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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Same-Sex Schools?

Studies have shown that girls tend to do better in same-sex schools and boys tend to do better in mixed schools (in the UK). I've had mixed-gender schooling throughout my time of education, so have no experience with attending a same-sex school. This post is, as usual, going to be my personal opinion on it, because opinions are fun to have, yay...

I think the good thing about attending a same-sex school is that at a young age, when going through puberty, its easier to be around people the same gender as you because they relate to what you're going through regarding hormonal changes. Lots of changes happen aged 11-16,  and with things like periods for girls and growth spurts for boys, as well as sex education, its less awkward to talk about these things around those the same gender as you.

Moreover, men and women have different brains and learn in different ways, so learning can be tailored to girls and boys in a different way. There are also less distractions - perhaps one of the reasons girls tend to do better in same-sex schools is because they're not competing for attention from boys, and so can focus on themselves.

However, the main reason why I am against same-sex schools and pro-mixed education is our world is full of guys and girls. If from a young age you're only around the same gender as you, how are you going to be able to relate to the opposite sex? This problem seems to affect boys more; boys who attend all-boys schools tend to have trouble relating to girls later in life. This is probably because women are more complex than men, and so without being used to being around girls, boys could grow up not relating to them.

Eventually, as an adult attending university or being in the work place, you are going to be around both sexes, so I don't think it makes sense to segregate the sexes at a young age. Men and women should coexist well in the world, not view each other as 'the other' (which could lead to internalized sexism from either side). Moreover, there are girls that may get along better with guys and guys that may get along better with girls; just because someone has the same genitals as you doesn't mean you'll relate better. I have more close female friends than male friends, but in general I get along better with guys and experience less overall discomfort around them because guys tend to not exhibit the callous or judgy behaviour that some girls can.

With lots of girls in the same environment, this could provide fuel for competing in terms of looking the best or being the thinnest. (One of my favourite books, Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill, perfectly describes what can go wrong in a female environment under high emotional pressure).  Also, for people who don't grow up in a mixed-gender family environment, going to a same-sex school could create a 'bubble.' If a woman grew up with just her mother at home and went to a girls' school, how would she be able to understand guys later on? What would happen when it came to dating or wanting a life partner?

As for homosexuals, same-sex education is probably the hardest for them, particularly gay boys. I can only imagine how difficult it must be, being surrounded by those of the same gender as you yet feeling unable to express your sexuality for fear of being ostracised. Back in my secondary school girls used to say 'ew, going to a girl's school would make you turn lesbian.' Obviously you can't 'turn' lesbian, but perhaps its a similar effect of prison - as a heterosexual, with your preferred gender not around, you may end up turning to those of the same gender for comfort. I don't know how true that is, and obviously that's not a bad thing, but humans do need comfort and dating is part of growing up. Who knows; in an environment where I was used to girls and didn't understand guys, maybe that dormant bisexual side of me would come alive!

Haha. Anyway, this is just me tapping out my thoughts. What do you think? Did you attend mixed or homogeneous schools? Which do you think is better? Do you agree that it's better to attend a mixed school because it sets you up for life? Lemme know below!


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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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