While we know that the patriarchy harms girls, women, and non-binary people in acute ways, boys and men are also harmed by a patriarchical system. When boys are socialized in this environment, they are not able to explore their identity and simply be who they are. Oftentimes, boys are taught to prove their worth and to ignore emotional development.
As a result, boys often lack the skills to express themselves emotionally and socially, which can lead to depression, bullying, and substance abuse. Regarding education, boys are disproportionately held back or drop out of school, and are twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed with ADHD.
At Seattle School for Boys, we interrupt the patriarchy by employing educational frameworks that foster critical thinking, empathy, strength, accountability, and inclusivity. These values intersect to provide the foundation for boys to be themselves.
Doesn’t an all-boys middle school perpetuate patriarchal culture?
We live in a male dominant culture, and to create a more equitable society, we believe that boys and men must take accountability and be active participants in dismantling the patriarchy to create long-lasting social change.
Why middle school?
Middle school is a unique time when we see dramatic biological, neurological, social, and emotional changes happening simultaneously.
Aside from infancy, the middle school years are the most critical for human growth and development. During these transformative years, preteens tend to have new-found energy and curiosity because they are developing the capacity to open up to the world, think beyond themselves, and form mature habits of self-reflection.
This new-found energy also manifests physically as early adolescent bones often grow faster than their bodies during puberty, making it difficult to stay idle for long periods of time. Hence their urgency to fully engage with several new endeavors.
At the same time, the developmental landscape of middle schoolers is like wet cement. During the early stages of puberty there’s an overproduction of fresh gray matter in the brain, allowing for an abundance of information to be absorbed. Once that information has been absorbed, it often serves as the foundation to their growth moving forward.