Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Boys Vs Girls

Girls rule the schools apparently. Most American colleges are now "dominated" by young women, a "problem" that I find considerably less troubling than the fact that most colleges are also dominated by illiterates. But, that's just me.

Anyway, the fact is that more girls than boys go to college, they're more likely to graduate, and when they apply, they tend to be better applicants. What to do? What to do?

Well, some colleges are apparently giving male applicants a little bump up in the admissions process; what generally gets called affirmative action. Somehow, I'm not imagining the usual critics of affirmative action will be bitching about this on Fox News tonight.

This is likely as misguided an idea as the old affirmative action was. Actually, I'm starting to believe that no good ever came from a committee. See, the problem isn't that boys are less likely to be college-bound- it's that they're less likely to be college-worthy. Or, more interestingly, it's that they seem to get drilled into their heads from a young age that any sort of intellectual endeavor is "gay". Of course, in my encounters, they also don't seem to be too terribly worried about whether or not they do get educated, which is also interesting.

As a society, we seem to have lost the idea that education means anything. The idea of the cultivated bachelor seems lost in the 19th century somewhere. What boys need isn't affirmative action; it's an affirmation of intellectualism.


Jennifer said...

I equally am concerned about the things you express in this post. Although, I don't think that more women being in college currently is a problem. I feel this is the direct result of things you mention later in the post. And yes, many of these people are, well, idiots. This is because college is now expected mostly everyone, even if one is not "worthy". This is why, now, more than ever, it is getting harder and harder for college graduates to find jobs that require a college degree, or, for that matter, a job at all. There's just so many more college graduates out there that the job market cannot compete. (The lack of jobs in out economy currently can lead to a whole nother rant.) I also agree with your ideas about affrimative action. The whole point of the civil rights movement was to get EQUAL rights...not more or higher rights. Affirmative action only gives people who in some cases, are not as intelligent, did not get as many (or any) good grades, etc., a better chance of getting into college than a person of the majority that is more worthy in those aspects, which are the aspects that are only supposed to be considered in getting into college. On a different aspect of your post, I feel that part of the reason many males (I dare not say men here, because I feel many college-aged males are not mature enough to yet deserve the label men) do not do well in college as they should is because they are, for the most part, too busy trying to live up to the stereotype that college students have unfortunately become: People who spend every waking minute trying to get into the pants of as many members of the opposite sex (or same sex, for that matter) as possible, as often as possible, and to get as drunk an/or high as possible as often as possible. Somehow, many college-aged males think this image impresses others. It is truely unfortunate. I as a feminist am sensitive to the women's, civil, and gay rights movements, and I think these movements also come into play here. If children were not socialized to believe that there is something "wrong" with homosexuals, and that they are lesser beings and deserve ridicule and beatings, and that any "Other" (person different than the majority, including intelligent children) is most likely gay because of this difference, then I believe not only would males stop fearing the intelligence of others, but their own intelligence (or potential of it) as well.

Rufus said...

Hey, thanks for the comments!

I actually don't think that college women constitutes a problem either. I considered putting irony quotes around "problem" because it's been described as such, but then figured I was more clear about that than I apparently was. I should probably correct that.

My feelings on affirmative action is that it comes so late that it doesn't really fix the problem, which is that some little children get told that they have to work hard and achieve great things, others get told that they have little chance anyway so "screw it", and others frankly get told that they're going to be provided for anyway and so school is a "joke".

So, as old fashioned as it may sound, I'd like to see more parents teaching their children to value curiosity, intelligence and culture a bit more than shopping, drinking and screwing.

Also, I'd frankly like the high schools to stop standardized testing these kids into submission, but that's another post.

Thanks again!

Rufus said...

Okay, now it's more clear.

Hiromi said...

"Somehow, I'm not imagining the usual critics of affirmative action will be bitching about this on Fox News tonight."

That is so spot-on.

I'm kind of pessimistic about our culture ever valuing intellectual effort, since there's no quick, big payoff.

Rufus said...

Well, one of my regular amusements involves the NY state high school teachers who have been shuffled into our master's program and listening to them bitch about affirmative action. This is the "reading is gay" crowd who has perplexed me before by, you know, being in grad school. Their other favorite topic, usually appropos of nothing, is how evil affirmative action is. What's funny about it is how completely oblivious they are to the fact that they're actually in the program due to NY state's "free ride" for its teachers.

Jae said...

I am completely for equal rights. However it is illogical and utterly ridiculous to assume that judging everyone equally after systematically undercutting them whether it is by lower funding in the educational systems, biased testing, or not having the same experiences of someone from a higher socioeconomic background, to expect them to end up at the same place as someone who did not. As a matter of fact, if they do, they deserve more praise than the other person since they started froma lower place. If you ever looked in-depth at the educational system and affirmative action, it could hardly be seen as a negative. Is it the best thing? I do not pretend it is. However, it is the best solution on the table. Besides, it helps international students more than african-americans in college and women more in the workplace than african-americans. It is also used not only for people of other races, but people for various geographical locations and alumni. If you take a look at the weight given to categories in admission criteria, sports and alumni usually rank higher. Of course this would never be brought up in the discussion of affirmative action because it has been polarized into a white black issue when clearly it affects much more than that. Less woman (adding to those already marginalized) in the workforce, less people from certain geographical settings, and less international students in college. But of course, that wouldn't make the news either! Just my two-cents when no one asked! Love the blog!

Rufus said...

Wow, sorry about the delay! Anyway, the problem with affirmative action is that it tries to fix all of the problems that you mentioned at a point in which it's probably too late. Instead, we start by fighting for better education in Kindergarten and then in first grade, and then... The point is to end the systematic undercutting, not to try to make up for it at a point in which most education is already completed. I've had friends who taught in DC elementary schools and it's an utter disgrace how poor black kids are taught in this country. The schools wouldn't even pay for chalk, much less computers! But most university educators will tell you that, by the time we get them, it's pretty much too late to turn things around. So, for me, affirmative action in college admissions is like giving a terminally ill patient an aspirin.