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Media madness:

Boston Globe "gender" advice for 10-year-olds: Ignore outated manners from traditional-minded teacher

July 15, 2009

It never quits, does it?

Two days before the transgender hearing the Globe (probably by coincidence) printed this advice column. The Globe's "Miss Manners" tells a 10-year-old that he ought to ignore the outdated manners about how men should treat women that his Neanderthal teacher tried to teach him.

We suspect that a real 10-year-old didn't write this letter. It sounds too much like a setup to portray people with traditional values as extreme and chauvinistic. Things like are known to happen in certain journalistic circles.

And notice that Miss Manners isn't content just to give her opinion; she twists the knife at the end of her answer make sure the 10-year-old has the desired perception.

His and her rules
By Robin Abrahams | July 12, 2009
[Link to article on Globe web site]

Does gender dictate who does what?

Q: I am 10 years old. My fourth-grade teacher taught my class that girls always go first and boys are to hold doors and help girls with their coats. He says that when a girl comes to or leaves the table, boys are supposed to stand up. A lady's job is to help the men be gentlemen by letting the men do these things. These guidelines seem old-fashioned and unfair. My mother suggested I ask you what current etiquette should be and what it may be when I am an adult? H.T. / Medway

A: Some people think etiquette should be different for boys and girls or men and women, like your teacher does, and some people think it should be the same for both. People who think etiquette should be gender-neutral (the second kind) still practice good manners but don't think it should depend on who's a boy and who's a girl. They will hold the door for someone who has packages or who is behind them, and stand or not depending on how formal the occasion is and how old the person is that they're greeting.

Mostly, at work or school, manners are the same for men and women. People are likely to be more traditional about etiquette in dating or social situations. So it's good to learn both ways. Etiquette isn't just one thing; there are different manners for different situations -- just like you have different clothes for school and soccer and church. Since you asked, though, I do think manners are changing. Probably by the time you are an adult most people will practice "same for both" manners, except for a small handful of people who don't and are very angry at the people who do and write letters to people like me.