Sunday, June 23, 2013

A double standard

Here's a double standard that I've been noticing over the years.  Whenever there is some initiative that benefits girls only, people leave it alone and the girls benefit.  Come up with an initiative that benefits boys only, however, and people invent an equivalent initiative that either benefits the girls or is gender-neutral.  Below, I provide a couple examples of the latter half of this double standard.

I remember when the book The Dangerous Book for Boys came out.  Not only that, but more importantly, why such a book was important in the first place.  This article, written by one of the authors of the book, does a great job explaining this.  But imagine my dismay when right after that, The Daring Book for Girls came out.  And right after that, to add insult to injury, The Double-Daring Book for Girls.  Apparently, the authors of both of these books failed to see the point of The Dangerous Book for Boys and are now collecting royalties from the sale of both of their books.  There's no justice.

And then there's the famous song by The Killers, "When You Were Young," whose lyrics contain the phrase "talks like a gentleman".  Which is good; I mean, do you remember the last time a song praised a man for his inherently good, masculine qualities?  Not that that's what The Killers had in mind, but anyway, that's how I interpret their lyrics.  Now there is a cover of this song by The Noisettes, which alters The Killers' original lyrics somewhat.  The phrase I cited above is now sung this way in the cover: "talks like a gentle soul".  Really?  Gee, where were you, The Noisettes, when there were song lyrics out there praising girls for their innately feminine qualities and you made them gender-neutral?  If such songs are in your repertoire, then I am willing to admit my fault and rescind what I wrote, but otherwise... shame on you, The Noisettes.

At this point, a natural question may come to mind; namely, have there ever been times when some initiative for girls only has been made gender-neutral?  The answer is, yes there has.  An example that comes to mind is when "Take Our Daughters to Work Day" was made gender-neutral.  However, that's not the point.  The point is that if we are to have gender equality in our world, then society must make sure we are praising boys for being boys, just as profusely as society already praises girls for being girls.

That is all.