The Breakfast Table

Let Boys Be Boys

“Amen!” from this corner! And for once you will be the recipient of frothing feminist mail for that “chunky appearance” remark. I’ll make this one brief, because I now have a thousand things to do if I’m to have, uh, your martini and slippers ready by 5.

I don’t know if you saw the tiny Page 2 item (again in the Washington Times) about the new report from the Department of Education showing girls outpacing boys on practically every front from preschool to college. They are more ready to read in nursery school and suffer fewer developmental problems through grade school. More of them take advance placement tests in high school and more enroll in college. Boys apparently still do better at math and science (confirming “Talking Barbie’s” shrewd observation that “Math is tough!”). The announcement of these results coincides aptly with the publication of Christina Hoff Sommers superb new book, The War Against Boys. Sommers makes mincemeat of educators and academics who insist that girls are suffering in school because of sexism and discrimination. Nonetheless, because of this utterly unfounded belief, schoolboys everywhere are being squelched by grim schoolmarms when they are not being subdued by Ritalin. I especially enjoyed Sommers’ dissection of Carol Gilligan, one of the chief proponents of this girls-are-drowning theory, whose “research” has never been published or open to peer review but is kept locked away in Harvard filing cabinets.

Anyway, this exchange with you has been a lot of fun, although I’m looking forward to when we can get back to our usual e-mails: the ones that consist of me nagging you electronically while you pretend you’re not there. Right sweetheart? David? David??