From the Braver Institite
While on the phone with my good friend Wayne Genghis the other day, the subject of the differences between men and women came up. I mentioned that these differences go back to childhood. I also mentioned that it is said that girls mature earlier than boys. Wayne immediately responded that he has never believed that, and that he thinks that story was made up by researchers who were tasked with finding something to report as a result of their research so they could continue to receive funding for more research.
While I am not sure as to the legitimacy of such things, I did have to admit that I have seen a lot of evidence to refute those findings. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that boys and girls mature at the same age, or that it at least depends on the person.
As of this writing my teenage daughter is a huge fan of some boy-band (and I use the word “band” with the least amount of musical ability I can attach to it) called No Direction, or Wrong Way, or something like that. I am sure that by the time this goes to press the “band” will be relinquished to the corners of the dust bin of music history and my daughter will have moved on to the next earcandy superstars of the nanosecond.
This whole scenario has repeated itself over and over since the beginning of teenage heartthrobs. With the exception of Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and maybe the Beatles, few have ever gone on to be taken seriously, musically speaking. They existed solely to make money off of adolescent and teenage girls.
Boys are rarely caught up in the hysteria of such things. Popstar dujours were never created for boys. Boys are much too mature to fall for such things.
When I was my daughter’s age my friends and I were listening to Foghat, Aerosmith, Humble Pie, Ted Nugent, and Pink Floyd. Essentially we were listening to our big brother’s music. My brother, Farr, is ten years older than I am. It was his record collection I was tapping into. My sister, on the other hand, was listening to Shaun Cassidy, and Leif Garrett. Remember them? I didn’t think so. The music collection her and her friends were listening to came from the K-Tel label.
The girls liked their pop idols because they were cute. Not because they were talented. Boys, on the other hand, liked Cheryl Tiegs and Farrah Fawcett because they too were cute. I have no idea if they were talented. I am thankful that they didn’t sing, but then again we wouldn’t have listened anyway.
Sure, there were cute pop stars who were girls, but even then their primary listenership consisted of teenage girls. Sure, The Go-Gos and The Bangles were easy on the eyes, but their music made boy’s ears bleed.
The bedrooms of teenage girls were adorned with posters featuring Andy Gibb, The Bay City Rollers, and Donny Osmond. The posters in the bedrooms of teenage boys, on the other hand, consisted of the posters that came with the Dark Side of the Moon lp, posters of motorcycles and cars, and of course posters of Cheryl Tiegs and Farrah Fawcett (but they weren’t singers so they don’t count against us).
The girls also liked all of the magazines that were full of the latest photos and gossip about their idols. Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, and the other magazines of their ilk were the mainstays of a teen girls reading. Oh maybe they would read Seventeen to look more mature, but that was only to impress their friends.
As boys, we were reading Rolling Stone because we were mature enough to really care about the music. We were also mature enough to be reading such fare as Hot Rod, Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Popular Mechanics, Playboy (for the articles), and National Geographic (in the absence of Playboy, again for the articles), all respected magazines in the world of mature people.
To me this is all close to overwhelming proof that the researchers were wrong, and girls do not mature earlier than boys. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pick up the latest issue of Mad magazine.
— — —