Listener: Abolish Feminism

Guest host Allison Keyes and Tell Me More's "digital media guy" Lee Hill review listeners' responses to a conversation about how parents handle girls dressing provocatively. They also hear listeners' views on a commentary of the academic achievement gap between girls and boys.

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ALLISON KEYES, host:

Next, to Backtalk. It's the segment that lifts the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and where listeners get to talk back. Lee Hill, the program's digital dude, is in the studio with me. Hey, Lee.

LEE HILL: Hey, Allison. You know, it's always good to see you.

KEYES: You too.

HILL: Well, many of us watched the men's college basketball Final Four championship game on Monday. The Butler Bulldogs were crushed by the Connecticut Huskies. But watching the game got host Michel Martin thinking about educational disparities in our nation's schools when it comes to boys versus girls. And she cited research that girls are outpacing boys in the classroom. And she challenged everyone to take note.

MICHEL MARTIN: While gender identity is perhaps more fluid than ever, we still bring all kinds of expectations and understanding to our sense of who we are and what we should do and be because of gender. But that doesn't mean we should ignore common sense and the reality of what we need as a country. And what we need is for everyone to succeed. When one group is falling drastically behind, we all fail.

HILL: And Allison, Michel's concern inspired people online to share their views with us. Here's what Joe had to say. He writes: The root of the problem is feminism. Note, not women, but feminism. We have come to grips with the reality that contemporary feminism is not about equality. It's about advantage and privilege for women and revenge against men. Once we get the feminists out of power, we can start addressing the boy problem.

KEYES: All right. Thanks for offering your take, Joe. We talked to NAACP president Ben Jealous this week about a new report released by his group that makes a connection between incarceration rates in this country and poorly performing schools. The historic civil rights organization says funding for prisons across the country is growing at the expense of the education system here.

After our conversation, we heard this from listener Jimmy. He posted this comment to our online forum: Stop the war on drugs. Education and a better quality of life will follow inevitably. If the drugstore CVS can sell marijuana, heroin and cocaine, then it would knock the lowlife shorties off the corners and into a classroom. And users can be treated for their dependencies instead of jailed for them.

HILL: OK. Thanks, Jimmy. Allison, this week TELL ME MORE also heard from its weekly panel of moms. They debated a recent Wall Street Journal article that calls out parents for letting their young daughters get away with dressing in risque clothing. Let's hear a piece of that conversation. Here's regular parenting contributor Leslie Morgan Steiner.

LESLIE MORGAN STEINER: We are a generation of women who are much closer to our daughters than our own mothers were. And so sometimes the boundaries are blurred and we want to be their friend. And it's hard to guide them and tell them no and explain all the reasons why and not go too far in either direction.

KEYES: Lee, not surprisingly, listeners also felt compelled to weigh in on this one. Ann(ph) writes: I don't think the problem lies with busy guilt-ridden mothers allowing their girls to leave the house dressed as they do to avoid confrontation. Rather, there is a broader cultural context which teaches girls and women to be dissatisfied with their bodies. Perhaps moms could help their daughters become smarter consumers and savvier at decoding these cultural mandates. Thanks, Anne. Lee, what else we got?

HILL: Well, speaking of mothers and daughters, listeners might remember author and academic Amy Chua as a former guest on this program. She's best known for writing that book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," which describes her tough love approach to parenting. Well, Allison, that parenting approach may have paid off. This week we learned that her eldest daughter Sophia has been accepted to, get this, both Harvard and Yale.

KEYES: Nicely done. Decisions, decisions. Thanks, Lee.

HILL: Thanks, Allison.

KEYES: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE the conversation never ends. You can call the comment line at 202-842-3522. You can also find us on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE, NPR.

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