Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A frustrating article

This is an interesting article that would have been far better if they either left off the the gender angle or fully explored it.

As a synopsis, the article is really about the pressures of being an overall overachiever teenager in an affluent suburb. I could insert my own experience here as an overachiever from an affluent suburb, but...this article is made out to be about overachieving teenage girls.

This could be an interesting angle. Anecdotally, it was certainly the case that most of the all-around overachievers in my high school were girls. The male overachievers tended to be very field specific, whereas the female overachievers tended to be broader spectrum. Many of the top male students showed skewed academic strengths, performing much better in, say, math and science than history or foreign language, whereas many of the top female students were more even across the board. More of the top girls were both on sports teams and in musical groups than were the top boys. And a much higher percentage of the honors students were girls than boys. There were exceptions of course--I was actually one of them--but as a general trend this was the way of things in my high school when I was there. Anecdotes are not very reliable, but I'd like to know if this is a generally true trend. An analysis of the different patterns displayed by overachievers of the two sexes would be potentially quite interesting.

As it is, though, this piece is of the sort I find really annoying. It comes very close to an interesting topic, but doesn't actually address it. And that's just frustrating.

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