Girls Mature Faster…Not!

Summary: Only women think men mature late. From a man’s point of view some women never mature at all.

It’s often said that girls mature faster than boys. I don’t mean physically as that’s undisputed – girls start puberty earlier and finish sooner than boys. I’m referring to the common use of the term as it’s often applied to boys by women, which refers to their mental and emotional maturity. It’s often used in a dismissive manner, as a way to establish one’s superiority, and this “fact” is based on a female centric viewpoint on what is considered mature and what traits are most valued. But what if we didn’t used female centered values as the sole judge on a male’s maturity level. How would they fair?

If one were to place a premium on self-confidence, self-esteem, the ability to control your emotions in a crisis, the strength to separate personal issues and business decisions, appreciation of and self acceptance of your body, and the knowledge that you can’t change others, one could say that boys mature by age twelve and girls take till their mid forties – if ever.

I’m not saying this to be mean or even in a reactionary backlash way. It’s just that men and women both bring something to the table and their skills and perspectives are equally valid and useful. Neither is more “mature” than the other unless the test for maturity is biased in favor of one gender or the other.

Most men think being able to separate your emotions and personal feelings from business is a sign of maturity and sophistication. If a man was to refuse to sign a multi-million dollar contract with a company just because the CEO from said company hit on his wife at a party, it would be a sign of weakness and immaturity. You would be seen as someone who couldn’t be counted on to handle complicated stuff that could get messy. His loyalty and principles would probably also be in question. For most men, the situation is clear – sign the contact first, then kick the guys ass on your free time if that’s what you need to do. Or, pull him aside the next day and threaten to kick his ass. But definitely sign the contract first.

However most women would see that same refusal as a sign of maturity. That man would be seen as principled, strong, and loyal. Of course you shouldn’t do business with people like that. To choose money over your wife is appalling.

This is why the classic fantasy dilemma of  “I’ll give you a million dollars to sleep with your wife” is not a dilemma at all to most men. The first thing that pops into a man’s head is “Does he have the money or is he bull shitting me?” The second though is “if this guy turns out to be a psycho could I take him?”

Men see it as a business transaction. Sex with my wife for one million dollars. Sounds like great deal! A man would mentally suspend his wife’s status as his marriage partner for the duration of the transaction – business is business and it’s not personal. Her having sex with the stranger would not be viewed as a betrayal in this situation. The real question is would you be able to able to control the situation in a worse case scenario.

However most women would see this same situation as a conflict. How could he agree to let me have sex with another man just for money? What does that say about me? What does that say about our relationship. For a woman the decision will be wrapped in layers of symbolism and deeper meaning.

Well, to a man it says I love you so much that I’ll support this because a million dollars will change our lives. This million dollars is for us and our future, and that is way more important than a night of meaningless sex with a stranger. In fact, because the husband gets to keep his wife and the million dollars, it’s quite a triumph. The man who paid the million would be seen as a fool and a sucker.

Depending on your point of view, a man letting his wife have sex with a stranger for a million dollars can be seen as heroic or shameful. Most men would probably choose heroic. Many women would choose shameful or at least a 9.5 on the creepy scale.

So to label men as developmentally stunted because they fail to live up to female centric values is as pointless as it sexist. While most men and women agree on the basics, we also have different standards in some very specific areas. This is fine, healthy and desired. It only becomes a problem when we call the other weak, stupid, thoughtless, and inconsiderate because of these differences.

File Under: Debunking the Girls Mature faster Than Boys Myth.

6 Responses to “Girls Mature Faster…Not!”

  • MECU Says:

    I think we (as a society) are ready to stop treating boys as women-in-training. Let boys “be boys” (seriously) and run and “get it out of their system”. This by no means implies that we can’t teach them acceptable social behavior (“Don’t hit!”) but forcing them to be female-like is a discount to the attributes both sexes bring to the world.


    Straight Dope Dad Reply:

    I agree. In a lot of ways I think post industrial societies like ours have less and less use for male energy and that’s sad. For most of human history, male energy and strength was just a necessary to our survival as female energy was. But now aggression, competitiveness, risk taking, and the willingness to destroy the old to make way for the new is seen as undesirable. But I would argue we are doomed without them. It’s great to be cooperative and compliant and make sure everyone is equal and everything is always fair, but every event that has moved humanity forward has been initially disruptive to the status quo. Some good old things get destroyed in the process to getting to the new. New companies put old ones out of business. New ideas, replace old ones. Feelings get hurt, and not everyone comes out on top every time. Now constant disruption will destroy us as well. You can’t just keep shaking things up just because you can, but we can’t just process and talk our way to a better future either. So yes, we need both, and we should provide space for both the female and males perspectives to flourish and contribute.


    Hopeful Reply:

    The reason I think that we see less of need for the risk taking male role in the society of today is because we see so much insanity. The daily news is filled with numerous reports of the world going crazy, and families raising their kids now a days try to keep some civility in the home by trying to control the actions of their kids. “If I can make him/her do the right thing then they will grow up to be good adults”….when in all actuality the mistakes that we make help to shape who we are the most. Parents just don’t want their children to fall into the wrong crowds and end up like the person they just saw on the news. However, we learn the most from our failures, and we also learn by testing our limits. Sometimes the way my husband acts or thinks completely baffles me but all I can do is be there to support him. We also have a six year old son, and he is sooooo ruff with him sometimes that I feel like I need to rush over and stop what he is doing. When I question why he is doing that he says, “because my grandpa and dad used to do this to me – it teaches him to be a boy and be strong”. My son completely loves this ruff play though, and enjoys every single minute of it. All I know is that if it were not for this quote “immature male” husband of mine our son would not grow up to be a well rounded adult. As women we just need to realize that we don’t think like our male counterparts, and they don’t think like us…..and that is what makes the collaboration of this yin and yang so great 🙂


  • DevilMayhem666 Says:

    It is true. I’ve read that the frontal lope in females reach maturity during the early 20s on average, while a male’s reaches maturity in the mid-20s. This is why young males engage in more risky acts, get in more car accidents, and commit suicide more than young females.


    DevilMayhem666 Reply:

    Correction. The frontal lobe isn’t the cause of car accidents and suicides. But it still develops later in males.


    Straight Dope Dad Reply:

    Well I already established physical maturity happening faster in girls. But that’s not the essence of the essay. My proposition is that girls only seem to mature faster emotionally and intellectually if rated by female centric value. If rated from male centric values, they come up pretty short in some key areas than men consider a mature adult should possess. That you brought up risk aversion is an example of that. Women consider that a sign of maturity but men don’t. Men value risk taking and rate it highly. Men that have risk aversion on par with women are considered pretty wimpy and ineffectual by other men.

    If we rate a Fuji apple based on tartness and appropriateness for baking, it comes up short. If we rate it for sweetness, crispness, and low acidity it comes up at the top. Same apple, but depending on which attributes are most valued by the person evaluating it , it’s either the perfect apple or a waste of time.


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