Julia Gabbert gives her view on how women have internalized society's double standards. Gabbert thinks…
Fighting for equal opportunity
The road is essentially paved for this generation of college women. Women no longer have to fight to be allowed to study. There are now 2 million more women in higher education than men. This is significant because there are more men than women ages 18-24 in the U.S.—15 million men and 14.2 million women.
But what does this mean?
Though the generation in college may not see much of a difference in college enrollment, anyone who has been around an extra couple of decades can probably comment on this.
Many feminists may assume the battle is won. But what battle was that? The real fight wasn’t for one gender to achieve over another, it was to get as close as we could get to equality.
In Don Kindlon’s book “Alpha Girls: Understanding the New American Girl and How She is Changing the World,” Kindlon speaks about a new “emancipated psychology” this generation of college women are going through.
The idea is more and more females are, “no longer slowed down by empathy or emotionality, and are now free to pursue success with rabid dog competitiveness.” Though it may sound great that girls are feeling unstoppable, there are a few underlying problems our society has become excellent at overlooking. What’s the meaning of success? What does lack of empathy create?
At some point overachieving can be harmful to girls, especially when boys are slacking. Due to high numbers of overqualified girls, colleges are practicing affirmative action in favor of boys. Allowing underqualified men into colleges, though it may give some men more chances than they would have in a different scenario, reinforces the slacker “man-boy” idea, which more and more young men are making their own. Man-boy is practically a term of endearment, but the word “woman-girl” doesn’t exist.
Unfortunately, even when colleges practice affirmative action in favor of males, the number of males attending college has been dropping the last couple decades. According to the 1990 census, 45 percent of college students were males. By 2000, the percentage was down to 44 percent, and ten years later men make up 43 percent of college students. Once again, the number could be lower.
Jim McCorkell, founder of Admission Possible, a program that helps low-income students prepare for college, has worked with the issue firsthand.
“Last year, 30 percent of the students were boys,” McCorkell said. “This fall, that has inched up to 34 percent, but only because of a little affirmative action.”
What happens when good grades, awards, prizes and promotions aren’t satisfying enough for women, but somehow don’t seem motivating enough for young men? When this generation of women look at what the baby boomer generation of “super women” did, it opens up infinite possibilities. Because these women were raised on ideals of achieving and overachieving, they may never be satisfied.
Trends of women overachieving correlate with an increase in eating disorders and anxiety. Seven million women have an eating disorder in the U.S. and panic-based disorders and depression are twice as likely in women. Women are more prone to these problems by nature, but not to the extent seen in recent decades. Courtney E. Martin, feminist speaker and author, said, “don’t mistake the accomplishments for health.”
The National Council for Education Statistics shows that girls outperform boys in reading and writing tests, AP courses, academic clubs and in student offices. But why are these boys so unmotivated? Is it because girls are doing it so it’s no longer cool?
This is a great example of complacency and the problems it can cause: complacency on behalf of the young men dropping out of high school and college even when blue-collar jobs are increasingly unavailable, complacency of everyone else for letting it slide by for a couple decades now.
Though I found ample amounts of information regarding women, it’s been hard finding more than census statistics on the males. Is it time for a men’s studies course here and there?
It is a mistake to call this a sign of women’s progress because it takes everyone — both sexes — to truly achieve equilibrium. It may be a lack of wisdom on either end that is causing this reversal.