Gender Socialisation

Recently, during a school trip to Kings’ College University, I had the privilege of meeting the head of the university’s Psychology Department- Professor Richard Brown. Having a keen interest in societal ideas of gender, I naturally became very fascinated by the nature of one of Professor Brown’s observations:

In a social experiment, Professor Brown laid out a complex scientific activity. He put the participants into groups according to gender, and timed how long it took for the groups to obtain the correct answer. He found that, whilst the girls were interested in organisation and the avoidance of conflict, the boys were far more assertive, if slightly aggressive, and this allowed them to delve into the finer details of the task at hand. They called each other “idiots” and were far more competitive in their approaches. They favoured competition over cooperation, as opposed to the girls.

Much has been written about how boys are typically more ‘independent, assertive and competitive’ than girls, even at early ages, but are these characteristics biological or learned? Many sociologists argue that the idea that they are intrinsic and ‘critical to the survival of our species’ is wholly mythical, and that such characteristics only arise as a direct result of gender socialisation.

From a young age, boys are encouraged to play with cars, action figures and science sets. Thus, they are channelled into their gender roles as ‘protectors’, and favour careers in science and technology. As a result of this, only 5.3% of women in the UK are involved in SET compared with 33% of men, according to the Women’s Engineering Society.

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‘Boys’ Toys’, according to Google

Meanwhile, young girls are encouraged to be sensitive, passive and supportive. They are often canalised into playing with dolls, tea sets and simulation toys, and therefore favour careers in teaching, nursing and other nurture fields.

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‘Girls’ Toys’

In my view, gender roles are fundamentally stupid: they are restrictive and irrational, and damage young children and young potential.

Do you have any views on this topic? If so, feel free to comment below. 

Alternatively, you can email me at sadiadventures@outlook.com, and I shall endeavour to respond within three days. 

#DontBombSyria

Two days ago, after a 10-hour parliamentary debate, the Prime Minister’s motion of bombing Syria was carried, and yesterday RAF jets carried out their first airstrikes against so-called Islamic State. For an Eton-educated politician, David Cameron isn’t particularly bright. 

“Fighting fire with fire only makes the flame bigger”. That’s what my friend Michelle had to say when I asked her for her thoughts on the subject. “The war against terror is almost like a playground fight. If a bully abuses someone, hitting the bully will only provoke them. The only way of truly establishing peace is through talking it out”.

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Five-year-old Raghat was killed during a holiday to a Syrian region, which was deemed a ‘safe distance from ISIS’. Russian airstrikes are targeting civilian areas.
According to Russian News Agency TASS, there are some 50,000 ISIS militants in Syria. Official figures show that Raqqa (the city that Russian and British airstrikes are primarily targetting) has a population of 220,268. So, there are approximately 170,268 innocent civilians in the city, who will either be displaced or killed by the bombs- innocent civilians like Raghat. What have these people- these children- done wrong?

“David Cameron knows that opposition to his ill-thought rush to war is growing…On planning, strategy, ground troops, diplomacy, the terrorist threat, refugees and civilian casualties, it’s become increasingly clear that the prime minister’s proposal simply doesn’t stack up.” –Jeremy Corbyn

Common sense is, undoubtedly, a key component of politics and warfare, however it seems to be something that Mr. Cameron lacks almost entirely. He believes that “military intervention” has been “the right decision to keep the UK safe”. Any human being with more than six brain cells knows that this is not an example of intervention- this is downright provocation, and will no doubt act as a catalyst for an adverse reaction of some sort from Islamic State.

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Additionally, Mr. Cameron is under the impression that bombing Syria will result in a decline in the number of people joining Islamic State. I disagree. To innocent men and women in Raqqa, the British airforce will seem like a terrorist group no different to Daesh. Perhaps some will choose to enjoin in the fight against the West in order to prevent such attacks on their country.

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Either way, joining France, Russia, America and Germany in bombing Syria will certainly not have the totally faultless effect that Mr. Cameron (through his rose-tinted spectacles) believes it will. We cannot fight hypocrisy with even more hypocrisy, and we cannot fight fire with fire.