Thursday, December 4, 2008

The missing rationale

Ann Althouse tries, without much success, to make sense of a study showing that female students are more interested in studying abroad.

Ms. Althouse, let me give you a very simple explanation: Daddy's Precious Darling Syndrome.

To the extent that anything is seen as a luxury, modern American parents are more likely to provide it to their daughters than to their sons.

One can analyze the causes of Daddy's Precious Darling Syndrome, but its existence is beyond dispute -- back in the day, I dated enough of those spoiled-rotten girls to know the phenomenon quite intimately. There is a certain upper-middle-class environment in which the overprivileged daughter functions as a status symbol for the parents. Think: Monica Lewinsky.

If foreign study is a parent-provided luxury, then you can be certain in our contemporary culture that girls will get more of it than boys. It's really that simple.


  1. There is probably quite a bit of truth to your rationale...also, (this is no scientific study), but my college age son will hear nothing about study abroad...says that he is not in the least bit interested...while my High School aged daughter (10th grade)talks about wanting to study abroad frequently...and she hasn't even decided where she plans to attend college. While many guys do study abroad, I think it is more of a "girl thing"...I would have loved to have done it, while my husband thinks it is nothing he wishes he had done! Venus & Mars??

  2. "Daddy's Precious Darling Syndrome" -- brilliant! I went to private schools with many of these "precious darlings". I paid my way by waking up at 4:00 AM every morning to run a paper route, and I have no complaints about it because my beloved father woke up every morning with me to follow me in the family station wagon and hand me news papers as I jogged them door to door. I was his "precious" daughter, and he showed it by caring for my safety (he wouldn't dream of letting a 15-year-old run a paper route at 4:00 AM by herself) and helping me earn my education. Spending three hours every morning with your father is the best way for a teenage girl to keep her head on straight. We would listen to James Dobson's "Focus of the Family" radio show and discuss the current events on the front page of the news papers I was delivering. He turned me into a conservative long before any wacky college professors could try to turn me into a leftist. He couldn't afford to send me to study abroad or buy me a new car for my birthday, but he gave me so much more.