My Lady Brain Just Can't Handle the Big Bad SATs

by Shaker phlebotnum

My friend is an SAT instructor for ESL students. Early this morning she sent me a copy of a page from Gruber's Complete SAT Guide 2009 called "Strategies for Women." There is no introductory or follow-up page of explanation, just four questions that supposedly demonstrate how tough it is for lady brains to comprehend vocabulary and simple algebra.

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But then I guess I sometimes forget that everybody knows that girls can't do math. Or use fancy AP words like "efficient." English degrees are just a high class way of saying "please marry me before I shrivel up and die with eight cats—I can explain Tolstoy to you."

We women are also intellectually allergic to:
A. Logic
B. Books without hot pink covers
C. John Steinbeck

Considering the amount of time and energy it takes to root out cleverly disguised sexist messages in various cultural arenas*, it's rather arresting to be confronted with an overt example of sexism in contemporary educational materials. In fact, it reads like a carefully crafted piece of "evidence" that would no doubt have been used to counteract 19th century petitions for women's education charters when arguments like "it's dangerous," "unnatural," or "at variance with the natural order of God" just didn't seem to carry the weight they once did. The only silver lining I can find in the existence of a 2009 guide on "Strategies for Women" is something to flash the next time someone says we live in a "post-feminist" world.

Unfortunately, my friend had already put Gruber on the syllabus and will, in her words, "take a few minutes to tell all 11 of [her] classes, 'Girls are as smart as guys in all things, so while Dr. Gruber may know a lot about grammar, he is probably a jerk. Don't pay any attention to this page, which is wrong.'" Are any of you Shakers teachers or SAT tutors? Do you have any suggestions for good SAT prep materials with solid grammar instruction sans ridiculously outdated sex/gender learning assumptions?


*Translation: Thank you for existing, Shakesville!


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