Do You Know How Much Gender Matters?

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I blog about Sonlight here.

Not surprising since that's what this blog is all about.

But if there's one other topic that I've blogged or commented about more than all the others it is the book Why Gender Matters by Dr. Sax. Sometimes it gets so bad that I feel like a poster boy for Dr. Sax's work. Not that I feel bad about that.

My wife's mom sent us a copy because she thought it was interesting, so we started reading it.

And we almost couldn't put it down.

Page after page of information that we had never heard about innate differences between boys and girls. And we had both had excellent psychology classes, Brittany was an education major, and I consider myself fairly well informed. But this book completely blew us away.

Just a few "teasers":

Boys have a different makeup of photoreceptor cells than girls. Boys have fewer cones in favor of more rods. This means that girls are better at seeing color and texture, but boys are better at detecting motion. It makes sense, then, why girls use lots of colors and paint objects (people and flowers), whereas boys tend to be monochromatic and draw actions (like a rocket smashing into the earth).

Boys don't hear as well as girls. This makes it hard for boys sitting the back of a classroom taught by a woman. And it also means that girls can feel like a male teacher is constantly yelling at them.

Speaking of teachers: Girls see connection with a teacher as a status symbol--a good thing. Boys, on the other hand, see asking a teacher for help as a bad thing. Thus, when a girl asks her male physics teacher for help on the second day of class, he assumes she already spent ten hours beating her head against the assignment (as he would have done in school), and incorrectly conclude that she isn't capable of handling the topic.

Mothers also misunderstand that for boys doing something dangerous is a good thing. The mother, looking back on her own childhood, recalls that her friends thought doing dangerous things was foolish, and tells her son the same. Little does she realize that her son wants to ride his bike off the roof because it is dangerous... something his sister would never do.

...that kind of thing.

On every single page.

After reading Why Gender Matters, I have come to the strong belief that if you interact with children at all, this should be required reading. If this book isn't on your reading list for 2009--and you have yet to read it--you need to.

If you don't feel like it's worth buying yet, get it from the library (and scold them if they don't have it on hand, unless it's checked out <smile>). After you've read the first two chapters or so, you'll be back to buy it.

Seriously: Why Gender Matters is that good. That's why Sonlight started carrying it--on my recommendation <beams with pride>.

Don't just take my word for it, see what others are saying.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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