well and there’s really not that many plots. If Suzanne Collins can get millions of kids reading anything there’s nothing wrong with that.

And often really great modern writers tend to get ignored to some idea that older fiction is better. And dangerous fiction often can’t be taught because it gets someone’s panties in bunch.
[/quote]
That’s the problem: things need to be fun and interesting at the moment. That isn’t life. Some things you need to know. Some tasks need to get done no matter how tedious you find them. Sometimes the payoff comes later. Homer is essential to understanding Western Lit. It’s just the way it is. No one can claim a fundamental understanding of Western Lit if he hasn’t read Homer just as no one can claim an understanding of American Lit without Melville and Twain. There is also a difference between contemporary writers and modern writers. It could easily be argued that Cervantes and Shakespeare were modern writers. It could even be argued that modern writing started with pre-Renaissance humanism.

The funny thing is that all of this old and outdated and boring hard to read literature is still used as source material for contemporary writers and film makers. Troy came out not that long ago. There was an Odyssey miniseries in the 90s. A horrible retelling of Beowulf. Shakespeare’s plays are adapted to modern settings or performed as is. The Coen brothers based a film on The Odyssey. This stuff isn’t going anywhere so kids better learn to appreciate, or at least tolerate it, because some things are just the way it is and it’s always been like that. But we are talking about a generation that has been brought up to believe they are special and unique individuals whose every thought, desire and word needs to be expressed and then validated and for whom parents, and by logical extension all adults, are supposed to be their best friends and peers. We are the generation that blinked.


#17

[quote]zecarlo wrote:

[quote]groo wrote:

[quote]therajraj wrote:

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
So it’s not that women are the problem. It’s the lack of men that’s the problem. [/quote]

I’d say it’s both. Women are great at handling their own sex, but terrible at handling males.

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
My daughter is reading The Hunger Games. I asked her where she got it from and she said her teacher gave it to her to read. I know of a teacher that assigned Twilight to her kids. WTF? What happened to Mark Twain? Homer? So what happens is at home I have to force my kid to read stuff that isn’t crap. [/quote]

That’s pretty crazy. The books I was assigned in high school English classes were Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, the Hobbit, Black Robe (Canadian book).
[/quote]

Speaking from the perspective of someone who was an English major and who has read the Hunger Games because his daughter insisted it was good…its really not that bad. Its certainly written as well as the Hobbit and I’d argue the Lord of the Flies. She’s in AP English and its more rigorous than what you claim in that at her tested level she has to read “serious” works of fiction or nonfiction to get any reading credit. She reads less and sticks to the nonfiction as she finds many of the “Great Books” tedious and while I find value in works like Ulysses many great books are often a chore and reading needn’t be a chore. Sometimes its about telling a story and doing it well and there’s really not that many plots. If Suzanne Collins can get millions of kids reading anything there’s nothing wrong with that.

And often really great modern writers tend to get ignored to some idea that older fiction is better. And dangerous fiction often can’t be taught because it gets someone’s panties in bunch.
[/quote]
That’s the problem: things need to be fun and interesting at the moment. That isn’t life. Some things you need to know. Some tasks need to get done no matter how tedious you find them. Sometimes the payoff comes later. Homer is essential to understanding Western Lit. It’s just the way it is. No one can claim a fundamental understanding of Western Lit if he hasn’t read Homer just as no one can claim an understanding of American Lit without Melville and Twain. There is also a difference between contemporary writers and modern writers. It could easily be argued that Cervantes and Shakespeare were modern writers. It could even be argued that modern writing started with pre-Renaissance humanism.

The funny thing is that all of this old and outdated and boring hard to read literature is still used as source material for contemporary writers and film makers. Troy came out not that long ago. There was an Odyssey miniseries in the 90s. A horrible retelling of Beowulf. Shakespeare’s plays are adapted to modern settings or performed as is. The Coen brothers based a film on The Odyssey. This stuff isn’t going anywhere so kids better learn to appreciate, or at least tolerate it, because some things are just the way it is and it’s always been like that. But we are talking about a generation that has been brought up to believe they are special and unique individuals whose every thought, desire and word needs to be expressed and then validated and for whom parents, and by logical extension all adults, are supposed to be their best friends and peers. We are the generation that blinked. [/quote]

Old writing is used as a source because there’s nothing new under the sun plotwise. Just as easy to say that its not derivative so much as it rose organically.

You are sort of all over the place on your points. Several of your authors were popular writers at the time. So to dismiss popularity as equivalent as not significant is a stretch.

I would disagree you need to read Homer to appreciate modern authors. I think a lot of dismissing modern authors is done with the same sort of mindset as dismissing modern pop music is done its sort of an argument by appealing to tradition instead of judging something on its own merit.

Take someone like prime Ellison. He would stack up comparably if not favorably with any author you mentioned.

I have read most of the works of every author you listed. Reading is perhaps my favorite method of time passing…if not wasting and I still can enjoy King work’s as much or sometimes more than Twain who I like or certainly than Melville…Homer or Joyce…meh I would prefer not to.

Dismissing works as too simple or derivative is I think shortsighted. Time passes tastes change the artist as a young man isn’t the same as he is when he gets older nor is the person.

Genre fiction is also strange to rate quality wise. Take something that was early like Tolkien which was early and significant…but frankly written poorly. Someone like Rothfuss or Martin is a better slicker writer and in my opinion a better read. It doesn’t mean Tolkien isn’t worth reading but if given the choice why not read the more polished writer?

How often do most of you that are claiming significant value in reading in the canon do it I wonder? Is it worth reading Bartleby only one time? Is it too much to reread The Great Gatsby…I’d argue it a waste of time to read once but that to each their own.

What particular value other than historical do you see in Huck Finn versus The Hunger Games? With no appeal to tradition or the canon why is the historical journey of a boys coming of age superior to a perhaps predictive dystopian coming of age story of a young girl. I mean if I were a young girl a female protagonist could very well appeal to me more.

The one point I align with you on is that paranormal romance is a terrible genre and I can’t believe anyone likes it, but then again I like bad kung fu movies so who am I to judge Twilight.


#18

In order to know how we got where we are, you need to know where the journey started. Why do we think the way we do? With regard to literature: why do we write the way we do? Not understanding and appreciating the roots of western thought is like believing we developed in a vacuum. We have no connection to what came before.

We are not what we are because of what we were before. This is typical American thought. Instant gratification. Youth oriented culture. No concept of history. Is it any coincidence we treat the elderly with less respect than other cultures to the point that it almost seems like we look at them with disdain? If we are to understand the human condition then we need to start by reading how the first people to question it, tried to answer it.

Unless we either know the answer (because we are so much smarter than the billions who came before) or, we don’t bother to ask and simply face life’s difficulties with, “why me?” instead of “why anyone?”

Ellison was a fine author but he does not stand up to Twain or Melville and certainly not Shakespeare, Cervantes or Homer. Homer invented Western literature. Cervantes may have invented the novel. Shakespeare, according to Harold Bloom, invented our concept of personality.


#19

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
In order to know how we got where we are, you need to know where the journey started. Why do we think the way we do? With regard to literature: why do we write the way we do? Not understanding and appreciating the roots of western thought is like believing we developed in a vacuum. We have no connection to what came before.

We are not what we are because of what we were before. This is typical American thought. Instant gratification. Youth oriented culture. No concept of history. Is it any coincidence we treat the elderly with less respect than other cultures to the point that it almost seems like we look at them with disdain? If we are to understand the human condition then we need to start by reading how the first people to question it, tried to answer it.

Unless we either know the answer (because we are so much smarter than the billions who came before) or, we don’t bother to ask and simply face life’s difficulties with, “why me?” instead of “why anyone?”

Ellison was a fine author but he does not stand up to Twain or Melville and certainly not Shakespeare, Cervantes or Homer. Homer invented Western literature. Cervantes may have invented the novel. Shakespeare, according to Harold Bloom, invented our concept of personality. [/quote]
Disagree in every possible way with this post pretty much. Particularly the first part where you are either making a strawman argument or positing things that aren’t relevant at all to what I wrote…take your pick.

Ellison is certainly better than Shakespeare if there was such a person who wrote and wasn’t a crafted persona.

Purely out of curiosity have you read all of the author’s works you list? And of those you have how often do you go for a reread? Part of the reason Twain and Shakespeare are in the canon is they were the pop fiction of their time but styles change for good or for ill. Can you give a real argument without an appeal to authority or tradition as to why you think Huck Finn is better than the Hunger Games? Or perhaps why Bartleby the Scrivener is superior to The Cheese Stands Alone? Arguments that are substantive rather than stylistic. Perhaps you have a linguistic love for the dialects used but an argument that goes beyond that.

There were many things we did in the past that we do better now and I’d say you need more than a misguided appeal to tradition to support which books should be considered great works.

I think there is often a bit of snobbery involved in the arts. Serious work should be required to grasp the high concepts being trotted out seems to be an assertion often hidden or outspoken. Things that are popular are considered lowbrow and things that are less popular are more highbrow.

And if I were to respond to your first paragraph I’d say of course we are what we were before. The old always are suspicious and dismissing of the new and yet the new comes anyway and amazingly enough what was once new becomes old and gets dismissed by the young. Its hardly an American attitude its simply truth.


#20

If Dante had not read things much older than he, then we would not even be having this discussion. Had Collins not seen The Running Man and read, oh dear, the myth of Theseus, we would not be talking about The Hunger Games. I believe that’s called irony.

And yes, I have read all of them and any non-English writers I mention, other than Greek, I read in their original language.

You majored in English. Chaucer read Boccaccio and Petrarca. Spenser read Ariosto (as did Cervantes). Thomas More (Utopia, more irony) read Machiavelli. Not only did they think something that was written before them had value but they had no problem with it being written in another language. What is English literature? Is it only what was written 100 years ago to the present? Is it only what was written in English and any source material and texts that are not in English are irrelevant? Why should something that was written a few years ago be taught at the expense of older, established works? Are they not relevant when it comes to understanding the newer works? Or do we put entertainment ahead of understanding? Instant gratification ahead of meaning? You were able to major in English because people older than you and people who are long dead put a value on the written word. They didn’t toss it out like a day old newspaper. You say The Hunger Games has some value but how would you feel if, in 50 years, someone tells you it has no relevance? What relevance could it possibly have on the human condition after only a few years?

If you were to teach The Hunger Games in a lit class, how would you do it? You would not mention its relationship to Greek mythology? You wouldn’t mention the concepts of utopia and dystopia? And if you did mention those themes and influences wouldn’t it require that the students actually have an idea of what they are in the first place?

You mention popularity and style. Was Melville popular? You also mentioned how difficult it is to read older works versus modern works. You believe that Joyce or Calvino is easier than Defoe or Dickens or even Homer? I don’t measure a work’s or writer’s importance based upon style, popularity or personal preference but its significance and impact upon literature, culture and society. Shakespeare (or the works attributed to him if we are being clever), whether we like it or not, is part of who we are and again, whether we like it or not, or know it or not, we see it every time we look in a mirror. I prefer to know it and it turns out that I like it.

For your edification: great literature survives the test of time not because of plots but themes. Those themes are what link us to the past. If they were not explored in the past would we even be exploring them now? Would we be sitting around waiting for someone to finally ask, “To be, or not to be?”

The question I have for you is, what makes you think that your opinion on the subject is more important than the opinions of the critics and scholars over the centuries, as well as the opinions of the very writers being mentioned?