With Grayson Perry’s (Alan_Measles) All Man series* fresh in the mind, with its exploration of modern-day masculinity, an interesting approach to take from this point might be to track back to uncover those sites that promote unadulterated gender-trait propaganda. One such site, surely, must be early years education, where the “genders” are split in very distinct ways (boys with trousers/girls with skirts or dresses – and of course, girls can wear trousers but boys very definitely cannot wear skirts/dresses, at least not without severe consequences, for the most part), and where, and this is purely anecdotal and not meant to be a completely universalised approach, for anyone with hands on knowledge of young children and the prejudices they bring home from school, there exists a tangible sense that “boys are better than girls.” One such conversation held just a matter of moments ago, and thus inspiring a continued interaction with Grayson Perry’s recent topic, ran along the lines of “girls are rubbish at my school because they’re rubbish at football and games.”
Now, anyone who has a reasonably long history of reading posts on this site (hi, Bercianlangran) will know that it is unlikely that I would be inclined to further such petty notions of boys versus girls, and so, if we stop to think about such things, where does this misogyny-in-miniature stem from? Could it be from an unmonitored engagement with TV and stuff? In this instance, no. Could it be that there’s an overly masculine father figure? Again, no. Could it be the influence of peers and contemporaries? It’s doubtful. The site most responsible for the boys/girls antagonism, and again this is just conjecture, is likely to be early years education, which, for the most part, seems to engage in gender-splitting conduct (gender-splitting referring to the ways in which boys and girls are kept separate and thus, as a result, grow up thinking that there are vast differences between one another). Such conduct occurs around dress, toileting, sports, games, activities, colour association, physical interaction, and classroom behavior techniques, amongst other things. The very interesting thing about looking into such a site is that females, in terms of teachers and support staff, predominantly populate early years education. In the very same way as was pointed out in the recent post about episode two of Grayson’s All Man, females seem to be at the root of those places where masculinity is bred, and where it then has a habit of manifesting into a really dysfunctional noun, which, perversely if you think about it, comes back to be a real thorn in the side for both females and males in general. Maybe Grayson will come back with a second series looking at the roots of masculinity, with early years education a part of that conversation? What say you, Channel 4?
*Whilst the YouTube clip attached to “All Man series” (above) is unlikely to offend, the comments are proper NSFW stuff, yet they are highly amusing if one is interested in knowing what makes people get hot under the collar.