Sunday, October 19, 2008

Are we hard-wired to be mean, too? (by Suzie)

         I had warm-and-fuzzy feelings toward The Ophelia Project. I didn’t know much about it, but I assumed it helped girls. Then I read that Michael Gurian would be the keynote speaker Thursday at the Tampa project’s annual benefit dinner. MICHAEL GURIAN. Yes, the guy we’ve discussed here, here, here,  here and here. 
         In an interview, once again, Gurian, who isn't a scientist, talks as if every scientist knows that males and females think and act differently because their brains are different. That’s not political, he assures us. Those are just the facts!
Girls are now succeeding so much in school and college, but when they get into the workplace, the stuff that made them successful in high school and college isn't translating - especially if they are in a field that has any kind of science side to it. Another big area is the emotional and relational ... Girls and women do process more emotive and sensorial data. That makes them better in writing English papers, but they also get caught up in relational aggression and confusion in the workplace.
          Let’s see, women don’t do as well in the workplace because our brains aren’t as good at science and, um, we’re mean. Why, oh, why, are women paying this man to speak to them?
          The Ophelia Project was begun to “increase social and emotional support for adolescent girls,” but it changed its focus to “relational aggression,” such as “exclusion, malicious gossip and rumor spreading, teasing and name calling.”
As our research progressed, we found that there are no gender effects when it comes to relational aggression. Today's boys need our help just as much as today's girls.
         This seems part of the thinking that women do just as much harm to each other and to men as men do to women. Even if you think this is true, it ignores the context of a society in which men hold almost all of the top positions, and thus, more power.
          (Check out this site, with explains mean girls with pictures.)