To be fair, girls are often more flexible and able to stretch themselves into positions that many boys cannot achieve, but boys generally have more strength, although they rarely seem to use it, preferring to say that their arms ache, and then lean back into their harness (which will make their arms ache more). Girls will also pick up the action of belaying (keeping the rope tight and secure) much more quickly.
I must state that this is a generalisation and on their own certain boys can achieve things that most girls of that age would not, such as climbing the Jacob’s Ladder by themselves, a very difficult challenge and one that requires height, strength and a certain agility. In a group of 12 year-6 kids I had the other day, two boys managed this, however in the two groups of three girls that went together, both times two of the girls also reached the top through a mixture of teamwork, encouragement and determination, while none of the other boys made it past half way. I should also add that, from my observations, as they get older boys are more likely to give things a go and achieve more, while the girls become less enthusiastic, although I feel that has more to do with social reasons than because they’re physically incapable.
As I consider why this should be, that girls are now clearly the more outgoing, adventurous gender I have to look at influences and other leisure activities – namely: books, films and video games.
Books came first and originally if the protagonist was a boy, he was alone and adventurous, while a girl would have been part of a group. Equally in films boys were always off saving the world, while the girl was always the one who needed saving. This could well be because the early publishing and film industries were dominated by men, but of course all that has changed. Now we see books and films with strong, solo, female lead characters, while males often appear in groups. This mind-set might be a reason as to why the girls feel like they can push themselves further rather than give in to fear.So how about gaming, the most recent of the three mediums. I confess I don’t know a great deal about the industry, but it seems to me that at the moment it is dominated by men. Men make the games, pitch them at male audiences (how many games can you name with a lead female) and from my small observations I would say that a greater majority of gamers are male, though I have no statistics to back this up. I would guess, looking at what has happened with books and films, that females will start to play a greater role, but for the time being I suggest that at least for young people more boys than girls game, while girls are the more outgoing, sporty, social gender, a certainly with greater interests in climbing. Meanwhile the boys are starting to express more inner feelings, such as ‘I don’t want to do the zip wire, because I just don’t like the feeling, but I also don’t want my friends to see me go down the stairs and then talk about me’, and other such dilemmas.
I’m not saying that all this is either good or bad, it’s merely an observation of the current state of British kids and the weird social switch that seems to be taking place, something that I’m sure has been going on for decades and will continue for many decades to come. Although I do wish the boys might buck themselves up a bit and stop complaining!