Lorber and Gould consider gender a restraining public performance. In high school, I was the only female in my AP physics class. One girl explained how she was not taking it because she felt intimidated by the gender discrepancy. Although I was friends with males in the class, they would crack jokes about how I should “get back into the kitchen” and single me out. Beauvoir’s words—“Thus it is that no group ever sets itself up as the One without at once setting up the Other against itself”—echoed what I had experienced as an outsider in that class (Beauvoir 33). This male dominated norm is still rooted in our culture. It is not easy for women to individually break free from this, especially when men still possess doubts about their abilities. Nevertheless, this table* demonstrates how the gender issue is not a one-way street with respect to the distribution of males and females in high school subjects. Akin to what Beauvoir illustrates—though she focuses on female oppression—a great deal of women (in, for example, a computer science class) as well as men (maybe in an AP art class) really do feel as though they are “the Other”: inferior and essentially do not belong.
Beauvoir, Simone de. The Second Sex. (1949).
*Perry, Mark. “What Do AP Subject Exams Tell Us About Differences in Academic Interest By Gender?” Carpe Diem. Blogspot.com. 2 Feb 2012. Web. 14 Sept 2012.