Girls are just as strong as boys?

(99 Posts)
MillicentBystander101 Thu 14-Oct-21 20:05:52

My son came out of school today and said his DT teacher gave them a stern talking to about sexism... sounded great, initially, until he said she told them girls and women are just as strong as boys and men, and that it is sexist to say otherwise. That you would definitely be just as hurt whether a girl hits you, or a boy.

I asked his thoughts and he said she is obviously wrong, and he won't be surprised if that's now used as an excuse by some of the boys to hit girls.

He then proudly told me he put a big cross through the word gender, replaced it with sex and underlined it several times. The same teacher told me in parents evening tonight, that he is doing really well in her class but was a little cheeky today 🙈 She didn't elaborate, but that's probably what she was talking about. He's year 8, just for context, so they're at an age, I think, where it does matter.

Not much point to this, other than me voicing my frustration here, rather than firing off an angry email to the school.

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AssassinatedBeauty Thu 14-Oct-21 20:17:00

I wonder where people who think like this get their "information" from? And if they have ever watched or participated in sports that require strength and are played by both men and women, separately.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 14-Oct-21 20:22:19

At 4 it might be true. At 14 it certainly isn't. What a plonker.

MillicentBystander101 Thu 14-Oct-21 20:31:58

Luckily, ds is quite clued up on all of this. His analysis was, yes men and women can do the same jobs etc but if a woman builder would be able to carry 10 bricks, usually the man would be able to carry 20. Doesn't mean they can't both do the job, they're just physically different. Which was a much better argument than what I had in mind.

It does make me wonder though, do these teachers etc, genuinely believe this, or are they trying to be 'politically correct?' Because if they don't believe it, it feels very sinister. Almost like indoctrination and brainwashing.

It's not the best school when it comes to bullying and things anyway, so pushing that agenda seems quite dangerous, and ds is right, it probably will lead to some boys feeling justified in hitting girls.

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CloseYourEyesAndSee Thu 14-Oct-21 20:33:04

What a great kid you have!

Hotchox Thu 14-Oct-21 20:33:35

Yeah, I've thought for a while now that crime dramas and the like that routinely show female officers successfully subduing much bigger blokes are dreadfully misleading. In real life that would be properly rare. I'd been hoping most people had the sense to realise it was just dramatic licence, but it seems there's some out there who are starting to believe that scenario....

OP - get your son to suggest a science experiment to see how accurate the teacher's assertion is. Plot the results and everything. It'd be properly educational - if you did strength tests in years 5 and 6, the teacher might be right, anything much after that and the hypothesis would be dramatically disproven I reckon.

MillicentBystander101 Thu 14-Oct-21 20:52:35

That's not a bad idea, @Hotchox I might ask him if he's feeling brave enough to suggest that!

Thanks @CloseYourEyesAndSee he is great, but I guess I would say that 😄

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FemaleAndLearning Thu 14-Oct-21 21:21:17

A man's punch has 162% more force than a woman, not sure where I read that but it might be worth finding out.
I think my concern is that boys will think it is okay to hit girls because they can hit back the same.
What subject lesson was this. The teacher clearly doesn't understand sexism and equality. I honestly think I would be writing to school for more explanation. It is quite a dangerous idea given the actual sexism in schools and the number of girls in abusive relationships.
Good on your son for crossing out gender!

Flowiththego Thu 14-Oct-21 21:28:01

There was something on TV a while back where they got groups of boys and girls competing against each other and they came out equal in strength and speed - up to puberty. After that, the boys pulled ahead.

MillicentBystander101 Thu 14-Oct-21 21:43:29

It was DT cooking class. I wanted to bring it up with her tonight, but the video call was only 5 mins per subject. They were discussing the reasons why dietary requirements differ from person to person, and one of the reasons that came up was 'gender' and it snowballed from there after one of the boys made a comment about girls.

I was thinking of sending an email, I just wasn't sure how to word it without coming across as difficult.

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MillicentBystander101 Thu 14-Oct-21 21:50:37

I remember seeing something like that on TV. Although, working in a school of 11-18 year olds, I'd have thought the difference in strength between the sexes is very, very obvious. Which is what made me wonder whether it is something she actually believes herself.

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Namenic Thu 14-Oct-21 21:53:25

No one should be hitting anyone else. The teacher should have said that girls who hit or punch can also hurt other girls or boys and it would also be classed as assault.

The stronger and bigger you are the more careful you have to be, because you can potentially do more damage (even if you don’t mean it). As a population boys/men will be stronger than girls/women, but there is some overlap, so that it is not always true. Boys should be extra careful as they could do more damage to others (men or women). In any case, zero violence should be tolerated and no hitting/slapping should be happening.

MillicentBystander101 Thu 14-Oct-21 22:06:07

Yes, I agree. Although this is a school where bullying isn't always dealt with as swiftly as it should be. Ds has put up with a fair bit of bullying, some of which has been from girls. Eg, last year, a girl was asking him over and over if he'd ever hit her. He kept saying no, eventually she hit him. He told me he didn't react because he knew he would have hurt her more than she hurt him. The school put it down to playground silliness.

I feel the teacher has now given some of the boys the green light to hit back in that situation.

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thirdfiddle Thu 14-Oct-21 22:14:48

It's sexist to say girls are as strong as boys - because it means you have the same expectations of both, and the girls will inevitably fall short.

It's also sexist to assume any particular individual boy is stronger than any particular individual girl, or to always ask boys if you want e.g. tables shifting in class.

AngelicInnocent Thu 14-Oct-21 22:17:16

My DC were both competing internationally at age 14 in a martial art. Being punched by DD would have sent me flying, being punched by DS would have put me in hospital or ina coffin. She's talking out of her arse.

PurgatoryOfPotholes Thu 14-Oct-21 22:19:09

She has.

Something important to note is that we are legally (and in my opinion morally) only allowed to use proportionate force in self-defence. Punching the tiny kid back with full force after you deliberately wound him up enough that he lashed out first is not self-defence.

If you use excessive force, it's not self-defence any more, and that line is very easily crossed by a male human versus a female human.

Franca123 Thu 14-Oct-21 22:22:24

Just look a man's tennis serve vs a women's tennis serve. To give one of a billion examples. This teacher can't have gone through life without noticing...... so yes, she's pushing an ideological belief of hers on children. And my bloody taxes are paying for it!

Aderyn21 Thu 14-Oct-21 22:37:24

So this cooking teacher presumably knows that men and women generally have different calorie requirements, but still concludes that they are the same in terms of physical capabilities? I'd be concerned that they aren't bright enough to be teaching.
I wouldn't email about this specifically but I would contact them again about the girl who hit your ds and the implications around this. He was good not to hit her back but if school don't explain to kids the consequence of this behaviour, then one day that girl is going to get hit.

Craftycorvid Thu 14-Oct-21 22:48:06

Before puberty, yes, strength is about the same; after puberty, no, with some outlying exceptions of very slight men and women with very strong athletic builds, men are stronger.

crosshatching Thu 14-Oct-21 22:52:24

Invisible Women, chapter 7, The Plough Hypothesis explains a lot of the physical differences between men, women and work. Failing that a Tug o War might do it!

MillicentBystander101 Thu 14-Oct-21 22:58:00

I can't really bring that incident up again as it was before summer holidays, and I did address it with them at the time. Ds has tic disorder and adhd, so is a bit of a magnet to bullies. Fortunately, he stands his ground pretty well. That isn't the point, I know.

I had thought the school was pretty good on this sort of thing, though, going by what he says they discuss in the skills for life class. They've covered FGM, sex/gender and county lines gangs, and he has usually had positive things to say about those lessons. Maybe (hopefully) it's just this teacher.

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LobsterNapkin Thu 14-Oct-21 22:58:36

I'd say it's quite possible that this teacher believes what she said, and she isn't the only one.

I remember when I was about 12 there was a big controversy in my city about hiring female firefighters. The fact that there weren't many women in the job, and the few that were mostly were in admin type roles, was put down to sexism. Which was no doubt in part true.

However, there were people who pointed out that strength tests and very heavy work are a big part of firefighting and so women would be less likely to qualify. This was roundly condemned by younger people as deeply sexist.

A good exercise to see what the environment was like in the late 80s and especially early 90s is to get hold of and watch the film, Girlfight. It's quite a nice little film overall so it's not a horrible task, but it also really shows how people can misjudge this issue.

MillicentBystander101 Thu 14-Oct-21 22:58:56

That's a book I keep meaning to get. Thanks for reminding me 😃

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Mymapuddlington Thu 14-Oct-21 23:00:01

Hate how our kids are going to be so screwed up by misinformation.

FemaleAndLearning Thu 14-Oct-21 23:02:13

Teachers should teach facts. I would write and just say you have some concerns about some less than biological facts being discussed. If the discussion got out of control the teacher should have shut it down and come back with the facts another day. There are loads of articles on the differences between the sexes for sport. I just think this makes an unsafe environment for girls. Share this article with the school.

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