You can currently see the front lines of a war being drawn out there in the theater of academia and middle class intellectualism. "What is it this time?" you may ask. "Are they yammering about Allen Greenspan's manipulation of the price of ascots, or is it the detrimental effects of alcoholism on performing complex mathematical computations." Both safe guesses, I'd say, as so little of what passes for argument in high society has much to do with the day to day life of the average joe. But nay, I refer to the current debate of who has it worse, boys or girls. The girls laid out their case in Dr. Mary Pipher’s book, Reviving Orphelia (Dames just can’t get enough of linking their causes to classical literature.), and the boys have started to make their claim with volumes such as Dr. Michael Gurian's new work, The Wonder of Boys, (A title guaranteed to ensure that the book will become a popular Christmas gift for members of NAMBLA.) The girl protectors spew forth statistics of the high rate of suicide attempts among girls or the jetty of contradicting social images young women find thrust upon themselves (You’re either a prude or a slut.) The boy’s befrienders blather about the fact the young males easily outperform their female counterparts in the areas of being emotionally disturbed, learning disabled, having attention deficit disorder and generally dying. (Two teenage boys die for every teenage girl.)
As such, the news I have to offer may come as quite a relief to both sides of the debate. For I believe when it comes to the operations of adolescence the issue of gender can be addressed as follows: They're both fucked.
Obviously I can't speak firsthand about the experience of being a little girl, but I can certainly can avow to the early days of being a man in today’s society. Boys are, unfortunately, little men, and as such they’re hyper-violent, aggressive, competitive, emotionally repressed, daredevilish to the point of being suicidal and far more prone to solve disagreements with fists or taunts then through negotiation or compromise. (Well, maybe they ALL aren't but enough of them are to ruin it for everyone else.)
And I've spoken with enough women friends (Lord, that phrase is uncomfortably turgid) and lurked in enough grrrl chat rooms to know that young ladies have absolutely no problem stabbing each other in the back, spreading cruel rumors about each other, and willfully clawing each other eyes out in a desperate race to reach the top of the social heap.
The truth be told, it doesn't get much better when you become an adult. Oh sure, such childish anger does fall below the surface a bit. The school bully who used to wait for you every day at the parking lot to partake of your lunch money can now be avoided by stepping over his bloated form when rounding the corner past the neighborhood bar. And most women do seem to eventually gain the confidence to triumph over their catty prom queen nemesises. But it never really goes away, does it? While we so altruistically search to find out what's wrong with children we might find time better spent figuring out what's wrong with us. While I've always felt children are inherently selfish (See my now famous essay "Keeping up with the JonesBoros") we do a very poor job of rejecting their natural tendencies. As adults, we remain aggressive and vindictive. The very fact that the academics of society are now locking into a debate over which sex has it worse instead of making the allowance that both genders have their ups and downs shows this.
In the end, we are forced to accept the words of the youngsters as true, in the form of a phrase I've heard from children on the bus, walking home from school or in the local video arcade.
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Wil Forbis is a
well known international playboy who lives a fast paced life attending
chic parties, performing feats of derring-do and making love to the
world's most beautiful women. Together with his partner, Scrotum-Boy,
he is making the world safe for democracy. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Wil's web log, The Wil Forbis Blog, and receive complete enlightenment.