Monday, July 10, 2006

Dude, Where's My Diploma?

I really enjoyed reading this article in today's Times, about how today's college women are pushing themselves far harder than their male counterparts, which translates to ladies taking home far more honors and awards than the guys. From the tone of the article, it seems that college men are more content to coast by with average grades, pushing away studies in favor of video games.

I'm not shocked by the findings the article reported. That sounds pretty similar to what went on when I went to college. Even in my personal experience, I did my fair share of cramming at the last minute and slacking off, but my boyfriend at the time beat my laziness handily with his lack of concern about academic life. I was the one who worked hard at extra classes to gain experience and evening jobs to make money (and gain experience), and he was the one who mastered Bond and actually became enraptured with soap operas because he was so bored during the day. He also sported a ridiculous level of hubris about his intellect: pride in his ability to beat anyone at Trivial Pursuit, trade with the best of them in Fantasy Baseball, and contribute to any conversation about politics, music, or the state of our chosen major. I hated that he was so lazy and so sure of himself at the same time: something the Times article backs up completely as the mindset of most college men. I also worried for our future: that I'd always be embarrassed by his sloth, that he wouldn't be able to hold up his half of the relationship financially, that scenario after scenario I'd have to be the responsible one. I didn't feel that I deserved that kind of pressure.

What I think the article should have addressed is not only that it's going to be hard for college women to find a date with much fewer men applying to college than ever before; it's that (I think) the very dynamic of male-female romantic relationships from here on out should be called into question. Although it's wonderful that women have been making these strides, how long will it be before women are responsible for everything in their and their husbands' lives: the housekeeping, the children, spirituality, and bringing in enough money so that they and their families can get by? It's essential that women now have the option to go into the work force (and of course women are far better off than they were in the 1950s), but how far away are we as women from courting glorified teenage slackers who expect us to manage their lives, just as their mothers did?

To me, that's scarier than the possibility of a gender imbalance on campus.


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