“We Teach Boys”

[From byronbache, via crazybrave]

Rumour has it this was a real print ad.

brighton grammar ad BGS boys have mates...and dates


A white teenage boy is sitting at a counter or table, perhaps in a cafe or an old-fashioned 50s drugstore/diner. A pink milkshake sits on the counter in front of him. He is smiling and staring into the distance.

A blonde teenage girl with curly hair and makeup is sitting on his left, sucking on a chocolate milkshake and looking up at him adoringly.

There are blurry people in the background, perhaps other teenagers at other tables.

There is a red panel on the right of the ad, headlined

BGS boys have mates… and dates.”

“Some people think that our boys won’t know how to interact with girls.

That’s not true.

Our learning programs are carefully designed to build each boy’s self confidence, especially through the awkward teenage years, allowing them to relate to each other, their teachers, and, on regular occasions… with girls.”

Scholarship, open day, and contact information follows.

The lower bar reads

An Anglican School for boys ELC to VCE

Categories: education, gender & feminism

Tags: ,

44 replies

  1. Indeed it is real.

    As a fan of dodgy advertising, and as an ex Brighton Grammarian, I was in the middle of doing a post on it.

    Meliora Sequamur, sister.

  2. There was a whole dodgy liftout in our local paper last week, full of ads and advertorial about the local private schools.
    I’ve been meaning to blog it but I don’t even know where to start, they were all so appalling.

  3. Is it weird that I thought “at least they didn’t give her the pink milkshake…”?

  4. …and then Fonzie comes in. Ayyyyy!

  5. I thought that too MsLaurie, but I suppose he’s *allowed* a pink shake since he’s so *obviously* straight and INTO GIRLS!
    Lord mates…and dates makes me feel ill with its Compulsory Heterosexuality overtones, and the ‘on regular occassions…with girls’…
    Lord! The dramatic pause! And the ‘we ship em in fresh’ overtones.
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..More opportunistic hate mongering

  6. It reminds me a bit of the reassurances in my (collegiate) alma mater’s viewbook that yes, you could have a ‘social life’ at a women’s college, social life being code for ‘heteronormative dating process’. Except that was inside the viewbook, and addressed to prospective students of adult age, not a full-page ad reassuring parents that their son won’t become teh gayz by going to a boys’ school.

  7. Blurb suggestion: Come to Brighton Grammar where the girls will… drink…your…MILKSHAKE!!!
    …And, that male actor is 25 if he’s a day and the “girl”‘s about 32-ish.

  8. Oh that’s just freakin’ great. That pic instantly made me think “date rape”. What’s on the first term’s reading list? “The Pick-Up Artist”?

  9. I’ll just point out that at my high school we weren’t allowed to wear nail polish or bracelets or blush or mascara or eyeliner or eyeshadow or lipstick or non-uniform white shirts with ruffles down the front, but I was the town dyke, so peer-enforced beauty standards didn’t matter so much to me.
    Obviously they make it a point of pride at this school.

  10. Interesting that the girl takes up more space in the ad than the boy. Or should I say “girl” and “boy” as Helen said, they don’t look like school age “kids”.

  11. Actually, some of the year 12s at my school *do* look that old.

  12. I’m sorry, but I guess I’m an idiot since I don’t see what’s wrong with the ad. Would someone please explain? All I see is a school reassuring parents that the students won’t be completely isolated from females.
    I have a problem with segregation with schools, but I can’t see the problem with the actual ad.

  13. I don’t see what’s wrong with the ad.

    Nothing at all wrong with it, so long as you don’t have a problem using the sexual attention of teenage girls as a selling point to market overpriced homophobic Christian education to rich folk.

  14. Lala, it’s giving the impression that girls are a commodity that are provided to the boys, along with the superior sporting facilities and new science block.

  15. I think I’m broken.
    My first reaction was a mental “So… WRONG!” and dead fish flails, whilst in meatspace I started cackling inanely. I can’t believe some idiots thought this was a good idea for an advert.
    Who on earth would seriously see that and think “Oooh! Think I’ll send my boy to Brighton Grammar!”? It just seems so antiquated – like something they may have used to entice students in the 50s. Or around the second World War (with overtones of “ship em in fresh”, as FP says. Box those dates up and stick em in the storage hold, boys! We’ll have em there by sundown Tuesday!)

  16. Oh, lordy. I went to one of these schools, the gels’ version, and the eugenics program was alive and kicking. We were constantly being paired up with private school boys (for interschool debates, drama productions, formals, Christian youth camps). Some of my colleagues ernestly betook themselves to watch the GPS regattas and rugby games. A teacher told us seriously that the subjects we chose for our final two years of school would determine the colour of our children’s eyes. There were no out lesbians, none, in my year of 225 young women, although you could start rumours by wearing a ring on your thumb or not shaving your legs.

  17. Her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, obvs.

  18. A teacher told us seriously that the subjects we chose for our final two years of school would determine the colour of our children’s eyes.

    *bug eyes*
    Srsly? Was there … more to this idea? I’m trying to figure out what it actually meant, apart from the fact that it’s obviously racist. Was it referring to the “Asian kids are good at maths” stereotype, or something else?

  19. That kid needs a shave, he’s growing a bit of a mo.

  20. Helen and Zoe: Heh, with a capital Heh. How about:

    The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking…

  21. A simple theory: the subjects we chose would determine our post-school trajectories, which would determine who we procreated with. Nobody specified the preferred eye-colour (thank Dog), but we were certainly being encouraged into an eye-colour-matters frame of mind, and any alternatives to meeting, marrying and procreating with a man were shut down entirely. At sixteen my best friend and I had sworn that if we ever had heterosex we would use seven different species of contraception, so this whole gene-mingling talk was pretty unappealing.

  22. Alexis, I wonder if your shipped-in boyz were like the ones my school provided: the kind who passed ‘Old Spice’ around on the bus on the way to whatever function it was, so that when they entered en masse we all nearly passed out.
    Honestly, why do people think that it’s a lack of *confidence* that prevents boys from talking to girls? If you’re going to play the line this ad does, IMO, you need to provide something a tad more substantial than ‘we make ‘em feel good about themselves and then provide them with gelz’: something that might give the kids a chance of thinking of girls as, you know, actual people-type people? Everyone keeps *saying* that boys should be ‘educated’ about not being misogynist; I’m not that huge a believer in this kind of explicit education, but at least it’d make the ad have some substance!

  23. I’m still trying to figure out on what planet this was considered ‘justified’:

  24. Podblack, maybe in the Otterday/Open Thread that will open in a few hours? It’s off-topic here. Thanks.

  25. Sorry, Lauredhel – I should have perhaps sent it in via the ‘submit an article/idea’ link. But either way, it did tie in with ‘what could possibly make advertisers think this is acceptable’. For the school advert itself, I’m wondering if young men would in fact find it a deterrent from applying from the school – if they’re going to an expensive institution, how much they focus on a formal education is usually the emphasis.

  26. Bene – I had the same thought

  27. “Honestly, why do people think that it’s a lack of *confidence* that prevents boys from talking to girls?”
    Because it’s more comfortable to think that than to have your eyes opened to the fact that society sees women not as humans but as quaint Others?

  28. This ad is targeted at those homophobic and misogynist fathers who obsess about the danger of their sons being turned into gay-left wing-feminist-green voters by those left wing feminist teachers who hate men who populate so many schools. (I’m para-phrasing what I’ve actually heard say by some)
    The girl, with her bright red finger nails and blonde hair full of product, is so obviously not going to a private school where ‘nice girls’ go to. Is she to assure dad that his boy will be couraged, with his mates, to ‘sow his oats’ and so ‘gain confidence’ and ‘learn what to do’ with girls before settling down and marrying?
    Yuk, double yuk! Everything is wrong with this ad.

  29. “The girl, with her bright red finger nails and blonde hair full of product, is so obviously not going to a private school where ‘nice girls’ go to. ”
    I went to a “nice” private school and could frequently be found, in those days, with nail polish and hair product. I don’t think she’s being portrayed as “obviously not going to a private school”.

  30. I think the subtext of the article is that we’ll make sure your son will meet suitable girls (like the the one in the ad) and not some dreadful, uncouth slapper from the Western suburbs.
    Actually, when I was at uni you could instantly tell which boys had gone to single sex schools and which ones had gone to co-ed schools. The single sex boys had no idea how to talk to girls and were plainly simultaneously terrified and and over excited by we strange creatures.

  31. I knew a girl at Uni who was exactly the same as you describe the boys being fine. For a 19 year old, she acted much like a 15 year old just discovering boys, which in effect she was. Fortunately for her the first object of her affections was my brother, who was quite bemused by the whole thing and committed to abstinence before marriage.
    I suspect that this ad will actually put off a lot of parents who specifically don’t want their son interacting with distracting girls when they should be swotting hard to get the marks to get into medicine or law or whatever.
    I kinda suspect that their intentions were good, they just buggered up the delivery. Although Fine’s point about them being ‘nice’ girls is a good one. Your son will only meet ‘suitable girls’.

  32. She might not be being portrayed as definitely not going to a “nice private” school, but I think Anansi has a point about the red nails and dyed blonde hair being symbols of a type of woman rich private school daddies might not want their sons to be marrying.
    To recognise that they’re using a stereotype in the ad is not necessarily to buy into said stereotype.

  33. I knew a girl at Uni who was exactly the same as you describe the boys being fine. For a 19 year old, she acted much like a 15 year old just discovering boys, which in effect she was.

    And yet, many of us who went to girls’ schools weren’t like that. I don’t recall any of my friends having this issue when we hit university. Some had boyfriends; some didn’t; and we didn’t act differently to any of the other kids around the place from other schools.

  34. That young lady doesn’t have anywhere near enough fake tan to be from Brighton. It’s compulsory there from age 12 don’t you know.

  35. Sorry Lauredhel, I didn’t mean to imply that all girls from girls schools were like that. This particular person couldn’t see the point of ‘meet the boys’ nights and actively avoided them, and having little to no contact with men in general outside school her social education was sorely lacking. Which is an interesting point for the ad too – some boys still won’t be able to interact with girls, no matter how many you throw at them.

  36. I currently go to BGS and I can confirm that the guy in that photo is currently doing year 12.
    Also, I find it odd seeing as BGS is an all boys’ school.
    As for the girl featuring more prominently than the guy, the ad has been clipped on the left side.

  37. As for the girl featuring more prominently than the guy, the ad has been clipped on the left side.

    Exactly – someone has cropped the picture used in the ad to feature her more prominently than the boy. That was the point being made. So what point are you trying to make?

  38. tig tog, as in the ad itself is actually an extra inch or two to the left and an extra inch or so to the right. Making both kids in the pic togethor.

    However there is another ad of the same type, with the guy with two girls laughing and gushing with/at him. can see it at http://www.crikey.com.au/Media-Arts-and-Sports/20090225-Media-briefs.html.

    still a terrible ad though.

  39. Threesomes now? 😉 That’s *quite* an education…

  40. Perhaps there is a decline of enrolments of boys into all-boys` schools, because of parents (mums?) being (rightly) worried that their boys will be ill-equipped to relate to the opposite sex.
    Then the point of the ad would be to say: Don`t worry, your son won`t end up with problems relating to the opposite sex. We`ll provide some for him to practise on!
    Either way, its just wrong.
    By the way – I don`t think the kid looks old – that`s a standard issue 16-year-old. And I think the girl does look like a “nice” private school girl, and exactly the type of girl that rich Daddy wants junior to bring home.
    The bad girls from the state school have black hair, heavy eyeliner and piercings!


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