Who's afraid of Carol Gilligan?
By Carey Roberts
Such is the case of psychologist Carol Gilligan, whose nostrums were recently featured in Newsweek magazine as the cure-all for the Boy Crisis.
Gilligan concluded that men tended to focus on rules and principles, while women were more swayed by their personal experiences and emotional take of the situation. That common-sense description is hardly earth-shattering -- in my experience, it's more often men who want to make the rules, and women who try to bend them.
Translated into nine languages and with 600,000 copies sold, In a Different Voice was a huge success.
But the acclaim was not unanimous. The Sisterhood was aghast that Gilligan would even hint that innate differences existed between the sexes. Feminist Linda Kerber ridiculed Gilligan's book as echoing the "romantic sentimentalism of old voices in the women's movement."
Sure enough, Gilligan soon buckled under the weight of the criticism and fell into lock-step with the rad-fem vanguard. But she knew that at some point, she would have to make amends for her revisionist past.
That moment came in 1990, when Gilligan published Making Connections, which was based on her interviews with well-to-do girls attending an upstate New York boarding school. Gilligan reported that at the age of 11, these carefree, confident girls suddenly hit the "wall of Western culture" (read "patriarchy"), and suddenly found themselves voiceless and adrift.
Needless to say, Gilligan never bothered to interview any teenage boys.
So thanks to the GEEA, boys are admonished that tag and dodge ball bring out their latent aggressive tendencies, so better to stick with hop-scotch and jacks. Go to any schoolyard, and you will find that more often it is the voices of boys who have become silenced.
So what is professor Gilligan's prescription for the Boy Crisis in her recent Newsweek article? Because fem-speak is often shrouded in weasel words and loopy logic, as a service to my readers I offer a plain-English translation.
But the real message comes out in the sub-title of Gilligan's fatuous essay: "A feminist scholar explains how the study of girls can teach us about boys." Meaning: Don't try to take even a penny of my precious GEEA money away from feminist indoctrination centers, ahem, women's studies programs.
Carey Roberts is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. Columns by this author can be read regularly on TheRealityCheck.org.
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