17th August 2001 at 01:00
What's wrong with girls? In A-level results week, when the supposedly weaker sex once again demonstrated their superiority over the boys, it comes as a relief to discover they may not be quite perfect after all.

For years we seem to have been in a perpetual panic about boys - disrespectful, disaffected, dysfunctional and, well, dis-just about everything.

Now, we hear, it's the girls who are dishing out the dis, using the pages of Bliss magazine to humiliate their teachers (News, page 7). Should we be shocked? Bliss is one of a string of teen magazines which in recent years have built up a huge following by peddling celebrity gossip, sex and make-up tips to impressionable girls. This has contributed, according to one academic, to a growing "gender separatism" in teenage reading habits, with boys continuing to scan comics such as Viz and The Beano.

But let's not worry too much. Surely a bit of gentle mockery from the girls aimed at a favourite teacher is no better, or worse, than the loutish behaviour of Plug and the rest of the Bash Street gang? We should cherish both.

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