20 June 1990 |
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Gilligan's Research on Female Psychology
re: "Scholar Whose Ideas of Female Psychology
Stir Debate Modifies Theories, Extends Studies
to Young Girls", by Karen J. Winkler,
The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 23, 1990
Carol Gilligan's discovery that girls in Western culture spend their adolescence not in linear development, but in a struggle to recover strengths lost after childhood, confirms the suspicion of my late colleague, independent researcher Richard Rutledge, that adolescence is a time of wondrous awareness and connectedness with the world, but that modern society robs all but a few of this valuable gift.
It also confirms my own findings that most adolescents -- but sex-typed boys in particular -- experience a lessening of the intensity of their friendships after high levels in early adolescence, often never again achieving relationships quite like those in their early teens.
I would caution, as Teresa Bernardez (quoted in your article) at least implied, that this struggle to regain lost strengths may well be characteristic not only of girls but of boys as well, and the robbery of these positive qualities from our youth by our culture may be as ubiquitous as acne or the once-touted "generation gap." If so, we have some serious questions to ask of our priorities and values.