Just recently, Katie has been watching quite a lot of Bob The Builder.
And this is fine: she loves it! But why is it always Bob who ends up looking a bit silly, never Wendy?
Watching that, and some of the adverts and other programmes around TV right now has set me thinking. How far is our society being feminised? Part of this came from me seeing this article on the BBC News website, as well as this in the Guardian last Saturday that talked about masculinity, inspired by Zinedine Zidane’s World Cup final mentalism.
Is part of the problem with boys in our society that they are seeing fewer male role models in places where they can do some good? And are those role models so remote as to be almost useless (David Beckham, for example). The IVF story certainly seems to indicate an increasing feeling that fathers are becoming superfluous to requirements. The number of male teachers in primary schools, in the formative years of childrens’ lives, is worryingly low and, judging by the profile in primary teacher training, its not going to get any better at any time soon.
Conversely, sometimes I wonder if my daughter is lucky to be born a girl right now. At the risk of making sweeping generalisations, the education system now certainly seems to favour females. Much research bears out that there is a definite preference split, with girls preferring coursework-based assessment. and that’s what our system provides. The opportunities to boys to be, well, masculine and to have useful examples to follow are disappearing in schools.