If I had a daughter, I would try my damnedest to get her into a single-sex school.
The latest research showing that girls do better in single-sex education will come as no surprise to any headmistress of a girl’s school over the past 100 years.
Teenage boys are a pain in the arse. They distract girls from lessons. They like girls to be stupid, and they make girls pay the price for being clever.
I was a clever girl, as you might have guessed from my snippiness on this matter (the word ‘clever’, in my background, coming with the word ‘dick’ invisibly attached to it). From the age of 11 onwards, boys made my life a bloody misery at school. Much of the attention was sexual, designed to humiliate – endlessly twanging my bra strap, etc, endlessly mimicking my voice whenever I answered a question correctly. It is a hard thing to go through at puberty.
Luckily for me, I had a pretty thick skin and was also a good boxer (legacy of a bullying older brother), so I could hold my own fairly well. But it does get very wearing to see the stupid girls with big tits getting all the attention – it definitely made me aggressive and dismissive of the male gender.
Clever girls, in my experience, don’t get many dates. No teenage boy wants to be seen with a girl who gets higher grades than he does, at least if he attends the same school as her. Most of the clever girls in my year dated boys from other schools, or older boys who’d already left and were at university.
I thought then, and I think now, that it is the classes that should not be mixed-sex. Playgrounds – fine. Boys and girls can mingle there without having to compete. Common rooms – fine.
But the fact that girls do better than boys at every level in school, particularly in ‘male’ subjects like science and maths, proves a definite disadvantage in the classroom, where girls often dumb down in order to be accepted socially. I saw many a clever girl pretending to be stupid in order to get male attention, or choosing girlier subjects in order to please, and it’s a lesson that no woman should learn, to deliberately make herself inferior to a man.