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Secondary 2, English, Worksheet 3 – tbc

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Secondary 2, English, Worksheet 3 – tbc

Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.

Boys and Girls

“What are little girls made up of?

Sugar and spice

and all the things nice.

That’s what little girls are made of.

What are little boys made of?

Snips and snails

and puppy dogs’ tails.

That’s what little boys are made of.”

That’s how a nursery rhyme goes. We know that boys and girls are different but are they born that way or is it because of the way they are brought up? Girls are expected to behave like girls: when two-year Jane tries to climb up Daddy’s stepladder, she is scolded and told to play with her cookery set. Her brother, however, is encouraged to try out the ladder and other similar ‘boyish’ stunts.

Bothe parents and experts say that boys and girls do behave differently. By the age of one year, these differences are quite clear. Boys are more active and tend to become physically aggressive when they are upset. Girls, on the other hand, are gentler and when they are unhappy, they tend to cry or complain. Why the difference? Some psychologists think that this may be due to the way parents treat their kids: boys and girls are treated differently as soon as they are born. This can be seen even from the time the child is a baby. You can hear proud parents saying. “He’s big but that’s because he’s a boy, or she’s small but that’s good because when she grows up she won’t be taller that her husband.” These comments are sometimes heard even when there is absolutely no difference in size between babies.

As the children grow older, the differences are stretched further. When you walk into a little girl’s room you can immediately tell that it is a girl’s room. Most probably the walls will be a light pink, there will be soft toys lying around and maybe a doll’s house or mini kitchen set. You would not find these things in a boy’s room. Fire engines, toy soldiers, cars, guns and a blue bed are far more likely. Why do parents emphasize these differences? The reasons may be many. A boy is not put in dresses and given dolls to play with because there is the fear that he may grow up to be a ‘sissy’. Some experts believe that boys brought up in a feminine environment might later become homosexuals. Parents also want their children to fit into society. They do not want to be embarrassed by a daughter who climbs trees and shoot guns all day. As the child progresses to nursery and kindergarten, peer pressure takes over. Boys expect other boys to be like them. A boy who is afraid to go down a high slide will be labeled a coward and become a group outcast. This pressure to be like others of the same sex further differentiates boys and girls.

However, are parents and peers solely responsible for the differences in the sexes? Some experts believe that biology also plays a part. A boy has bigger and stronger muscles that a girl by the age of one year. So it is easier for him to be more aggressive. A girl, on the other hand, is not as strong. So she may find it easier to get what she wants by crying and complaining than by hitting and punching. Another factor could be speech development. Girls tend to speak earlier than boys. Maybe the boy becomes more aggressive than his sister because he is frustrated at not being able to say what he wants.

So we can see that both social training and biological factors play a part in making boys and girls what they are.