Sociology prof shares ‘boy crisis’ insights with NPR affiliate in southern Oregon

In an interview on the Jefferson Exchange program, Professor Amy Orr linked poor performance to narrowly defined gender roles. She also spoke about changing family patterns in a Statesman Journal article. 

“Boys score higher on standardized tests, but receive lower grades, rack up more discipline problems and drop out in greater numbers,” Orr says.

Her research links poor performance to narrowly defined gender roles. The boy crisis, she says, is less about academic aptitude and more about the way we view masculinity, and the issue goes beyond parents and schools. It’s a societal issue.

Restrictive ideas about masculinity may encourage boys to act out in the classroom, according the sociology professor. Aggressive and unruly behavior detracts from learning and puts boys at odds with teachers, who tend to reward positive social behavior with good grades.

Children who receive poor grades often tune out. Lack of engagement over the long term can lead to dropping out or failing to continue education beyond high school.

Research shows that participation in traditionally feminine activities benefits children regardless of gender, and when both boys and girls enlarge their gender boundaries, it creates conditions for children who are happier, healthier and more successful.

Orr also shared insights with the Statesman Journal and Reno-Gazette about how the economy is altering family patterns.


Listen to the Jefferson Exchange podcast at NPR