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30 March.
Jan 14, 13 6:44 am

feeling so young in this crowd.

i would love it if there was an afterschool science program for my kids.  but yeah guess its not so good to cut the males out of the equation.  is the idea that girls cannot study because the boys are there?  im curious if that is actually provable if so. 

japan is deeply misogynistic it would be wonderful to give any girl the same headstart you describe, but once they move on in life am sure they would be out in the cold, just like the women in the obama cabinet. so stupid that women get pushed down and pushed aside all the time.   a ridiculous waste of talent and energy.

Jan 14, 13 8:33 am



typically in lower-ed science and math classes, the boys tend to dominate and unless the girls are really gung-ho and have a lot of support and encouragement outside of school they have a tendency to back away (even if they show a stronger facility for the subject matter).  Once you separate out the genders, girls will show far more enthusiasm and tend to do a lot better (boys, it doesn't matter).  You're right that it shouldn't matter, but it does for girls  - and it's particularly pronounced between 5th and 9th grade - the time period when kids are starting to decide what they're really interested in.  I'm assuming your son is approaching middle school, and unless there are specific science/engineering things for girls, they simply won't sign up.


I think to even things up there should be "domestic arts" after school programming specifically for boys.

Jan 14, 13 9:48 am

i'm pretty sure there is a strong gender bias favoring men in science related fields.  the 'girls only' club would be one of many attempts at trying to reduce that.  i think boys are often more aggressive in group activities, such as a science lab.  providing a girl-only group might provide a more comfortable environment for them to work together and possibly spark an interest in the field.  of course, if they're trying to give the girls a competitive advantage by handicapping the boys and reducing their opportunities to learn, that would be counter-productive.

as an example of i what i'm thinking regarding boy aggressiveness in this case would be something like raising your hand and jumping up an down to get the teacher's attention or crowding out nearby students from the bunsen burner.  it's my understanding that young girls are less likely to do these sorts of things.

Jan 14, 13 9:49 am

Thanks guys! Yeah, it means an unexpected change of life plans but I am glad.  It really feels like the right thing at the right time.  Plus I really miss sinking my teeth into a project. 

That diner sounds cool Snook!  Post a pic??

Jan 14, 13 9:51 am
vado retro

boys and crocheting ROCK!

Jan 14, 13 10:32 am

You guys: I know.  I know all about how boys tend to dominate, I am, after all, a feminist woman in a male-dominated field.  But both your posts, toaster and curt, essentially say that "boys will be boys" and it is acceptable for boys to dominate girls in class because they will anyway.  Why can't we get to the root of the problem and make sure our BOYS know that they need to be fair? Why do we tend to cloister the girls away in a "safe space" instead of making the whole damn world SAFE FOR EVERYONE?

*That* is my point.

And by the way, true story: last semester Angus took a cake decorating class after school with both genders present, and the year before took a Mad Science after school course that was also both genders.  My school rocks this stuff, which is why I'm so pissed off that we've had a sudden change.

Jan 14, 13 11:59 am

at 7 and 5, my girls already defer to boys - even if the boys aren't being manic. would it be less distracting and more useful for them to be taught without the boys present? yes.

maybe instead of a separate program, the genders should just be separated for some time in their normal classes? i don't know. this is why catholic school was invented, right?! [being facetious.]

Jan 14, 13 12:10 pm

Personally, I don't see the point of separating genders for anything at school (except to save some embarrassment in sex ed classes - but only some of them).  Most of the single-gender schooled people I have known have had bizarre relationships with the other gender that have stretched well into adulthood. In every aspect of our daily lives we all have to interact with both genders, yes? So shouldn't we ALL learn how to manage that interaction respectfully?

My son loves to make jokes (and makes good ones) but he has had to learn when is an inappropriate time to make a joke and what are inappropriate things to joke about.  The point is he has *learned* it because the adults in his life, both at home and at school, have made an effort to teach him.  Why aren't we teaching girls to be equally as outspoken as boys and teaching boys to always be equally fair to everyone else?

Jan 14, 13 1:21 pm
Sarah Hamilton

I can't talk to younger grades, but I can tell you that in the HS, some girls would benefit from the lack of boys.  Case in point, Angela (not her real name).  When Angela is sitting alone at her computer, she speaks intelligently, and completes her assignments.  When Paul comes to class, her IQ level drops at least 100 points.  She giggles, and flirts, and plays dumb.  Paul of course, uses this as an opportunity to save the damsel in distress.  It's nauseating, but seems a survival instinct.

Donna, you've mentioned before in an argument about reproduction and our innate instinct to reproduce, that you can't change biological behavior.  Could it be that girls deferring to boys is survival and reproductive instinct, and not an intelligence one?

I love the idea of creating a boys only domestic arts class.  As I've mentioned before, Abram loves to sew and cook, and at the age of 4, he doesn't know there could be a stigma associated with it.  Besides, he sews boy things, like superhero capes, zombies, ect.

And, Beta, I'm going to assume it was a typo, but I am by no means 45.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Jan 14, 13 1:30 pm

But what would be the benefit of a boys ONLY domestic arts class? So the boys wouldn't be embarrassed that they like to sew? Does that imply that sewing is somehow unimportant because it's a woman's job and women are inferior?

We have to teach kids who are smart not to pretend to be dumb because being dumb is somehow cool.  This is just another battle in that war, as far as I'm concerned.

Jan 14, 13 2:30 pm
Sarah Hamilton

I think the benefit of an all boys sewing class would be in the themes and topics.  Boys could be shown that sewing is fun, and isn't a girl thing.  If I were teaching the class, I'd focus on uber-masculine, boyish themes, such as those themes that might not be general public appropriate, potty humor, blood and guts, that sort of stuff.  They'd sew eye-patches, and felt mustaches.  

I think it's less about being embarrassing, and inferior, and more about saying to the boys "hey, sewing is more than pillows and lace."  It's about opening their eyes to something they wouldn't otherwise try due to pre-conceived notions.

Jan 14, 13 2:48 pm
I'll disagree some. I don't see any importance to having gendered separation for elective subjects. Basically just for the ones that are both easily distracted-from and absolutely necessary.

I wish, Donna, that I believed just teaching good habits could beat the distraction and interruption problems, the aggressive versus submissive problems, and things similar. But there's limited time to get children to learn what they have to learn, lots of pressure to do it on a strict timetable, and I think behavioral challenges won't fit such timetables.

The things you're describing need to be taught, no question. But how to keep the bad habits from getting agead of the teaching?
Jan 14, 13 6:14 pm

to briefly interrupt serious talk of gender and education i will quote "oh you mean a Hotribuco-b-tripar? I'll call marketing"

Jan 14, 13 11:07 pm

kids bully outliers, and gender roles get reinforced by peer pressure.  i think that is what we are now supposed to call socialization. 

if there is anyway to get around that bullshit, including gender segregation for a class or two, it makes sense to have it.  teaching kids to be proper humans is properly the role of parents and schools together, but how to get schools into that position, really must be tough, just as steven points out.

so i guess its easier to take the step of teaching just the girls, and hope a few role models emerge and in 30 years maybe its not going to be so hard.

Jan 14, 13 11:12 pm

also Steven i just had a chance to read the house-style thread. i think you are right something has changed, given the majority of the thread (fun aside) was actually respectful and relevant.

night all!

Jan 15, 13 12:03 am

I can see both sides... for me I think I could've gained some confidence maybe learned more in classes without girls in subjects I wasn't confident in.  I was more often quiet if there was a girl I was attracted to in the room.  With other subjects this didn't really bother me.

I think most socialization for me happened in college...but also happens much more outside of school than in. 

I think the true test is to see if any girls actually sign up...if it's popular then it is indeed meeting a need IMO.

Jan 15, 13 3:45 am
vado retro

a conversation between my niece(m) and her ten year old son(p)...

m: payton you need a haircut before you go back to school.

p: i neither want or need a haircut.

m: it's pretty long. how will you get any chicks with hair like that?

p: i am focused on my academics. i don't need any chicks.

m: that's great. you're still getting a haircut.

Jan 15, 13 8:01 am
Sarah Hamilton
Vado, I can't believe a ten year old had THAT conversation. No way.

It's thunder snowing here, this morning. I'm desperately hoping for a snow day at school. Nice to get snow days again. Still waiting for the notice.
Jan 15, 13 8:27 am



what I mentioned is based on decades of research and several teachers I know experience in the classroom.   There are other ways of combating this (getting parents on board to support their daughters' interest in science and math - which is more difficult than it sounds, creating activities that show how science, engineering, and math can help society instead of  "making cool robots and lasers and explosions"), but unfortunately the most effective way to keep girls interested in science (especially around middle school) is to get rid of the boys.  Unless society changes dramatically it's currently the best solution we have.


I'm definitely with you on providing equal access to programming, though.  But I'm guessing the school is probably creating this program because they're seeing that girls are losing interest in science.


I think maybe suggesting that the mission of the after school science program should be about helping society and open to all kids?  I think more girls would sign up for this - but I don't know how many would stick with it.

Jan 15, 13 9:47 am

Just chiming in to say that as an adult, I've talked more and more with folks who went to gendered schools, and I've actually come to believe that I would have really, really liked going to school with just my gender.  Primarily in elementary / middle school, for me personally.  By high school I knew enough about myself that being with both genders was great for me.  But I definitely would have preferred just my gender in the younger years.  There was definitely a toxic, gendered environment surrounding me in elementary & middle schools (and I went to 5 different schools in this time period so it wasn't just the one school) where there were a lot of undercurrents of "girls are supposed to be this way" and "boys are supposed to be this way" that could be confusing and painful, and certainly interrupted learning.  Every single person I've talked to -- probably around 30 at this point -- who went to a single-gender school loved it, and described an environment where you just got to do whatever you wanted and there wasn't this weird shadow of "am I *supposed* to do this?"  I agree with Steven above that it isn't necessarily about how well-behaved the kids are - there's just some kind of undercurrent that happens when you have both genders together, regardless of how nice the kids are.  I had friends and the schools I went to were progressive, positive places where we really didn't have behavioral issues.  

Of course, that's just my anecdotal, personal 2 cents.  But I am a raging feminist and honestly the separation of the sexes I think can be very useful at times - for both genders.  That said - they should offer equal / opposite programming (yes I realize this goes against Brown vs. Board) - if they have a "girls go Science" afterschool thing they should also have a "boys go Science" one.

Jan 15, 13 10:41 am

I know a number of peeps who went to all Catholic Schools where genders were completely separated till the very end.

they all became raging sexaholics in college and beyond. All of 'em. So there's that.

Jan 15, 13 10:58 am

to add to to the discussion i went to a gender only school for like the first 8 yrs of my life and i do think it cuts down on some of the intra gender issues that can come up especially around puberty. That being said it did, I feel, make it a little harder to adapt to mixed gender once i moved on.

Jan 15, 13 11:13 am

Kids who went to few gender specific schools where I grew up always had better dirty jokes to tell.

Jan 15, 13 12:01 pm

interesting conversation, particularly given that i have a baby girl arriving in july... my tendency is to side with donna on this one, but you've all made some good arguments for separation... toaster mentioned (somewhat sarcastically i think) having a boys only home-ec class... do those classes even exist at all anymore? i suspect not in most schools... i do think that they should though and they should be required for everyone... i'm continuously amazed how many people, both men and women, don't have basic life skills like cooking, cleaning, money management, etc...

Jan 15, 13 12:14 pm

on a related note to the home-ec class thing... i coined a term the other day when my wife and i were talking about how different our current lifestyle and that of our soon-to-be daughter (urban, no car, healthy/fresh/local food, etc) is/will be from the lifestyles that we were raised in (suburban, car only, lots of fast food and stuff from boxes)... the term was "legacy weight"... we would both be considered over-weight, but all of our weight comes from before we moved to philadelphia, sold our cars, and started eating better... we've tried to lose the "legacy weight", but regardless of our current, relatively healthy lifestyle, we can't seem to get rid of it...

Jan 15, 13 12:21 pm
Sarah Hamilton

Phillip, my dad has a theory, although I don't know what it's based on, that however you are during puberty, physically, is how your body will be programmed for the rest of your life.  Meaning, that you can always get bigger, but however you are in Jr. High, is your default size.  So you may be stuck, unless you work really hard.


Our HS doesn't offer Home Ec, per se.  There is a culinary arts, and fashion design.  There is also nursing and health stuff, and then a special class for student who already have kids.

Jan 15, 13 1:41 pm

Sarah, it's a bit tricky. 

The prevailing theory is once you start putting on weight, your body begins to inflate fat cells. When you lose weight, those fat cells start to collapse. However, unless you massively gain weight, most people have the same number of fat cells— thin or otherwise.

The interesting thing is the shear number of redundancies; your body will fight as hard as possible to prevent those fat cells from collapsing and even produce their own set of hormones as a sort of "fat puberty."

Some aspects of your body, like bone size and density, are set by nutritional factors during childhood. And your father's set of walnuts maybe influenced by epigenetics which may increase a number of factors due to genes creating their own genetic outcomes based off of actions.

Other factors, like the amount of available testosterone, are related to diet. While potentially a dangerous recommendation, diets high in saturated fat produce higher levels of testosterone. And diets high in fiber reduce serum cholesterol. 

Naturally, if the goal is to radically change the body by increasing lean body mass via diet changes and exercise, it is necessary for someone to increase their testosterone levels as it increases muscle mass and tone. Exercise, in terms of compound weightlifting and endurance training, also causes hormonal changes that leads to body recomposition.

Most individuals, as they become adults, generally cease these kinds of activity that lead to hormonal changes. Women, in particular, often eschew heavy weights for fear of becoming "gross and bulky."  This is mostly a marketing sham driven by the most misogynistic social norms regarding a woman's ability, worth and self-image. That, however, is an unlikely scenario since most women lack the testosterone levels to sustain muscle mass seen in athletic men.

It's a rather complicated issue— there's misconceptions about diet issues ranging from calories, protein intake and whether fats should be limited. But, generally, your body is not entirely set it stone.

Jan 15, 13 2:36 pm

Re: home ec for guys... 

My grandfather's mother grew up with 5 younger brothers, and because she was the oldest, she was expected to take care of them all.  Darning, cooking, ironing, food shopping, laundry washing, everything, for years and years.  She vowed that if she ever had any sons, she would make sure they knew how to, and did do, everything around the house.  And boy was she a task master!  So my grandfather and his brothers grew up doing all of that.  She taught them each precisely, the best ways to do everything, when they were quite young, and then they did housework from then till they left the house.  You might say "that's what guys do today" but it went far beyond that.  To this day I don't know many 10 year olds - especially not boys! - who can sew, and cook, and launder even delicates.  And of course that was before laundry machines.  To the end of his life my grandfather was a very capable man who did lots around the house.  And the tradition has carried on, and I will do the same thing if I ever have sons.

Jan 15, 13 4:54 pm

we have 3 girls.  school here is pretty cool since gender is not such an issue. boys and girls all take shop class and cooking and sewing.  at least up til end of elementary school.  will see what happens fairly soon i suppose.

i don't buy dolls for the girls and we go to science museum several times a year.  math is big deal here as well, so they are cool with the basics.  which is a mystery to me, because when they get into the work force so many women in japan are treated abysmally and tend to do low paying jobs with the expectation that they should get married and quit when a kid is born...usa is much better in that regard. you got some wacky  and/or creepy ideas about sex (none of that here, by the way) but gender equality is much more advanced.


that's interesting philip.  i saw a bbc documentary on weight recently and they seemed to prove that body weight is kind of set in adults.  weight gain and loss happens with effort (they had skinny folks scarf down megaloads of calories to get heavy, and vice versa) and the study group all went back to their previous weight within a month or two.  health is more important than weight regardless, and sounds like you are ahead on that score.

Jan 15, 13 7:30 pm

Big day tomorrow, I'm essentially re-interviewing for my job.

Jan 15, 13 10:53 pm

bloody hell that is ridiculous.  good luck to you donna!

Jan 16, 13 12:17 am

fuck good luck. you will be great!

I just saw some Neville and Wooton NOLA funk/jazz. good-night TC.

Jan 16, 13 12:22 am


Jan 16, 13 8:07 am
Sarah Hamilton
Snook, I can't decide if you're just that excited, or it's an autocad kind of day.

Donna, you rock at all you do. Remember that.
Jan 16, 13 8:38 am

I think snook's always that excited.


good luck, donna.


I think there are a few people on this forum who would be willing to design Glenn Beck's Texas utopia - except you cannot use any smart growth (aka agenda 21) principles - and you cannot really design it because it's supposed to be libertarian - but it's supposed to look like suburbia because that's what you get when you get rid of zoning laws.

Jan 16, 13 10:02 am

Meeting got pushed to tomorrow. 26 more hours of stress instead of 2. Blerg.

Jan 16, 13 12:11 pm
snook_dude they have time to get dressed.

Jan 16, 13 12:23 pm

Yeah, and I wasted wearing my suit on a day no one will see it!! Guess I'll wear my other suit tomorrow and hope the meeting doesn't move back again!

Jan 16, 13 12:41 pm

all dressed up an nowhere to go?  you should go out and get a few margaritas for lunch!  that will make the waiting much more bearable.

don't stress too much.  you'll do great.

Jan 16, 13 12:44 pm
vado retro

cat vibes, lb. cat vibes!

Jan 16, 13 2:57 pm

Good luck Donna!.

Jan 16, 13 6:29 pm

sounds like beck is perfect for texas (sorry Sarah).  he could join the secessionists and help give them some credibility.

bummer, donna.

Jan 16, 13 7:39 pm

it's supposed to look like suburbia because that's what you get when you get rid of zoning laws.

ha ha, I know you're joking toaster, but anyone who thinks lack of zoning laws = suburban bliss needs to visit rural Arizona.  Ha hahaha.  Trash and shit all over the place.  Sewage treatment plant randomly sitting next to an intersection, country club next to that, fencing in strange places and not in useful places, power lines just willy nilly, all kinds of crap.  Oh man is it ugly and dispiriting.  Sadly it does in fact require zoning laws to create suburbia, as we all know, but how sad to think that people have spent so much time intentionally working hard to craft laws that end up creating McSubdivisions and strip malls...  Ah well I guess that was in fact an improvement on the tenements of the time.  Oh if the folks in the early developments could see what it would lead to... 

Jan 17, 13 12:51 am

sorry, I had probably had too much beer to make sense.  G'night.  Donna you will kick ass tomorrow.  You own that shit!

Jan 17, 13 12:55 am

anyone know how to convert GIS shp files to dxf data really easily?

Jan 17, 13 4:06 am


Is that the Goal Keeper for the Next World Football Games?

Jan 17, 13 7:10 am
Sarah Hamilton
Will, you should venture out, and start a thread for your question. I'm sure there's some helpful student out there who can help you.

And Houston has no zoning, but it works there.

As for Glenn Beck, can't we send him somewhere rugged, like Montana? Although he would fit in wonderfully with the good ole boys at the capital.
Jan 17, 13 8:46 am

Snook, that's definitely the goal keeper.

Jan 17, 13 10:12 am

yeah suppose that is best way, sarah.

i thought montana was more realist myself, but i'm biased.  my image of texas is like disneyland for republicans. sorry sarah!

as far as zoning goes, it's kinda cool that houston has defacto zoning, instead of official zoning, so it ends up lookin like any other american city.  makes a person wonder which controls are real and which ones are for show...whether it works or not is a bit of a toss-up ;-) 

Jan 17, 13 10:48 am

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