Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Diminishing Advantage

A few weeks ago I met R, my old neighbor whose boys attend the same middle school and J does. Her oldest goes to high school next year and the youngest is in sixth grade like J. We were chatting about the transition experience and how things went for her oldest; she mentioned how peer pressure worked differently for boys than it did for girls at this age. 

According to R, the girls had it a lot harder than the boys. I have heard variations on this theme from other parents have to wonder how J will fare. Many women I know have told me that middle school was the worst part of their school years. Reading this David Brooks op-ed piece on why men fail made we wonder if the advantage boys seem have in their adolescent years fades over time. Particularly interesting is the idea that men have become victims of the superior position in the social totem pole :

This theory has less to do with innate traits and more to do with social position. When there’s big social change, the people who were on the top of the old order are bound to cling to the old ways. The people who were on the bottom are bound to experience a burst of energy. They’re going to explore their new surroundings more enthusiastically.


sandhya said...

This article has been doing the rounds on FB, and read it yesterday.

In the Indian context, it is mostly patriarchial society and decreased opportunities, that I think are behind fewer women seen doing really well at higher levels, though they do so much better at school level.

I also recently read this book-Why Loiter- which propounds that women have to strategize a lot more than men to access public space- even manufacture reasons to appear respectable in the public. So an average woman's access to public space decreases as she crosses her early teens and grows older. At the same age, a male's access to public space broadens. This advantage reverses in old age around the time men retire and are no longer seen as earning members. They find it consequently harder than women of the same age to adjust to their shrinking access to public space, as women have spent a lifetime honing their social skills of coping with a narrower public space.

Interesting book. Here's the link if you are interested.

3mik said...

The greatest inventions were done in adversity .So anyone who is at disadvantage will throw caution to the winds and will give 100 percent.Rite?