Why do guys care only about looks

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Photo: Prof. Dr. med. Michael Schulte-Markwort

Nobody wants it, but everyone has it: prejudices! Drawer open, view in, drawer closed. Girls and boys are forced into stereotypes early on, which have consequences for their development. If adolescents dare to break out of these roles, it is difficult for them. We spoke to Prof. Dr. med. Michael Schulte-Markwort, Medical Director of the Center for Psychosocial Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and Medical Director of the Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics on Gender Imbalance.

What is really true about such stereotypes?
These stereotypes have long been completely outdated. All of these characteristics can apply to both girls and boys today. Stereotypes are always subject to a change of times. In addition, there are no personality stereotypes. The development of a child depends solely on how it is socialized, in which groups it grows up and feels that it belongs. If girls or boys behave contrary to these stereotypes, it is primarily the parents who find this strange or even a problem. Such astonishment tacitly ensures that stereotypes are maintained. For example, the fear that their child might become homosexual is increasing. Homosexuality is not something that has been trained, but a disposition with which one is born. Upbringing can't change that - you can't educate someone to be homosexual. Parents should let their children experiment and, above all, be open to all stereotypes in all directions.

The anatomical differences such as body structure, muscle and fat distribution and of course gender itself are innate. This alone results in a feeling of belonging to a group, a different experience. Boys are “naturally” more aggressive, girls more receptive. This is due, among other things, to the different hormonal makeup of boys and girls.

In school, boys tend to do worse than girls. Why? I would like to use the word rivalry to describe it in the sense of sibling rivalry, because that has nothing to do with intelligence. When a role in the community is filled, an often opposing role is automatically taken on. At school, girls have taken on a role that is better adapted to the school system than that of boys. The boys are often less disciplined and are also socially dependent on the girls of the same age. This often leads to an unhappy dynamic in which the girls are the "hardworking" and the boys are the "lazy". After many years of promoting the emancipation of girls, the wind has turned. Now we would have to take care of the young more.

What do you think of gender-neutral upbringing?
Gender-neutral upbringing doesn't work. Gender is a central part of identity. Our emotional, physical and social fabric is made up of two genders and they are the basis of all life. From kindergarten through puberty, it is important for children to develop a gender identity and to become aware of their gender, to belong to a group - be it that of the girls or that of the boys. They do not have to conform to any stereotypes. Existing role expectations are repeatedly broken through but also taken over. Parents should be aware of the stereotypes they embody and to what extent they, perhaps unconsciously, transfer them to their children.

Gender-neutral upbringing
In the case of gender-neutral upbringing, parents primarily try to reproduce as few gender stereotypes as possible when dealing with their child. Every child should develop as they want - without the limits that are imposed on them by a gender.

Boys at school - the disadvantaged sex

The results of educational research studies show that there are differences in the learning success of girls and boys. The performance record of boys in school is worse than that of girls: girls leave school less often than boys without any qualifications. Their school-leaving qualifications are less often limited to a secondary school leaving certificate than that of boys and they are more likely to achieve an intermediate qualification or even higher education entrance qualification than boys (Konsortium Bildungsberatung 2006).

Both the "International Elementary School Reading Examination" (IGLU) and the PISA performance study with 15-year-olds made it clear that girls perform better than boys, at least in the linguistic area. The PISA study also showed poor performance among girls in the MINT subjects (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology). Despite their less favorable school record, boys are more confident and think they are smarter.

"Boys are now actually disadvantaged in the education system," says Prof. Dr. med. Michael Schulte-Markwort, Medical Director of the Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics at the UKE. "We should now take care of a new emancipation of the young," said Schulte-Markwort. The most important reason for the poor grades of boys are role models that shape behavior: making an effort for school is accepted among girls, but is often considered uncool among boys. To strive for success in school, to adapt and to follow the instructions of the teacher does not seem to fit the often prevailing ideal of masculinity. Of course there are also boys who get through school without any problems, as well as girls who are blessed with a lot of temperament and the urge to move - but these exceptions confirm the rule.

For boys only - no way!

Boys go to soccer and martial arts, girls to dancing and horse riding. These boundaries have now softened and it is more and more common that you also see girls in boys' sport, which is mainly based on competition and performance, and vice versa. For example, “NANDU.RUN - Parkour & Freestyle Gymnastics” is about overcoming obstacles and fears, getting to know your body and expanding your limits. Girls and boys alike have fun running, jumping, landing, falling and climbing in the sports hall and outdoors. There are no competitions, everyone trains individually on their strengths and weaknesses. And the trainers cheer and give assistance.

"NANDU.RUN" trains regularly in Wedel and Hamburg and offers birthday parties, holiday courses and school groups for children from 6 years of age. Younger children can take part in the “Family Parkour” with their parents. All information at www.nandu.run


The project "ROBERTA - Girls Conquer Robots" aims to increase girls' knowledge in the fields of science, technology and information technology. More information: www.roberta-home.de/kids/

Girls and Boys Day
Girls and boys in grades 5 to 10 can find out about professions that are rarely chosen by women / men and get to know more atypical professions. The next Girls and Boys Day is on March 26, 2020. More information: www.girls-day.de and www.boys-day.de, especially for Hamburg: www.wasfuerjungs.de

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