Everyone knows girls are mean

Rocket Kid’s school invited parents to observe their child’s classroom for half an hour prior to upcoming parent conferences.

No interaction with the students, except to accept a glass of water from the gracious class host, and a quick hi/bye with my boy. 

I saw so many amazing things—kids helping each other, kids on task when no one was watching, a kid explaining to the teacher’s assistant, “This is where I messed up and this is how I fixed it,” with regards to the math problem he was working on, kids working then talking for a moment then back to working, a kid using their class signal for “the room is too loud.” 

Truly, I love well-run Montessori classrooms.

What I also saw was a boy making nasty, unprompted (in the moment) comments to another boy walking by, and continuing to needle him.

Boys have been given a pass when it comes to being mean. Girls are mean. Girls are cruel. Boys just throw punches and then are fine.

But do they? And are they?

Of course not.

I knew this already. I taught for two decades, primarily in upper elementary school but at least a semester in everything from pre-K to community college.

The boys are just as mean as the girls.

Where did the boy pass come from?

This phenomenon isn’t limited to verbal assaults. There are several qualities or habits attributed to women (often as an insult) that I don’t have but my husband does.

Also, they’re not necessarily insults—we weaponize them.

Does it all boil down to control? 

Why do we have so many things that apply to people in general but we only see them in one gender or the other? 

(Also applicable to other ways we divide and suppress people: children/adults, various races, sexuality, political preferences, and on and on.)

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