Many of you will have already read about Orlando student Vanessa VanDyke being threatened with expulsion from her private Christian school for wearing her hair exactly as it grows out of her head. There is the predictable pushback in online forums about how the school’s way of (not) dealing with racist bullying in their student body by body-policing the natural features of an African-American girl is not really any sort of racially discriminatory double standard – please use this thread to expound upon exactly how insulting that nonsense is....read more
“Young women need to avoid drinking to avoid rape” is going around as good advice again, first from Emily Yoffe over at Slate and then from a series of other commentators. Lots of feminist writers have covered this ground before, pointing out that it’s victim-blaming. If it were actually effective, there might be a better argument for it. But there’s not — and in fact, it ends up giving cover to rapists:...read more
Feministe friend and former guest blogger Monica Potts takes a look at the decrease in life expectancy for low-income whites in the Southern United States. She doesn’t come away with any definitive answers, but paints a picture of desolation, few opportunities and lack of access to decent health care and good food as potential culprits. It is a heart-breaking must-read....read more
This week at the Guardian I’m writing about the gay conversion therapy ban passed in New Jersey, and how religious freedom is too often used as an argument for abusing kids — at the expense of children’s own equal protection under the law....read more
Malala Yousufzai is celebrating her 16th birthday today. She’s a kid, and she should have spent her young life in school, making friends and doing normal teenage stuff. Instead, she was shot in the head by Taliban extremists for the crime of wanting to go to school. And today, she’s speaking up (again) for girls around the world in a speech to the UN:...read more
In 1961, Harvard University sent a letter to Mrs. Alvin Richman noting that while she seemed like an excellent candidate for their Department of City and Regional Planning, they did have some concerns about her personal circumstances. Fifty-two years later, award-winning writer and restaurant critic Phyllis Richman has finally taken the time to write Doebele’s requested essay....read more
It’s not a surprise that the internet situation here is less than perfect, and I’ve had days so packed that by the time I get back to the hotel I just want to pass out, but a few quick observations before I have to run off to another meeting:...read more
A high-school senior and her classmates speak up for accurate information and against a terrible abstinence-only speaker. An eight-year-old girl chases down a Tennessee state senator to get some answers. And an Oscar nominee shows she’s more than just an exceptionally talented young actress. Today, on Today in Badass Young Women....read more
The Gender Education Achievement Gap: how it used to be, what changed, what “they” say, what researchers say, and the way forward
Many observers believe that boys’ lower engagement with school is a result of biological differences between males and females. They say that boys need to engage in rough and tumble play, get their hands dirty, build things, and read books about war, espionage and sports if they are supposed to learn. Boys fail, they claim, because schools do not give boys enough opportunities to do “boy” stuff.
We do not agree. Our research shows that boys’ underperformance in school has more to do with society’s norms about masculinity than with anatomy, hormones or brain structure. In fact, boys involved in extracurricular cultural activities such as music, art, drama, and foreign languages report higher levels of school engagement and get better grades than other boys. But these cultural activities are often denigrated as un-masculine by pre-adolescent and adolescent boys — especially those from working- or lower-class backgrounds. Sociologists C.J. Pascoe and Edward Morris relate numerous examples of boys who strive for good grades as being labeled “pussies” or “fags” by their peers.
Commentators who emphasize boys’ special needs usually propose that wemake schools more “boy-friendly” by offering single-sex classrooms where “boys can be boys,” by recruiting more male teachers, and by providing more rough and tumble activities. Our research shows that, contrary to what is rapidly becoming “conventional wisdom,” this is precisely the wrong strategy. Most boys and girls learn more in classrooms where girls are present. In classrooms with more girls, both boys and girls score higher on math and reading tests. And several recent studies refute the claim that teacher gender matters for boys’ or girls’ achievement.
When school districts treat trans and gender-nonconforming kids as “different,” requiring that they use special bathrooms, is it any surprise when the other kids follow suit?...read more
Good work, University of North Carolina! It’s worth noting, too, that the student didn’t even use her alleged rapist’s name; she just detailed her struggle with reporting the rape and stalking she experienced, and how UNC’s honor code wasn’t all that helpful....read more
Here’s something that should make you smile-cry of a Monday morning: Feminism has met its goals and achieved what it set out to do, and we’ve become equal both in education and in the job market. We’re on top, and that’s why men can slack off and make C’s. It’s time, says University of Nebraska senior Zach Nold, for men to jump up on that pedestal next to women as equals....read more