Figure 1.--Since the Kodak Browie appeared in 1900, photography has been a popular activity for children, especially boys. This boy is using a twin-lens reflex camera. The image is undated, but was probably taken in the late 1950s and early 60s. We are not sure about the country.
There are some items that can not be called toys because they are more practical items. These are items that boys find interesting. Often we are taliking about older boys such as teengers, but younger boys can get started at an earlier age. Children don't really play with these items, but do tghings with them. Some examples are cameras, crystal sets (radios), han radios, micrscopes, telescope, ham radios, and other items. In recent years computers have been added to this list. These are items that girls can enjoy as well, but for some reason it is generally boys that have found technology interesting. A debate exists in America as to that difference is due to parents and teachers encouraging boys more.
There are some items that can not be called toys because they are more practical items. These are items that boys find interesting. Often we are taliking about older boys such as teengers, but younger boys can get started at an earlier age. Children don't really play with these items, but do things with them. Some examples are cameras, crystal sets (radios), ham radios, micrscopes, telescope, ham radios, and other items. The popularity of different technologies has varied over time. Cameras became popular in the 1900s when cameras appeared. Photograph is, however, expensive, both the camera as well as film and developing. Crystal sets were all the rage in the 1920s. This was a less expensive undertaking. I rememnber ham radio being popular in the 1940s. One could buy kits to put your own radio together. Of course with the arrival of Sputnik (1957) and the space race, telescopes became popular. In recent years computers have been added to this list.
These are items that girls can enjoy as well, but for some reason it is generally boys that have found technology interesting. A debate exists in America as to that difference is due to parents and teachers encouraging boys more. The debate in America flared when the Harvard University president Larry Summers suggested at a conference that boys were inately more skilled with mathematics (January 2005). He was immediately beseigned by femanists and ulimately had to apologize. Basically femanists find it offensive to suggest that there are innate differences between men and women. They have a point that the socilization process has discouraged girls from persuing certain subjects and vocations. (The same is true of boys, but the impact on girls has been more important.) This obvious fact does not mean, however, that there are not physilogical and mental differences between men an women. Size and strength are obvious. Mental differences are more difficult to assess. Most individuals that work with very young children observe that there are differences between boys and girls. Studies have attempted to assess these differences. Some studies suggest that that in mathematics for example that there are more boys at the upper and lower end of performance tests. This continues to a topic of discussion. We noticed that a feminist spokeswoman appeared on many TV programs and disparaged these studies. She claimed to have definitively studied the topic and found no significant difference in average abilities. (First of all we are always wary of anyone who claims to have definitively studies any topic, let alone such a controversial subject.) Notably this spoks person avoided important elements of the debate. Average abilities is one element of the discussion. Even here there are concerns. Early IQ tests were structured so that men and women came out equally. We are less sure about modern tests. Of course mathematics is just one area. This same question of gender differences exists in many other fields. This spokesman avoided addressing other importanht elements of the discussion: type and distribution. There is a considerable body of scientific work that does show very substantial differences between men and women in types of intelligence. Men tend to do better in visual and spatial tests. This could explain differences in mathematics skills. The reason for these differences are not well understood. Some argue that evoluntionary pressures selected men (who were the hunters) for three dimmensional and other hunting skills. That is speculation at this stage. The differences between men and women are not. Women on the other hand appear to perform higher in verbal skills. Another aspect of intelligence in which differences in men and women have been found is distribution or variability. There seem to be more men and the lower and higher end of intelligence measures. [Murray and Herrnstein]
Murray, Charles and Richard Herrnstein. The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life.
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