Results are in - and boys (still) win
The 1950s are long gone, but parents today overwhelmingly say boys are easier to raise than girls.
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What about boys versus girls?
Enough of "pregnant" chads! On with the real thing!
The nation may be split over its president, but when it comes to picking babies in America, the choice is clear: Boys win, hands-down.
In a Gallup poll released yesterday, a whopping 42 percent of American adults surveyed said that if they could have only one child, they would prefer a boy. A mere 27 percent favored having a girl. A final (clear-headed) contingent of 25 percent held that either one would be just fine, thank you.
That's not all. More than half of all adults polled - 53 percent - said they think a boy would be easier to raise, versus 28 percent who say a girl would give them an easier time.
Perhaps most revealing, today's poll results differ little from similar Gallup surveys conducted in the 1990s and as early as the 1940s. If anything, favoritism for boys has grown since the days of FDR and Jackie Robinson.
The numbers are particularly surprising given the recent spate of books and research on the difficulties boys face growing up - much of which was fueled by the Columbine shooting a year and a half ago.
What surprises experts even more about the poll is that over the years about 70 percent of Americans have consistently favored one sex or the other. Such strong gender stereotyping "says something not so great about society," says Kim Gandy, executive vice president of the National Organization for Women in Washington.
In fact, the polls show that significantly fewer people - 14 percent today compared with 23 percent in 1990 - say there is no difference in the ease of raising boys versus girls.
So much for sugar and spice, girls - this is snail country!
This is not to say Americans are rabid sexists. Rather, they believe other people are rabid sexists. Then, somewhere along the line, the prophecy becomes self-fulfilling. "There's no question that boys and men in general have an easier time of it in this world, so people view boys as easier to raise," Ms. Gandy says.
Practically speaking, this means boys are likely to be more successful, earn more money, and so on, says Donna Lenhoff, general counsel of the National Partnership for Women and Families here, which promotes workplace fairness. "Women's lives - because of pervasive ongoing discrimination - may in fact look less promising," she says.
Gandy, a mother of "two amazing daughters," feels she must consciously work to nurture their self-confidence and defend their rights because of the "pervasive" societal attitude that elevates men.
And parents may worry about the sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence many girls face, says Ms. Lenhoff.
"I guess you look at boys as less trouble as they grow up," says Alison, a mother in Little Rock, Ark., who asked that her full name not be used. She hoped for, and had, a son. "[Boys] are more independent."