Magazine article Work & Family Life

Girl-Power Should Not Mean Boy-Bashing

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Girl-Power Should Not Mean Boy-Bashing

Article excerpt

Q Why are girls wearing T-shirts that say things like "Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them!" and "Boys have cooties"? Is a new "battle of the sexes" being marketed to younger kids? I'm all for girl-power-but that shouldn't have to mean boybashing.

-J.M., West Palm Beach

A We agree. According to Joe Kelly, president of the advocacy group Dads and Daughters, the gender-bashing products and girls-versus-boys competitions on reality shows are popular because our society likes to reduce every issue to zero-sum accounting,

"People think that in order for girls to get a hand up, we have to push boys down. For boys to get a hand up, we have to push girls down," Kelly told The Wall Street Journal.

Title IX legislation that requires schools to end sex discrimination may have stirred the animosity, but marketers say the sales of insult-laden products are driven less by politics than by kids' sense of what's cool.

Granted, media-savvy kids may appreciate the sarcasm more than their parents do. But why ratchet up boy-girl conflicts in the first place?

Psychologists and genderrelations researchers have warned against it. In her book Gender Play, sociologist Barrie Thorne advises teachers to avoid the impulse to group kids by gender. …

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