Thursday, January 13, 2011

Boys Will be Boys

When my daughter was really young, I observed something at the playground that made re-think the notions that the sexes were pretty much the same and all differences were due to cultural conditioning.  The boys, even the very youngest, seemed to approach the various devices at the playground, especially the steel carousel/whatchamacallit spinny thing, as means to risk their lives.  The girls used the same equipment, but mostly for how they were intended to be used.  The boys would spin the spinny thing really fast and then lean back to see if they can get their head into the water that lined the rut around it.

Turns out it was not just Texan boys, but perhaps a bit of hardwiring of all males versus females.  This Slate piece explains why boys like sticks more than girls do.  The science of this shows that this starts when kids are really young, before social conditioning can really kick in, and chimps do it too. 

This does not mean that the feminists were wrong to call for equality of the sexes.  It just means that we need to take seriously here as elsewhere that outcomes are a mixture of nature and suture.

1 comment:

Steve Greene said...

Nature and suture. A refernce to the fact that boys' style of play ends up needing a lot more stitches.