Sunday, October 2, 2022

Comments by lizw

Showing 3 of 3 comments.

  • Was he really romanticizing about failure? Or suggesting that young people get their failures over with while they’re still young enough to go on and benefit from them? If it takes until you’re 50 to figure out what you’ve been doing wrong in your business attempts, you have decades less time to actually get it right than if you figure that out at 30.

  • I agree that being able to identify strongly with one gender or the other should help in personal therapy. And I definitely agree that young men are being shortchanged when it comes to mental health treatment. But the issue here is not whether the author identified more strongly with the boy than with the girl. The point is that he appears to have allowed his personal preferences (if you like that phrase better than ‘bias’) to color his evaluation of both the children. Of course we all have individual inclinations. But when we’re writing about something that may affect anyone, regardless of gender, we have an obligation to put those personal inclinations aside and attempt a more objective evaluation than this author did.

  • I had to laugh at the author’s characterization of the ‘obscene gesture.’ That is such typical primate behavior that even ordinary people on the street know of it. Yet he apparently does not, or else deliberately chose not to acknowledge it.

    I noticed also that he went into great descriptive detail about the boy’s experience, as though he personally identified with it. The girl’s behavior was described in very general terms, as though it didn’t resonate with him at all. That reaction is understandable–we all respond according to our own experiences and backgrounds. But one mark of a professional is that he or she tries to look beyond personal reactions (especially gender-based ones) to human ones. That alone might have given this author motivation to think more deeply about the girl’s experience, and to see her as a person (with a name) and not just ‘the girl.’

    To me, this article is so gender-biased as to be useless. Look at the two examples he chose. The boy’s behavior was traditionally and even exaggeratedly masculine–war, in other words. The girl’s behavior, though the first instance involved a competitive sport, was not combat. It was a race against the clock, not person to person battle, even if the goal was to be better than anyone else. And swimming is one of the sports where women have been accepted, at least in the last hundred years or so. The girls’ second experience–art– is, of course, one of the areas where girls have always been encouraged. So not only was the author unable to see his gender bias in how he portrayed success vs failure, he wasn’t even able to view his characters as individuals, only as examples of acceptable male or female behavior.

    A friend who also read this offered some additional and valuable insight: There is significant difference in behavior just in evolutionary terms. Women had to multitask. They were watching the children, caring for elders, gathering food, cooking, sewing, teaching. Men went out to kill the food and/or the enemies. So from an evolutionary biological perspective, it makes sense that women flit from one task to another (or more precisely are *able* to flit from one task to another), while men need to be more singularly focused. Calling one mode a success and one a failure, especially when that is gender-linked, shows a gross misunderstanding of evolution in spite of the author’s use of it to explain the boy’s behavior.

    Sorry, this is just one more example of the kind of bias I thought was out the window years ago. It’s disheartening to see it crop up again and again.