On two separate occasions I had the opportunity to observe mixed
groups of adolescents gathered outside a public library located one
block from a public junior high school. I choose to conduct the
observations between the hours of 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to assure the
greatest concentration of subjects to observe. In total there were
fourteen individuals included in my observational study. The first
group consisted of 3 boys and 5 girls while the second group had in it
3 boys and 3 girls. Included in both groups were both Hispanic and
Caucasian boys and girls. The approximate age of all the participants
was between 13-14 years.
In spite of my observations taking place two weeks ...view middle of the document...
biological reasons for the female's willingness to interact with the
males in each group most easily could be traced to the female's
tendency to have earlier pubertal maturation than their male
counterparts. Typically girls enter puberty 1-2 years earlier than
boys and therefore may already be feeling a biological pull to be near
members of the opposite sex. Conversely, boys of about the same age
often times lag behind girls in terms of pubertal rates.
When around the girls, the boys tended to maintain a sense of
nervous calm. This nervous calm seemed to veer on aggravation towards
the girls at times. The boys spoke in much quieter tones than the
girls. The boys I observed communicated much more freely with one
another outside the presence of the girls. During my initial
observation there was a period when the girls left for a brief period.
The boys began to be much more playful with one another, engaging in
random jovial horseplay. When the girls returned the same boys quickly
reverted back to the reserved nature they displayed previously. It
appears that when in the presence of the females the boys may feel a
sense of pressure to act a certain way or to not act naturally. The
boys may be conforming to an expectation to behave in certain manner.
They may be intimidated by the girls and their advanced nature and are
fearful to act like the boys they still very much are.
A similarity present in each group dynamic was the existence of
an obvious alpha male and alpha female within the groups observed.
Amongst both the boys and girls this group leader had distinctive
physical and social characteristics which separated them from their
companions. The leader of the boys in each group was also the tallest
among the males. This male leader carried himself apart from his
counterparts with a stoic calm. His movements were less awkward, if
not a bit exaggerated, and he seemed to carry himself with a
confidence not evident in the other males in the group. This leader
tended to do the majority of the talking amongst the males. He spoke
openly to the females in the group with little reservation. This male
leader also garnered the most attention from all members of the
groups. The leader amongst the girls was far more pronounced in
demeanor and self awareness. In both groups observed the female leader
stood out immensely from the rest of the members of the group. The
most obvious way in which she announced her superiority was through
her tone. The female leader rarely, if ever spoke in a tone lower than
a yell. The female leader was overly demonstrative in such a way that
it often veered on theatrical. Every gesture appeared calculated. She
initiated physical contact with the boys in the groups and used sharp,
vulgar language often. Physically, she was also the most developed of
the girls, wore the most make up and was the most feminine in the
In each case the two respective...