Analysis of the Book Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax

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The book Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax helps shed light on the mystifying world of gender stereotypes that has long been unnoticed. The author thoroughly analyzed the differences with not only his own experience but also qualified scientific researches and statistics. In his work, he explained the biological difference which is the main factor contributing to the uniqueness of different stereotypes. Inborn physiology of different genders has influence on risk taking, aggression, discipline, learning, sex, and drugs in distinguished ways. Leonard Sax’s ground-breaking finding on genders is the guidance for teachers as well as parents to follow. Besides showing the readers the differences in two genders’ brain and how they react towards a situation, the author provides teachers and parents the most efficient solutions to educate and discipline their children. Different approaches in educating different genders are important since the methods are designed to develop the children’s potential in a way that their physiology is compatible.

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In order to prove his point in encouraging single-gender education, Leonard Sax cites a number of scientific researches on analyzing the brains and behaviors of two genders. From experiments on premature babies, it is concluded that “Average girl baby had an acoustic brain response 80% greater than the average of baby boy”, which means newborn baby girls hear better than newborn baby boys. In other experiments of Cambridge University, the researchers conclude that the girls are born prewired to be interested in faces while boys are prewired to be more interested in moving objects. Different experiments by Concordia University found that boys prefer trucks over dolls more strongly than the girls prefer dolls over trucks. The difference in girls’ and boys’ hearing ability and innate preference have major implication on how parents and teachers talk to the children, choose suitable ways of educating children from two genders, and most importantly respect their inborn tendency. The mentioned experiments and researches raised questions on the current co-ed and emphasized the importance of single-gender education. Different genders have different needs. To teachers, it is more difficult for them to deal with mixed-gender classroom since each gender needs different education methods. Then, in a single-gender classroom, general methods to deal with the students will be applied more efficiently because they work on that specific gender. However, from the experiments, the author also suggests a method dealing with mixed-genders classroom. Since the boys’ hearing ability is not as good as the girls’, teachers should put the boys in the front row in order for the boys to hear and focus better in some cases. Before reading Why Gender Matters, I have never thought that single-gender education is that essential. Reading the experiments on the hearing ability of boys and girls and researches on how their amygdala works differently that Leonard Sax mentioned, I was taken aback. I always thought that my father yelled at me although he himself admitted that he never did. Whenever I asked him why he was yelling at me, he said that he did not. I remember one time a teacher asked a friend of mine what he felt about the movie we just watched in class. He told her that he felt nothing. I used to fathom the idea that my dad and my friend were just joking and not telling the truth. However, Leonard Sax’s discuss on the difference in genders explained my dad’s and my friend’s weird answers to my questions. From my experiences, I believe that specific parenting styles towards each gender are vital as well as having single-gender academic education. Children from different gender perceive information and have the feeling towards it in different ways, which it is impossible for the other gender to judge. Understanding the radical differences of the two genders may help parents and teachers a lot when dealing with children.

Drugs abusing is always a great concern in the United States, especially when the victims are teenagers. There are ways kids purchase such substances that it is not easy for parents and teachers to find out. In the book, the author analyzed the cause, the ways, and the solutions for drugs abusing in teenagers. Sax stated that girls and boys turn to drugs for different reasons. While girls mostly use drugs to lose weight or calm down, boys get involved with drugs to look cool or have excitement of doing something dangerous. In addition, boys are likely to buy drugs from strangers while girls buy drugs from who they know. These facts implied that particular solutions are needed to prevent drugs abusing in advance or intervene when it’s not too late. Approaches to solve the problems are different for boys and girls. For daughters, parents should make sure they understand the detrimental effect of drugs abusing by showing them facts from reliable sources. Due to the fact that girls are likely to get drugs from friends and that transactions are usually at home, parents need to know their friends and their friends’ parents. Parents also need to check on her frequently and be aware of where she is exactly. For sons, consistent discipline is applied. Direct punishment and taking away their privilege are the most efficient ways. Solutions to one problem in dealing with girls are different from dealing with boys. Applying parenting method in preventing drugs abusing on girls for boys may have the opposite consequences. One-size cannot fit all in preventing teenagers’ drugs abusing situation.

I barely knew anything about teenagers’ drugs and alcohol abusing before coming to the United States. In Vietnam, drugs and alcohol abusing or even smoking is not that common among teenagers. After reading Leonardo Sax’s work and living in the dorm really opened my eyes about what is happening in American teenagers’ society. It is shocking for me to know that almost 50% of high school seniors have abused a drug of some kind, 43% of high school seniors have used marijuana, by 8th grade 15.5% of kids have smoked cigarettes, 58% of sophomores have abused alcohol. It is obviously that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and illegal drugs are banned. In Vietnam, 34% of sophomores have used alcohol and approximately 27.2% high school students have abused illegal stimulants of any kind ( while there is no legal drinking or smoking age there. Using drugs, drinking, and smoking in the United States is a means to fit in the society somehow. My friends living in the same dorm with me go to parties every weekend drinking, and smoking. It is a normal thing for them to do regardless of the law. The legal drinking age in the United States maybe the motivation for teenagers to try using alcohol before they turn 21. Teenagers are rebellious. The more they are banned from something, the more they try doing the opposite. It is overwhelming to know that the percentage of teenagers have used drugs is higher in America than in Vietnam although of course, the government’s management is much more better here. The government needs to take stronger actions towards preventing the use of drugs, especially in teenagers before the abusing destroys its’ future. Parents are changing their ways of discipline their children. Today more parents lose their authority over their children.

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