There's no denying that little boys can be very different to little girls. But some people feel they are not different enough.
Now a school in China, concerned that male pupils are becoming less masculine, has launched a teaching programme to encourage them to be more manly.
Getting in touch with your feminine side is off the menu at Qinlinglu Elementary School in Zhengzhou, Henan province. It's begun an initiative called Looking for a Real Man. As part of the programme, boys take an oath to act like "real men," the Dahe Daily reports.
Headmaster Cao Jianping says he plans to hire more male teachers to give the boys stronger role models and commented: "In the home, mothers tend to be in charge of child care. Also, China's one child policy makes parents overly protective and inclined to spoil their child".
Teacher Wang Jianhua says he is concerned that as the girls are getting tougher, the boys are getting weaker. He says: "During class breaks their favorite game is elastic band skipping, which is a typical girl's game. And the boys are very fragile. If we just scold them a bit they will cry out loudly."
Of course the danger of a programme like this is that it treats children as products of their gender, rather than individuals. And what happens when a child doesn't conform to the stereotype? Many little boys can be extremely sweet and loving - shouldn't we be encouraging these qualities rather than toughening them up too much?
What do you think of this programme? Is it a good way to support children's development, or is it supporting sexist stereotypes? Do we need something like this in the UK?
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