Do Boys Really Get Everything and Girls Get the Crumbs?

“We live in a world where boys get everything and girls are left with the crumbs…” so wrote a mom to Washington Post Columnist Caroline Hax.

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What prompted that comment? According to the article in USAToday,

It seems she and other moms of daughters had unofficially claimed a local playground as their girls-only meetup place at a set time each week.

Until disaster struck and a strange mother brought her son to the public park and dared to let him slide, swing and play during their special time.

The girl’s mom asked the mom of the boy to leave and was shocked when the other woman seemed upset.

The girl’s mom was upset herself that she had upset the boy’s mom, hence her note to Caroline Hax:

“If she comes back, is there a better way I can approach her? This has been such a sweet time for moms and daughters and having a boy there is naturally going to change things. We live in a world where boys get everything and girls are left with the crumbs, and I would think this mom would realize that, but she seems to think her son is entitled to crash this girls-only time. I know I can't legally keep her from a public park, but can I appeal to her better nature?” the mom asked Hax.

There are so many, many things wrong with this incident. And Caroline Hax, a mom of three boys, wasn’t having it:

How dare a grown adult justify stomping on the feelings of a child. And using it as some sort of “cosmic correction,” in the male-female balance is despicable, she said.

The little boy does not feel entitled to anything other than playtime at a PUBLIC park.  

“If you're going to accuse anyone of being "entitled," then ask yourself who was claiming possession of public space for her own purposes,” Hax wrote, adding if the mother wants a girls-only playdate, she can do so on private property.  

“Goddess help us all,” said Hax.

Good on you, Caroline Hax.

But I want to take it a step deeper.

We continue, in our culture, to perpetuate the storyline that boys have it all and girls are the losers because of it.

Really?

How about this:

·      Boys have fallen behind girls in every area of education from Pre-school through Graduate school

·      85% of stimulant-addressing medications (like Ritalin) prescribed in the world are prescribed to US boys

·      America has the highest rates of male incarceration per capita of any country in the world.  Among males 17 or younger, the boy-to-girl ratio in correctional institutions is 9:1.  Among 18-21 year olds, the ratio grows to 14:1

·      Boys are twice as likely to be victims of violence in America, but in certain age groups the ratio is 6:1.

·      Boys receive two-thirds of the Ds and Fs in our schools but less than 40 percent of the As 

·      Boys are twice as likely to be labeled as “emotionally disturbed” and twice as likely to be diagnosed with a behavioral or leaning disorder

·      Boys are four times as likely as girls to be suspended or expelled from early childhood and K-12 learning environments

·      Over the last 20 years the reading skills of 17 year old boys have steadily declined

In 2015 the World Health Organization published a major study of mens’ and boys’ health worldwide.  In it the study’s authors—from Europe, the U.S., and Asia—provided statistics and analysis from all continents, including the most comprehensive health study worldwide to date, the Global Burden of Disease Study led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation…The study concludes: In most of the world, girls and women are doing better than boys and men in both physical and mental health indicators…In most parts of the world, health outcomes among boys and men continue to substantially worse than among girls and women.  Yet this gender-based disparity in health has received little national, regional, or global acknowledgement or attention from health polity-makers or health-care providers.

Does that sound like boys get everything?

It’s time to stop this ideological storyline that demeans and devalues and ignores our boys and makes victims of our girls.

Huge, meaningful gains have been made for our girls over the last 60 years and huge setbacks have hit our boys hard in the last 60 years.

But this is not a zero-sum game. We still have lots of work to do for our boys and our girls. Perpetuating this old, false argument that boys get everything and girls get the crumbs hurts our girls and our boys.

How about we fight hard for both boys and girls!