This is a cross-post from The Geeky Press, my writing collective.
As the mother of 3 boys aged 9, 12 and 18 I can see direct comparisons with state education here in the UK and the increasing underachievement of our young males. Its my belief, and has been for many years, that young boys are floundering in our political correct schooling system which favours non-competitive sports and teaching methods and exams which inadvertently discriminate against males. — Jane Turley, “Reading Underground: The Question of Male Reading Habits and the Rise of Illiteracy“
As I’ve toiled over the opening graphs of this essay about boys and literacy, I found myself sifting through the work on various women writers in order to find a starting place that may mitigate gendered attacks. Theres more than a subtle irony in this fact: I’m a writer, a man, and a trained reading instructor, yet I’ve held off writing about the subject of boys, literacy, and teachingbecause I fear the gendered backlash.
We live in a good, but complex, time in debate. So I write thisaware of two facts:
- Whenever a white dude writes that he’s afraid of “gendered attacks,” the assumption is that nothing good is coming; and
- It’s possible that backlash will be well-founded.
Still, I’ve found that it’s important to acknowledge all of these forces before writing about a topic that is likely to cause a stir. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find women writers such as Jane Turley and Allison McDonald who have argued — in various ways — the points I seek to make here.
The fact that so many women are writing about the topic is heartening, but the issue stillfeelslike one that should be taken up by more men.